During the so-called “Golden Age of Islam” (8th-10th centuries AD) early Abbasid Baghdad was a space of intellectual encounter, cultural exchange and interreligious dialogue. After Babylon, it had become the epitome of multiculturalism and knowledge transfer in the pre-modern Middle East. The interdisciplinary and international conference “Baghdad – Space of Knowledge” aims to explore the “knowledge society” that emerged in the spatial order of this expanding city, with a special perspective on the interaction between pre-existing local models of antique Babylonia and the new structures that were developed by the emerging Islamic civilization, especially focusing the urban landscape and the spaces of knowledge and religion. The conference takes place as a cooperation between the Excellence-Cluster Topoi and the Courant Research Center “Education and Religion (EDRIS)” (Göttingen) and promises to expand the disciplinary scope of both research institutions by fostering the cooperation between experts in Arabic and Islamic Studies, Ancient Middle East, Religious Studies and Theology, Judaic Studies, and Ancient and Medieval History.


09:15 - 09:30
Welcome Address and Introduction
Jens Scheiner
Isabel Toral-Niehoff
09:30 - 10:15
The Sansanian Background of Baghdadian Urban Culture
Parvaneh Pourshariati
10:15 - 11:00
The Economic Circumstances of the Baghdad Region Down to the Mongol Invasion
Richard Bulliet
11:30 - 12:15
Baghdad, the Centre of the World
Foundation Legends of a Marvellous City in a Marvellous Landscape
Isabel Toral-Niehoff
12:15 - 13:00
Islamic Art and Architecture in Pre-Mongol Baghdad
Bernard O'Kane
14:30 - 15:15
Philosophical and Scientific Learning in Baghdad
Damien Janos
15:15 - 16:00
Baghdad: Crossroad of Literary Conversations
Beatrice Gruendler
16:30 - 17:15
The Who is Who of Baghdad
Jens Scheiner
18:30 - 20:00
Baghdad, Vergangenheit ohne Zukunft oder Hat eine Hauptstadt 'Kultur'
Public Keynote Lecture
Josef van Ess
09:30 - 10:15
Abbasid Baghdad and the Markets
Hugh Kennedy
10:15 - 11:00
The Exchange with Europe: Charlemagne and Harun al Rashid
Kirill Dimitriev
Klaus Oschema
11:30 - 12:15
The Buyid Social Imaginary:
Social Structure and the Formation of Intellectual Groups in Fourth Century Baghdad
Nuha al'Sha'ar
12:15 - 13:00
Baghdad Under the Seljuks: New Institutions for New Powers?
Vanessa van Renterghem
14:30 - 15:15
The Formation of Sunni and Shii Traditionalism in Baghdad
Christopher Melchert
16:00 - 18:00
Visit: Samarra-Exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Art
09:30 - 10:15
East-Syrian Christians in Seleucia-Ctesiphon in Pre-Baghdadian Times
Dimitrij Bumazhnov
10:15 - 11:00
Jews in Bavel and Baghdad
Elisabetta Abate
11:30 - 12:15
Manicheans and Other Religions in Baghdad
Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst
12:15 - 13:00
Beyond Baghdad: Looking Back to Babylon
Eva Cancik-Kirschbaum