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Event Details
'Abbasid Cities (c. 750-950 C.E) and their Slave Markets'

Date: February-22-2017 12:00 PM till February-22-2017 02:00 PM
Location: Building 37
Contact Person: CAMES ,
Category: Lecture

Majãlis in Islamic Studies and the Center for Arts and Humanities  at the American University of Beirut cordially invite you to:

“Abbasid Cities  (c. 750-950 C.E) and their Slave Markets”

Matthew Gordon
(Visiting Professor-Howell Chair, Dept. of History and Archaeology, AUB)

February 22, 2017
12-2pm, Seminar Room, Building 37
(behind the old Lee Observatory, AUB)

Abstract: Michael McCormick argues for the “voracious” appetite of early Abbasid urban society for (European) slaves and slave labor (Origins, 759, 761, 776). He accounts, in other words, for a significant facet of early medieval Near Eastern slave history. His discussion turns on the impact of that traffic on the early medieval European economy. This paper turns the lens from Europe to the Abbasid urban landscape. It considers the setting in which the interactions of slave merchant, client and slave/freedperson played out. It will consider the (fragmentary) evidence regarding physical slave markets and other material evidence, including papyri documents. It will also consider the slave merchants of the Abbasid period. The paper will consider less the reputation of
the slave merchant – a stock character of Abbasid literary works – than weigh the apparent range and nature of their activity; the membership of the slave merchant ‘class’; and their connections with other sectors of Abbasid-era economic, social and political life.

Mathew  Gordon is  Professor of History at Miami University, and currently holds the Alfred Howell Chair in Islamic History and Archaeology in the Department of History at AUB. His principal field of research is the social and political history of the early Abbasid caliphate. He is currently working on a biography of the ninth century Egyptian governor, Ahmad ibn Tulun, and a larger, full-length
project tentatively entitled Ahmad ibn Tulun and the Demise of the Abbasid Empire. Other current projects include a forthcoming edited volume on women and slavery in pre-modern Islamic society, and a collaborative translation project of the works of al-Ya`qubi (d.c. 905 ce). Raised in Beirut (1958-1975), the son of two former AUB faculty members, he received his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from Columbia University (1993), and has taught at Miami University for twenty-one years.
To learn more about the staff, academic programs, or language courses at the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES) at the American University of Beirut (AUB), please see

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