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The Arabic Department hosts international conference on wine poetry
5/9/2017
Dana Abed  |  Office of Advancement  |  media@aub.edu.lb  | 
The international research conference under the title of “Khamriyya as a World Poetic Genre: Comparative Perspectives on Wine Poetry in Near and Middle Eastern Literatures” took place at the American University of Beirut (AUB) on Thursday May 3 and extended over the weekend until May 6. 

This conference was a collaboration between the Department of Arabic and Persian, University of St Andrews; the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge; and AUB. 

The project was a collaborative initiative aimed at exploring the history of wine poetry in various Near and Middle Eastern literatures from its origins in the 6th century up until the early modern period.

Dr. Bilal Orfali, chairperson of the Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages at AUB, was happy to see this new collaboration between AUB and international research institutions. 

“The Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages is quickly becoming a major player in the field of Arabic Studies. In the last two years we hosted more than two dozens of events, local and international, including major international conferences that included conference proceedings,” said Orfali. “This time we meet to discuss and debate the formation, development, and complex history of Khamriyya, a major world poetic genre that is especially prominent in Arabic literature.” 

Khamriyya represents, along with “Ghazal,” a major form of poetic expression in various literary traditions including Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Syriac, Ethiopian, Armenian, Georgian, and Ottoman Turkish. Historical diversity and aesthetic versatility of Khamriyya defined its development over many centuries in different cultural, religious, and social contexts. 

The initiative welcomed contributions exploring various aspects of wine poetry in comparative perspective of Near and Middle Eastern literatures. During the first and third day of the conference sessions, discussions took place during which professors and researches presented their studies related to the topic. 

Subjects discussed were about wine poetry challenging cultural, social, and religious norms of society, aesthetic transformations in the history of wine poetry, and wine poetry crossing linguistic and cultural borders. A keynote lecture titled “On (not) drinking: al-Hariri’s Maqamah No. 48” was presented by Michael Cooperson, from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). 

The second day of the conference included trips to prominent locations in Lebanon, such as the Baalbek archaeological site, the vineyards of the boutique winery Château Qanafar, and the Shouf Biosphere Reserve. 
Story Highlights
  • ​​The international research conference under the title of “Khamriyya as a World Poetic Genre: Comparative Perspectives on Wine Poetry in Near and Middle Eastern Literatures” took place at the American University of Beirut (AUB) on Thursday May 3 and extended over the weekend until May 6.
  • This conference was a collaboration between the Department of Arabic and Persian, University of St Andrews; the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge; and AUB.
 
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