Course on Arabic Manuscripts and early Qur’ans (Princeton University)

7 February 2014

Graduate Students’ (from both Princeton University and other institutions) please note opportunity below:

Intensive Course on Arabic Manuscripts and Early Qur’ans
Princeton, New Jersey (USA) June 9-13, 2014

Thanks to a number of generous grants from the David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project, over the last few years the Near Eastern Studies Department at Princeton University has organized a series of short, intensive courses for graduate students on a variety of subjects in the broad field of Islamic studies not normally covered in the Princeton curriculum. In each case, an internationally-recognized expert has been brought in to teach the course over a period of five weekdays.

This year, we plan to offer such a course on Arabic Manuscripts and early Qur’ans.

The course will take place in June, starting on Monday June 9, and ending on Friday, June 13, 2014. The course is intended primarily for graduate students, both from Princeton and from other universities; applicants should have some knowledge medieval Middle Eastern history.

The instructor will be François Déroche of the École pratique des hautes etudes in Paris, a distinguished expert on Arabic manuscripts and the history of the text of the Qur’an who has published widely on these topics. The first part of the course (4 days) will offer an introduction to the material aspects of the Arabic manuscript tradition, alternating between illustrated presentations of the various components -writing surfaces, quires, bindings, etc.- and sessions with actual manuscripts from the holdings of Princeton University Library –the idea being that the participants should be able to produce a codicological description of a manuscript at the end of the course. Although some knowledge of Arabic may be useful, it is open to non-specialists of Oriental languages. The second part (1 day) will be devoted to the early handwritten transmission of the Qur’anic text (7th to early 10th century AD), emphasis being given to its beginnings until the end of the Umayyad period: it will cover the historical, textual, codicological and art historical aspects of the subject.

Application process and deadlines

Applications must be emailed to Judy Schedneck (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) at the Near Eastern Studies Department at Princeton University by February 21, 2014. The subject line of the email should read, “Application for Arabic Manuscripts Workshop.” Applications should comprise the following:

Letter of application with statement of interest
Names, positions, and email addresses of two referees

All items should be included in a single attachment, which may be a pdf.

Successful applicants will be notified in mid-to-late March 2014 and students accepted for the course but coming from outside of Princeton will receive partial scholarships to help defray travel and accommodation costs.

Genèse et évolution du «  problème touareg »

4 March 2013

Cet article analyse, dans une perspective historique, l’évolution de rapports entre l’Etat indépendant du Mali et ses populations touarègues, à la faveur de l’apparition, au cours de ces dernières décennies, de mouvements de contestation politico-militaire touarègue. Pour cela, il relate dans un premier temps la genèse et l’évolution de ce qui est convenu maintenant d’appeler « le problème touareg ».

Book History Seminar

26 February 2013

In 2013, the French Institute of South Africa (Ifas) and the Department of Information Science at the University of Pretoria will be co-organising a series of seminars on book history. At the crossroads of several disciplines (history, literature, palaeography, librarianship etc.), book history has become the spearhead of cultural history worldwide.  Far from wanting to structure a field characterised by diversity, the objective of the seminars is, first of all, to explore and list research avenues, whether at the level of concepts (materiality, scripts, genres etc.) or topics (non-Latin alphabets in Africa, reader communities, new information technologies etc.). Two main lines will be favoured in this regard: transnationality first, offering a better chance to grasp the circulation of the written word than the generally adopted national framework; the African dimension secondly, which is largely under-
documented in the current literature, and yet which offers many perspectives, including very long-term ones.


20 February 2013

La crise du Mali occupe le devant de la scène depuis janvier 2012. Les dynamiques complexes de la crise ont eu un impact négatif sur la vie socio-économique et politique du peuple malien. Compte tenu de l‘évolution rapide des efforts pour la résolution de la crise, la nécessité de l’implication de tous les acteurs devient de plus en plus pressante pour l’activation d’un cadre structurel menant à la résolution de la crise. Pour la société civile malienne, ce besoin d’implication a été particulièrement stimulé par le fait que les idées discordantes de certains acteurs ont compliqué sa tache depuis le début de la crise. C’est donc dans l’intention de confronter cette question de division, mais aussi de définir une stratégie cohérente pour la société civile dans la résolution de la crise qu’une mission d’établissement des faits au Mali a été déployée par le FOSCAO et le CODESRIA. Le déploiement de cette mission est donc l’expression de la solidarité de la part de la société civile ouest africaine dans tout son ensemble envers le peuple malien en ces temps difficiles. Ce déploiement de la mission constitue aussi un premier pas vers la redynamisation par le FOSCAO de la société civile malienne.


19 February 2013

The Malian crisis has since January 2012 been on the front-burner. It is a crisis with a complex dynamics that is impacting negatively on the socio-economic and political life of the people. As efforts towards resolving the crisis continue to evolve with rapidity, the need for the active involvement of all actors in forging a multi-stakeholder framework for resolving the crisis is very crucial. For the Malian civil society, this need for involvement is especially felt because of the highly disruptive ideas of certain actors that have been posing as civil society since the onset of the crisis. It is in order to address the specific issue of seeming division within civil society as well as to define a coherent strategy for civil society involvement in the future resolution of the crisis that a Fact Finding Mission to Mali was deployed by WACSOF and CODESRIA. The deployment of the mission therefore underscores the solidarity of the entire West African Civil Society constituency with the Malian people in this time of great need, and serves as the first step in WACSOF’s intervention towards re-energizing the Malian Civil Society.