About the School of Abbasid Studies

The activities of the School of Abbasid Studies (SAS) centre on the organization of a two-yearly conference held at one of the universities of its directors or at a host institution. The conferences of the School are small-scale and by invitation only. The duration of a conference is three to four days and a maximum of twenty-six papers of 30 minutes each are scheduled. All papers are publicly discussed. Apart from the conferences, the SAS also provides The Journal of Abbasid Studies. This is a spin-off from the School’s activities and in lieu of the former publications of the School, the Abbasid Studies Series.


The SAS is lead by five directors: Monique Bernards, Hugh Kennedy, John Nawas, Shawkat Toorawa, and Maaike van Berkel.

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Membership of the School of Abbasid Studies is on invitation only.
Currently, the SAS contains 99 members.

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Latest news

Most recent conference

The fifteenth conference of the School of Abbasid Studies took place from Tuesday July 12 till Saturday July 16, 2022
at Oxford University, UK.

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Awards 2021


Alastair Northedge, Paris-based British professor, researcher and archaeologist best known for his surveys of Samarra, is 2020 laureate of Tamayouz Excellence Award’s Special Recognition Award.
The Special Recognition Award aims to celebrate and recognize contributions to humanity, architecture and the built environment and is presented annually to individuals or organizations.
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Michael Cooperson, professor of Near Eastern languages and cultures, has received the Sheikh Zayed Award for his Arabic-to-English translation of “Impostures” by Maqamat Al-Hariri.
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New publication

Popeye and Curly: 120 Days in Medieval Baghdad
Written and Illustrated by Emily Selove

Popeye and Curly is a book of cartoons about Abbasid Baghdad, starring book-loving author Popeye (al-Jahiz) and winebibbing poet Curly (Abu Nuwas), along with their friends Coral (a singing girl) and the Caliph of one of the world’s most influential empires in history. Each episode is derived from historical sources, and designed to entertain, educate, and amaze.

It includes a short preface by Geert Jan van Gelder, as well as a bibliography and index. The full-colour pictures are inspired by illustrations of al-Hariri’s Maqamat.

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