January 27, 2021

Al-Tikriti Pens Editorial on Süleyman the Magnificent for ‘Great Lives’ Lecture

Süleyman the Magnificent

Süleyman the Magnificent

Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti penned an editorial on Ottoman Empire Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent in advance of his Great Lives lecture on Tuesday Jan. 26, at 7:30 pm on Zoom, as part of UMW’s “Great Lives” series. It can be accessed at umw.edu/greatlives.

IN 2011, Turkish television launched a new series, entitled “Magnificent Century / Mühteşim Yüzyıl.” An instant hit, this flashy soap opera offered a highly dramatized version of Sultan Süleyman’s palace personna, family drama, and harem dynamics.

Over four seasons this bodice ripper, centered largely on the rivalry between his wife, Hürrem, and his earlier prime concubine, Mahidevran, was screened by over 200 million viewers in over 50 countries.

Why were so many hooked on a fanciful dramatization of this celebrated sultan who died over 450 years ago?

The real Süleyman (d. 1566) ruled over the Ottoman Empire during what most consider the peak of its power. Even though the empire continued to expand for several decades after his death, and remained the most powerful force in Europe for well over another century, when denizens of Western civilization consider this empire at all, it is usually in the same breath as they contemplate the reign of its most famous ruler. Read more.

Al-Tikriti Monitors Kazakhstan Parliamentary Elections

Prof. Al-Tikriti and Mr. Emil Shakir Uluu

Prof. Al-Tikriti and Mr. Emil Shakir Uluu

From 11 December 2020 to 16 January 2021, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti served as a Long Term Observer (LTO) for the Organization of Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Shymkent, Kazakhstan.

In the course of this five week deployment, Prof. Al-Tikriti interviewed local leaders of all five recognized Kazakh parties; met with civil society activists; discussed election administration with government officials at the rayon (district), oblast (province), and city levels; and administered fuel and financial logistics for his five person team. In addition, he was able to visit the Otyrar ruins (the first city destroyed by Çingiz Khan’s Mongol army in their westward drive), the Ahmed Yesevi shrine,and the Ahmet Yesevi Turkish-Kazakh International University (TÜRTEP) in Turkistan city.

Together with his senior LTO partner, Mr. Emil Shakir Uluu of Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan, Prof. Al-Tikriti completed several weekly reports, election observation forms, spot rally reports, and other observation requirements mandated by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). Mr. Shakir Uluu and Prof. Al-Tikriti’s work contributed to ODIHR’s interim report, and final report, which will be released in a few weeks.

Prof. Al-Tikriti thanks the colleagues who served with him in Shymkent, as well as all the wonderful Kazakh officials, activists, and election colleagues whom he was fortunate enough to meet in the course of this election observation.

Al-Tikriti Speaks on Nagorno-Karabakh Ceasefire

Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti recently spoke at a virtual conference hosted by Western Caspian University of Baku, Azerbaijan.

Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti recently spoke at a virtual conference hosted by Western Caspian University of Baku, Azerbaijan.

On 18 December 2020, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti spoke at a conference entitled “XII-XV əsrlər Ön Asiya və Qafqaz bölgəsinin tarixi-etnoqrafik məsələlərinə baxış / Perspectives on Historical and Ethnographic Issues Concerning 12th-15th Century Western Asia and the Caucasus Region.” The international conference, offering presentations in Azerbaijani Turkish and English, was hosted by Western Caspian University of Baku, Azerbaijan, and took place entirely online.

The title of Al-Tikriti’s presentation was “Observations on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict’s 10 November Resolution.” Addressing a mostly Azerbaijani audience, in the course of this talk, Prof. Al-Tikriti offered the following points about the recent conflict’s current ceasefire and steps for longer term resolution:

1) He has never seen as bitter a conflict as this one, and he has witnessed several well-known conflicts.

2) The mass hatred all around must be brought to an end, sooner rather than later.

3) The huge difference between what is said for international consumption and what is said for domestic consumption needs to be reduced.

4) Both sides are living in parallel realities, and the discrepancy between those parallel worlds must be reduced.

5) The weaponization of historical memory must be put to an end, and both sides must stop pretending like the other side doesn’t exist.

6) Azerbaijan should now act generously, because if they repeat Armenia’s earlier mistake of being content with triumphantly maintaining a frozen conflict, it will come back to haunt them some day, due to shifting factors domestically and internationally.

7) Both sides may have now opened themselves up to increased Russian-Turkish neo-imperialism — if they desire genuine independence, they must negotiate directly with each other.

8) War crimes are unacceptable, and must be prosecuted — otherwise, no good will is foreseen.

9) The 2006 Julfa destruction was unacceptable, and should be both punished and restored to the extent possible.

10) As a sign of good will, Azerbaijan should open up rail lines, transport links, etc.

11) Azerbaijan should negotiate granting Nagorno-Karabakh autonomy.

12) Both sides should secure external peacekeepers (i.e. not Russian or Turkish) to guarantee both the Lachin and Zangezur corridors.

Prof. Al-Tikriti’s thanks the organizers for this opportunity to present his reflections on the recent conflict, and hopes that a just peace will soon prove viable in the South Caucasus.

Al-Tikriti Presents “Engaging with Higher Education in Azerbaijan”

On Tuesday, May 12, 2020, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti presented a talk entitled “Engaging with Higher Education in Azerbaijan,” invited and hosted by Drexel University’s Global Education Curriculum. This talk was shaped by Prof. Al-Tikriti’s experiences as a Fulbright Scholar in Baku, Azerbaijan in academic year 2018-2019. In this presentation, he addressed points concerning American preconceptions of post-Soviet societies, Caucasus politics, and challenges of Higher Education in Azerbaijan. He wishes to thank Drexel University Professors Joyce Pittman and Kristy Kelly.

The event abstract read as follows: “In this talk, Prof. Nabil Al-Tikriti will describe his year serving as a Fulbright Scholar in Baku, Azerbaijan. In the course of that year, he compared his experiences teaching research methodology to undergraduates with Azerbaijani colleagues, conducted historical research in manuscript collections and university libraries, and assisted national counterparts in designing a proposed reform of Baku State University’s American Studies curriculum. In the course of his immersion, Prof. Al-Tikriti gained numerous insights into post-Soviet legacies in Higher Education, as well as in alternative models of university instruction.”

Those wishing to screen the presentation can access it via this event series link: https://drexel.edu/soe/resources/events/event-series/gec/May-12-2020-event/.

UMW Professor’s Online Initiative Attracts Tens of Thousands

The University of Mary Washington is among countless educational institutions worldwide that have switched to virtual classes due to the coronavirus threat, or COVID-19. Suddenly, students are at home, and so are their teachers. The transition has been daunting for many professors, especially those who have never taught online.

Higher Ed Learning Collective But one UMW faculty member saw it as an opportunity.

College of Education Professor John Broome launched the Higher Ed Learning Collective (HELC), a grassroots, we’re-all-in-it-together kind of Facebook group for sharing high- and low-tech remote-teaching tools, sprinkled with a dose of self-care. He never imagined the Collective would gain traction across the globe in just a few weeks, morphing into a worldwide movement with over 24,000 members in more than 100 countries … and counting.

HELC already has introduced a website and YouTube channel, and dozens of universities, libraries and online learning sites are recommending the group, as is UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The Collective is creating a sense of community in a world that desperately needs one, and Broome hopes HELC will outlive the coronavirus pandemic, driving faculty to better address the diverse needs of students.

“Not everyone has access to good online or hybrid pedagogy,” said Broome, who – like so many fellow academics – was anxiously posting on social media. “We’re struggling as educators and as humans … so why not teach each other for free?” Read more.

Al-Tikriti Delivers Iraq Lecture at the Foreign Service Institute

Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History Nabil Al-Tikriti

On Wednesday, January 8, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti delivered a lecture entitled “US-Iraqi Relations since 1979” at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, VA. This lecture was delivered as part of the “Iraq Familiarization Course,” targeted at State Department professionals and contractors scheduled to serve in Iraq.

Al-Tikriti Discusses Potential Azerbaijan Exchange Program and Collaborations

Prof. Al-Tikriti in Baku

On Wednesday, 18 December, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti discussed potential future student exchanges and program collaborations between the University of Mary Washington and ADA University of Baku, Azerbaijan. Prof. Al-Tikriti thanks Dr. Jose Sainz, Fariz Ismailzade, Gulnur Ismayil, and Milana Ibrahimova for assisting with this initiative.

Al-Tikriti Presents Keynote Address at History Workshop in Turkey

Conference Card

Associate Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti presented a keynote address entitled “Şehzade Korkut ve 16. Yüzyıl Osmanlısında Dini Kimlik Mücadeleleri / Şehzade Korkud and the 16th Century Struggles for Religious Identity” on Friday, December 13. Presenting this 40 minute address entirely in Turkish, Prof. Al-Tikriti summarized the biography and contributions of Prince Korkud (d. 1513), the son of Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II (d. 1512) for the “Uluslararası Katılımlı Şehzade Korkut Sempozyomu / International Attendee Şehzade Korkud Symposium.” The symposium, the first of its kind, was hosted by the Akdeniz Üniversitesi Ilahiyat Fakültesi / Mediterranean University Divinity School, of Antalya, Turkey. This was an invited appearance.

The symposium website includes further information, and photos.

Prof. Al-Tikriti would especially like to thank Professors Rifat Atay and Muhammet Fatih Duman, who organized the symposium and extended the invitation.

Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History Nabil Al-Tikriti

Nabil Al-Tikriti Joins MESA Roundtable Discussion on TARII

Associate Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti joined a roundtable entitled “Iraqi Studies across Disciplines: The Future for an Iraqi Research Center,” at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Conference on Friday, November 15, in New Orleans, LA.

The roundtable abstract was: “Due to the ongoing legacies of sanctions, authoritarianism, violence, and foreign interventions we have now suffered over 20 years of disconnect between international scholars, who do research in Iraq studies, and their ability to conduct that research inside of Iraq. Following on The Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TARII)’s recently established Center for Research in Baghdad we propose a roundtable to review the state of Iraq Studies in all disciplines and how our research center in Baghdad can contribute to the future of the field. TARII is a registered non-profit devoted to promoting scholarly research on and in Iraq and to strengthen relationships between Iraqi and American scholars and institutions. At this time in particular, Iraq’s important role on the world stage necessitates facilitating research on Iraq with a full and accurate context that can be best accessed inside Iraq. With this panel we hope to provide the opportunity for a robust discussion covering Iraqi history, contemporary politics, cultural heritage, and cultural production across disciplines today.”

Prof. Al-Tikriti originally intended to provide a summary of today’s scholarly literature addressing Iraq during the Ottoman era, he instead provided a set of ideas concerning the future of Iraqi studies with a newly re-opened TARII center in Baghdad, Iraq, based on his experiences with other regional research institutes.

Other participants in the roundtable included Drs. Alda Benjamin, Antoine Borrut, and Katharyn Hanson, who organized the event on behalf of TARII.

Al-Tikriti Presents Azerbaijan Paper at Central Eurasian Studies Society Conference

History of Baku's Manuscript Collection

History of Baku’s Manuscript Collection

Associate Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti presented a paper entitled “Some Notes on Manuscript Collections in Azerbaijan on Saturday, October 12. The presentation took place on a panel entitled Sources and Methodological Questions” in Washington, D.C., at the Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS) Conference.

The paper abstract was: “This past year, while serving a Fulbright grant based at Baku State University (BSU), I was fortunate to explore Azerbaijan’s known manuscript collections. In the course of such explorations, I learned what I could about the history of such collections, their current state of preservation, and their place in regional book culture.

In this paper, I first provide a brief historical summary of Azerbaijan’s manuscript holdings, and an overview of what I understand to be the state of the country’s manuscript collections currently. As is widely known, manuscript collections in Azerbaijan suffered great disruption in the wake of the 19th century Russian imperial conquest, the Great War, and 1930s Soviet anti-religion campaigns. In light of these developments, I provide my views on the region’s early modern and modern manuscript history.

Following this overview, I concentrate on describing the history and current state of the ‘AMEA M. Fuzuli adina El Yazmalar Institutu,’ or ‘Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences Manuscript Institute named after M. Fuzuli.’ For this portion, I describe the institute’s manuscript holdings, the importance of the most prominent texts, and the practicalities of conducting research at this institution. I also make general observations on the periods which this collection primarily covers, and the broader significance of this collection for national and regional historical research.”

This panel was chaired by Dr. Eren Tasar (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). In the same panel, Dr. Khodadad Rezakhani (Princeton University) presented a paper entitled ‘Diplomats on the Steppe: Ibn Fadlan, the Samanids, and the Rise of the Steppe Road’ and Dr. Sherzodhon Mahmudov (Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan) presented a paper entitled ‘Russian factors in Khoqand-Istanbul correspondences: analysis of letters of Khoqand rulers kept in Ottoman archives.'”