June 2, 2023

Al-Tikriti Co-Develops and Co-Edits Middle East Report

In April 2023, Middle East Report [MERIP] Issue #306, “The State of Iraq: 20 Years After the Invasion,” was officially published. UMW Professor of Middle Eastern History Nabil Al-Tikriti joined the team of developers and editors who invited contributors and edited content for the issue, available online.

The Issue Development Team (IDT) consisted of Profs. Nabil Al-Tikriti, Lisa Hajjar of  UC-Santa Barbara, Shamiran Mako of Boston University, and Marsin Alshamary of the Brookings Institution. Marya Hannun is MERIP’s managing editor and oversaw the overall editorial process.

Press Release: “MER issue 306, The State of Iraq—20 Years After the Invasion, begins with the assertion that the anniversary is not a single event but part of an ongoing story. At the center are “the state of Iraq” and the reality in which Iraqis live today. The contributions analyze state-society relations, untangle political dynamics and follow flows of capital and power as they lay bare the enduring legacy of the 2003 invasion, occupation and “reconstruction.” With chilling precision, pieces explore the social, political, economic, cultural, spatial and environmental landscape of today’s Iraq. They make clear the structural effects of war as well as its human toll. At the same time, the essays invite readers to look toward the future, with hope and caution. This issue also marks the beginning of a collaboration between MERIP and Jummar, an independent Iraqi media initiative whose work promotes new voices from Iraq and brings English-language knowledge of Iraq into Arabic. Jummar has translated articles from the issue, and Jummar’s designer, the Baghdad-based visual artist Atef Al Jaffal, designed the cover: Iraq’s Crying Child. ”

In addition to participating on the IDT, on April 4 Al-Tikriti joined with Profs. Hajjar, Mako, Alshamary, and Dr. Haider Ala Hamoudi of the University of Pittsburgh Law School to discuss the issue’s findings at a Boston University sponsored webinar:

Contributions to the issue included: Fanar Haddad, “Perpetual Protest and the Failure of the Post-2003 Iraqi State,” Zahra Ali, “Iraqi Women’s Activism — 20 Years After the US Invasion,” Zeinab Shukur, “Water, Oil, and Iraq’s Climate Future,” Hamzeh Hadad, “Two Decades of Uneven Federalism in Iraq,” Bilal Wahab, “The Rise and Fall of Kurdish Power in Iraq,” Renad Mansour, “The Political Logic Behind Iraq’s Fragmented Armed Forces,” and Hannibal Travis, “Perspective — Recognizing and Repairing the Harm to Iraq’s Minority Communities.” The issue also includes “Interview — The Past, Present, and Future of Iraq’s Cultural Heritage” with Mark Altaweel, Jaafar Jotheri, and Hannah Parsons-Morgan.

Dr. Al-Tikriti thanks everyone involved in the completion and publication of this MERIP issue, which marks the end of his six year term serving on MERIP’s Editorial Committee. In the course of those six years, Dr. Al-Tikriti served on five Issue Development Teams.

Middle East Report is published by the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), a progressive, independent organization. Since 1971 MERIP has provided critical analysis of the Middle East, focusing on political economy, popular struggles and the implications of U.S. foreign policy for the region.

Al-Tikriti Presents Research at Ottoman Historiography Conference in Istanbul

Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti

Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti

Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti presented a paper entitled “Greatness Denied: Firdevsī-yi Rūmī on the Cusp of Ottoman Sunnism” on Friday, December 16. In this presentation, he provided a summary biography of the polymath Ottoman author Firdevsī-yi Rūmī (fl. 1512), and offered a preliminary set of reasons why he was subsequently expelled from the Ottoman literary canon. This presentation was offered as part of the “Osmanlı’da İlm-i Tarih Sempozyumu: Ālimler, Eserler ve Meseleler / Ottoman Historiography Symposium: Scholars, Works, Problems,” the eighth of a series of symposiums on Ottoman scientific history hosted by İSAR, an Istanbul foundation supporting research on various fields of Islamic history. The symposium website includes further information, and the complete symposium program is available. This was an invited appearance.

Here is Prof. Al-Tikriti’s presentation abstract: “Ilyas Çelebi “Firdevsi-yi Rumi” (fl. 1512) served primarily at the courts of Sultan Bayezid II (d. 1512) and Prince Korkud (d. 1513), authoring works of narrative history, elegiac poetry, gestes, and hagiography. In this paper, I will summarize what is known of his biography and analyze his presentation of Ottoman, Turkish, and Muslim identity.

Firdevsi, a litterateur with a considerable sense of self, completed more than twenty works while serving at the apex of Ottoman cultural production. While very successful at attracting patronage and support for lengthy and ornate literary works, his oeuvre was mostly lampooned by those who followed in the decades after his death.

Why would a writer who was so successful in his own lifetime be so reviled within a few decades of his death? Analyzing the political content and identity positions staked out by Firdevsi provides a tentative answer – societal views changed abruptly in the first tumultuous decades of the early 16th century. Firdevsi’s use of the term “Sunni” in his Qutb-name, explanation of Turkish conversion to Islam in his Süleyman-name, and portrayal of Anatolian Sufism in his Vilayet-name each provide clues as to why subsequent literary critics found his scholarship unreliable, his poetry unspeakable, and his views objectionable.”

Al-Tikriti Presents Ottoman History Research at Istanbul Conference

Al-Tikriti joins the panel

Al-Tikriti, far right, joins the panel

Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti presented a paper entitled “All My Children – Assessing the Ego Documents of Bayezid II’s (d. 1512) Family” on Wednesday, June 15. Following a brief statement in Turkish, Prof. Al-Tikriti continued in English, surveying the available “Ego-Documents” covering the family of the Ottoman Empire’s 8th ruler, Bayezid II. This presentation was offered as part of the “Ottoman Ego Documents/Ben-Anlatıları” Symposium hosted by a number of public and private Turkish institutions, including Istanbul Medeniyet Üniversitesi, TÜBİTAK, İSTEV, Eyüpsultan Municipality and Tuzla Municipality. The conference, which took place on June 15 to 17, after twice being postponed due to the recent pandemic, was held in a hybrid format and included a number of scholars presenting remotely from Europe, as well as an in-person keynote address by Harvard University’s Cemal Kafadar.

In the course of his presentation, Prof. Al-Tikriti advocated for use of the term “family corpus” of ego-documents, while clarifying that such documents are specific forms of “life writing,” as nearly all surviving 16th-century Ottoman documents are in effect public statements, as opposed to private musings.

The symposium website includes further information, and the complete symposium program. Prof. Al-Tikriti would like to especially thank the UMW Finance Department for facilitating such conference travel right before the end of the current fiscal year.

Al-Tikriti Hosts MAOW Conference

Mid-Atlantic Ottomanist Workshop (MAOW) MugOn April 1 and 2, the University of Mary Washington hosted the Third Annual Mid-Atlantic Ottomanist Workshop (MAOW), organized by Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti. Participants were thrilled with the University’s hosting and will remember UMW fondly as they continue their research and careers. The “hybrid” format was a challenge at times (including a Zoom bomber), but the conference featured 23 presenters, four moderators, and roughly 50 individuals who also “zoomed” in remotely from around the world over two days. Presentations came in from throughout the USA, as well as from the UK, Armenia and Turkey. Virginia colleagues from UVA, William & Mary, JMU, Washington & Lee, George Mason and VCU attended, as well as regional colleagues from Salisbury, Wake Forest, SUNY Binghamton, Rutgers University-Newark (remote), Auburn, Florida (remote), Hopkins, Princeton, NYU and Chicago.
For further information, including conference schedule and paper abstracts, feel free to check out the conference website: https://maow.umwblogs.org/.

Al-Tikriti Discusses Ukraine Crisis for Wichita Audience

Professor of Middle Eastern History Nabil Al-Tikriti

Professor of Middle Eastern History Nabil Al-Tikriti

On 27 March 2022, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti discussed the historical and politcal background to the Ukraine crisis for the Global Learning Council (GLC) at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Wichita, Kansas, via Zoom, and together with Prof. John Dreifort of Wichita State University. In the course of his presentation, Prof. Al-Tikriti walked the audience of roughly 40 GLC members through the various historical arguments in evidence thus far in the conflict betweeen Russia and Ukraine, and the evidence supporting various claims put forth. Al-Tikriti has observed elections in Ukraine in 2004 (Nikopol), 2014 (Lviv), and 2019 (Berdyansk), and has thus traveled throughout much of Ukraine and observed Ukrainian politics.

Anyone interested in screening the presentation, as well as the Q&A from the audience, can view the event recording here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFkYhOABkGM.

3rd Mid-Atlantic Ottomanist Workshop, April 1-2

We are pleased to announce that the University of Mary Washington will host the third meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Ottomanist Workshop on April 1-2, 2022. This workshop, co-sponsored by the Harrison R. Tyler Department of History at the College of William & Mary, will provide an opportunity for scholars of Ottoman studies to gather, discuss their research, and receive substantive feedback. This initiative aims to bring together scholars of all stages based in the mid-Atlantic region who are working to advance the study of the Ottoman Empire and its interactions with the wider world from the late 13th century through the early 20th century. See the event schedule here.

The theme of the 2022 workshop will be “Continuity and Change Throughout the Ottoman Longue Durée.” We hope to promote interdisciplinary dialogue among academics whose scholarship is focused on transregional and transimperial connections, situating the Ottoman Empire and its study within broader discussions. Works in progress are specifically welcomed.

Logistics: The conference will be held in a hybrid format at the Digital Auditorium, Hurley Convergence Center (HCC), at the University of Mary Washington, in Fredericksburg, VA. The HCC address is: 1801 College Ave, Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Workshop webpage: https://maow.umwblogs.org/

Zoom Registration: https://umw-sso.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcqfuuqqzMjHtc0XVQZ8S1bSdoMY7TUKcHN

Please contact Nabil Al-Tikriti (naltikri@umw.edu) if you have any questions.

Al-Tikriti Presents Research at Istanbul Conference

Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti presented a keynote address entitled “Revisiting “Yavuz Sultan Selim Nasıl Padışah Oldu”: The Selimşah-Korkud Correspondence” on Thursday, November 4. Presenting his 20 minute address entirely in Turkish, Prof. Al-Tikriti summarized and commented on the secondary literature and primary source correspondence between Prince Korkud (d. 1513) and the future Yavuz Sultan Selim (d. 1520) for the “Yavuz Sultan Selim ve Dönemi Sempozyumu / The Symposium on Yavuz Sultan Selim and his Era.” The symposium was hosted by Istanbul Üniversitesi (University) and Türk Tarih Kurumu (Turkish Historical Foundation). This was an invited appearance.

The symposium website includes further information, and photos. The conference proceedings should be published in the next few months.

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Al-Tikriti Serves as Discussant for Global Teach Connections Summit 2021

On 13-14 July 2021, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti served as a Discussant for Drexel University’s Global Teach Connections Summit 2021. This conference was also supported by the University of Pennsylvania’s Middle East Center.

In the course of this conference, Prof. Al-Tikriti led discussion during the last session of the first day’s proceedings, covering Global Education issues. This participation followed his 2020 presentation to the same forum, covering his 2018-19 Fulbright year in Azerbaijan.

Here is the thank you note from the organizer, Dr. Joyce Pittman: “I want to thank you for an outstanding participation during the recent Global Teach Connection Summit 2021. When planning an event such as this, it is imperative to gain the participation of experts in the field and in our School of Education globally to reach our global teachers. Your interest and willingness to share your time by listening to our experiences and sharing expertise in the GTC project, especially the summit on global teaching competencies to advance education equity, was critical to the success of this event. The feedback from participants is most complimentary about our approach to engaging and making a difference in global education outreach and ability to connect GTC to the greater work that is happening worldwide. We were fortunate to have a wide range of participants and speakers from an international arena – K-12 education, non-profits, business, state agencies, higher education, and others. It is our collective efforts and thoughts on best practice that will bring us closer to resolving this important issue. The summit was not meant to be a single event, but a starting point for the work that must be done, especially in the School of Education to mitigate this problem once and for all for teachers and learners. Please be sure to visit the Global Teach Connect Website for videos and to connect with local University of Penn partners for future collaboration. Please visit all the resources in toolkit that was shared with you before and during the conference and use the project template to submit your ideas for future professional development, training, or research!”

Day 1 Recording: https://1513041.mediaspace.kaltura.com/media/GTC+Summit+Day+1/1_ocgb6a24

Day 2 Recording: https://1513041.mediaspace.kaltura.com/media/GTCDay2/1_89lgv2kl

Al-Tikriti Monitors Armenia Parliamentary Elections

Prof. Al-Tikriti at Khor Virap Monastery in Armenia.

Prof. Al-Tikriti at Khor Virap Monastery in Armenia.

From 15-24 June 2021, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti served as a Short Term Observer (STO) for the Organization of Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Ararat Province, Armenia.

In the course of this single week deployment, Prof. Al-Tikriti observed the election process for the 20 June 2021 Armenian parliamentary elections. In the course of this observation, he and his STO team visited eight polling stations in and around Ararat City, Armenia. In addition, he was able to visit the Khor Virap Monastery, Garni Temple, Geghard Monastery, Lake Sevan, and Matenadaran Library.

Together with his Polish STO partner, Ms. Halszhka Lachowicz, Prof. Al-Tikriti completed multiple visit reports, monitored the evening count, and carried out other observation requirements as mandated by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). Ms. Lachowicz and Prof. Al-Tikriti’s work contributed to ODIHR’s reporting.

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

Ottoman Religious History Volume Publishes Al-Tikriti Chapter

In the fall of 2020, a volume edited by Tijana Krstić and Derin Terzioğlu entitled Historicizing Sunni Islam in the Ottoman Empire, c. 1450 – c. 1750, included a chapter by UMW Middle East History Associate Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti. The chapter, entitled “A Contrarian Voice: Şehzāde Ḳorḳud’s (d. 919/1513) Writings on Kalām and the Early Articulation of Ottoman Sunnism,” provides an examination of the role Prince Korkud’s writings played in the early modern evolution of Ottoman religious identity.

The chapter abstract: “What characterizes Ottoman Sunnism, and how did it come to be? The conventional view is that by roughly the middle of the sixteenth century the imperial elite came to adopt and promote a particular religious identity, which can be characterized by several overlapping, interrelated, and historically defined denominational (madhhab) affiliations, as well as a particular relationship with the political hierarchy. The favored denominations included Hanafi legal affiliation and Maturidi kalām orientation, accompanied by elite support for particular aspects of mystical thought and practice, a cooperative relationship between favored Sufi orders and the state, and advanced integration of the ulama into a state-supported madrasa system.”

“One figure whose writings reflect this coming together of Ottoman Sunnism at a nascent stage is Şehzāde Ḳorḳud (d. 919/1513), who argued a series of positions on matters of religious belief, doctrinal certainty, favored groups, and the relationship between the state and ulama. Largely because he failed to win power in the 917–919 / 1511–1513 dynastic succession struggle, the prince’s arguments left a limited mark, and several of his positions reflected a minority viewpoint. However, at the same time, his positions highlight several relevant intellectual influences at that time and place, point to factors contributing to the form Ottoman Sunnism came to take, and demonstrate the range of debate inherent in elite circles at the time.