Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

"Beyond Golden Age and Decline" Videos

As part of a project awarded by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities under the Bridging Cultures initiative, the Center for Global Islamic Studies gathered a two-day scholarly forum on March 14-15, 2011 titled "Beyond Golden Age and Decline: The Legacies of Muslim Societies in Global Modernity, 1300-1900" with the participation of over 30 world and Islamic historians.

The scholars, inlcuding faculty and researchers from the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University, Brown University, Georgetown University, the University of Virginia, the Univeristy of Edinburgh, and the American University in Cairo, confronted commonly accepted readings of Islamic history between the 14th and 20th centuries, an era described as one of general decline for Muslim societies in contrast to the preceding Islamic Golden Age. Focusing on the history of Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires, speakers brought to light recent scholarship on this misunderstood era in Muslim history and debunked widely perpetuated myths within academia and among the public.


Welcome and Opening Remarks

Cemil Aydin (Director, Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies), Peter Stearns (Provost, George Mason University), Robert Vaughan (President, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities), and Jim Leach (Chair, National Endowment for the Humanities)


Plenary Panel, "Art and Architecture of Muslim Societies"

Gülru Necipoğlu (Harvard University) and Massumeh Farhad (Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution)


Panel 1, "Recent Historiography on the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires"

Cemal Kafadar (Harvard University), Rajeev Kinra (Northwestern University), and Kathryn Babayan (University of Michigan)


Panel 2, "Re-Framing the Narratives of Muslim Societies in World History Literature"

Edmund Burke III (University of California, Berkeley), John Voll (Georgetown University), Jerry Bentley (University of Hawaii, Manoa), Patrick Manning (University of Pittsburgh) and Richard Bulliet (Columbia University)


Panel 3, "Countering the Main Arguments of Decline"

Giancarlo Casale (University of Minnesota), Gabor Agoston (Georgetown University), Baki Tezcan (University of California, Davis), and Himmet Taskomur (Harvard University) 


Panel 4, "Cosmopolitanism and Political Theory in the Age of Three Empires"

Hayrettin Yucesoy (St. Louis University), Huseyin Yilmaz (University of South Florida), Stephen Dale (Ohio State University), and Cengiz Sisman (Furman University) 


Panel 5, "Islamic Law in/and the Literature of Decline"

Engin Akarli (Brown University), Nelly Hanna (American University, Cairo), and Andrew Newman (University of Edinburgh)


Panel 6, "New Scholarship on Science, Ideas, and Philosophy"

George Saliba (Columbia University), Ahmed al-Rahim (University of Virginia), and Nabil Matar (University of Minnesota)


Concluding Session

Moderated by John Voll (Georgetown University) and Richard Bulliet (Columbia University)

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