Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence in Islamic Thought


The Second LIVIT Conference

Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence in Early Islamic Thought

In memory of Professor Dr Thomas Sizgorich

5-6 September 2011

Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies

University of Exeter, UK


Professor Dr Thomas Sizgorich of University of California, Irvine was due to participate in the second LIVIT conference in September 2011, and we were discussing arrangements for his visit just before his untimely death on 27th January 2011.   Many will know his ground-breaking work, in particular his wonderful book Violence and Belief in Late Antiquity: Militant Devotion in Christianity and Islam.  We were excited about his participation, and his enthusiasm for the aims of the LIVIT project was very important for us.  Details of a scholarship scheme established in his honour can be found here.  We dedicate this conference to him, in recognition of his learned scholarship and his contribution to our field.


For the conference programme with abstracts in pdf , click here.




Monday 5th September 2011


09.30 Opening Remarks:  István Kristó-Nagy and Robert Gleave

09.50 PANEL 1 Executions” : Chair: Robert Gleave

09.50 Iván Szántó (Österreichishe Akademie der Wissenschaften), “Old images in new skins: the visual tradition of flaying in IranAbstract.

10.25 François de Blois (School of Oriental and African Studies, London), “Stoning as punishment for fornication in Islam and other Near Eastern Cultures” Abstract.

11.10  Andrew Marsham (University of Edinburgh), “Attitudes to Public Execution with fire in Late Antiquity and Early Islam” Abstract.

11.45  John Nawas (Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven), “Abbasid state violence and the execution of Ibn 'Ai'isha” Abstract.

12.20 Lunch

13.30 PANEL 2 “Jihad”: Chair: Gerard Hawting

13.30 Christopher Melchert (University of Oxford), “Ibn al-Mubarak’s Kitab al-JihadAbstract.

14.05 Andrew Rippin (University of Victoria), “Reading the Qur'an on jihad: two early exegetical texts” Abstract.

14.40  Andras Hamori (Princeton University), “Jihadi Poetry” Abstract.

15.00 Tea/Coffee

15.30 PANEL 3 “Anti-Christian Violence” Chair: Hugh Kennedy

15.30 David Thomas (University of Birmingham), “The minimalisation of Christianity under early Islamic rule” Abstract.

16.05 Stephen Humphreys (University of California, Santa Barbara), “Anti-Christian Violence in the Jazira during the Early Ninth Century (810-833): Was It an Infringement of Islamic Norms?” Abstract

16.40 Close


Tuesday 6th September 2011

09.30 PANEL 4 “Frontier Violence”: Chair: Hugh Kennedy

09.30  Sarah Bowen Savant (Agha Khan University, London), “The Conquest of Tustar: Site of Memory, Site of Forgetting” Abstract.


10.05 Michael Bonner (University of Michigan), “Violence and the frontier in the ninth-century Mediterranean: A comparative view of the ideology of the Aghlabid and Tulunid dynastic states” Abstract

10.40 Tea/Coffee

11.10 PANEL 5 “Revolt or quietism?” Chair: Gerard Hawting

11.10 Hayrettin Yucesoy (Saint Louis University), “Political Resistance and Nonviolence in Medieval Islam” Abstract

11.45  Saud Al-Sarhan (University of Exeter), “‘Patience is better than sedition’: The political thought of Ahmad Ibn HanbalAbstract.

12.20 Robert Gleave (University of Exeter), “Taqiyya and the limits of legitimate violence in early Shi’i fiqhAbstract

12.55 Lunch

14.00 PANEL 6 “Flesh of Beasts and Men”: Chair: Barbara Roberson

14.00  Sarra Tlili (University of Florida), “Animals Would Follow Shafi'ism. Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence Done to Animals in Islamic Legal Literature” Abstract.

14.35  Zoltán Szombathy (Eötvös Lóránd University, ELTE, Budapest), “Eating People Is Wrong: Some Eyewitness Accounts of Cannibalism in Mediaeval Arabic Literature” Abstract.

15.10 Tea/Coffee

15.10 PANEL 7 “Bandits and Rapists”: Chair: Monique Bernards

15.10  Michael Cooperson (University of California, Los Angeles), “Bandits” Abstract

15.45  Geert Jan van Gelder (University of Oxford), “Sexual Violence in Verse: Jarir and Ji`thin, al-Farazdaq's Sister” Abstract

16.20 Closing Remarks: Robert Gleave and István Kristó-Nagy


Wednesday 7th September 2011

AM: Conference participants depart


To register please download and complete a registration form and send it to Jane Clark (jane.clark@exeter.ac.uk) by 29th July 2011. REGISTRATION NOW CLOSED 





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