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Conference programme

We encourage all presenters and panelists to register via the conference website as soon as possible.

Conference Programme & Abstracts

You can already download our Conference Booklet (PDF format).

ECIS 10 Conference Programme (PDF format)
The Conference Programme was last updated on 24 August 2023.

You can already download all Conference Abstracts (Individual Papers and Panels).
The file was last updated on 23 August 2023. 

Please feel free to explore our Cultural Programme.
The file was last updated on 22 August 2023.

The SIE General Assembly will take place on Wednesday afternoon, 23 August 2023 in the Main Academy Building.

The conference dinner will be on Wednesday, 23 August 2023 at restaurant Scheltema in Leiden. 

Information for presenters

Each panelist will have 20 minutes for their paper and 10 minutes for a discussion.

All rooms are equipped with a computer and a projector. If you would like to use a PPT, please bring your presentation on a USB stick; it will not be possible to connect with your own computer.

You do not have to send your final paper in advance.

Keynote lectures

The keynotes will take place either in the Large Auditorium of the main Academy Building or in Lipsius, room 019.  

Some keynote lectures will be livestreamed free of charge. Please find below the respective links. 

  • The keynote lecture of Rudolph Matthee will be livestreamed via this link
  • The keynote lecture of Pierfrancesco Callieri will be livestreamed via this link
  • The keynote lecture of Julia Rubanovich will be livestreamed via this link
  • The keynote lecture of Touraj Atabaki will be livestreamed via this link.

Keynote speakers

21 August 2023 Keynote Lecture by Rudolph Matthee

Venue: Main Academy Building
Time: 17:00-18:00 hrs

Rudolph Matthee is John and Dorothy Munroe Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Delaware.

He is the author of four award-winning books, The Politics of Trade in Safavid Iran: Silk for Silver, 1600-1730, which received the Iranian Ministry of Culture's award for best non-Persian book on Iranian history; The Pursuit of Pleasure: Drugs and Stimulants in Iranian History, 1500-1900, which won the Albert Hourani Prize for best book on the Middle East and the Saidi-Sirjani Prize for best book in Iranian history; Persia in Crisis: The Decline of the Safavids and the Fall of Isfahan, which was awarded the British-Kuwait Friendship Prize and the Iranian Ministry of Culture's award for best non-Persian book on Iranian history; and The Monetary History of Iran: From the Safavids to the Qajars, which was awarded the Houchang Pourshariati Iranian Studies book Prize. His latest book Angels Tapping on the Wine-shop's Door: A History of Alcohol in the Islamic World came out in 2023. 

He is currently President of the Persian Heritage Foundation.

Shah ‘Abbas I: The Monarch, the Man, and the Myth

“The caliph Hâroon-oor Rasheed occupies the same place in the stories of the Arabians which Shah Abbas does among the Persians.” These words, written more than two centuries ago by Sir John Malcolm, Britain’s first ambassador to Iran, still ring true today. 
The legend of Shah Abbas goes back in part to contemporary European visitors, who, enjoying his hospitality and seduced by his apparent affection for Christianity, portrayed him as a monarch with a magnetic personality, as visionary as he was tolerant. His countrymen seemed to agree. A few years after the shah’s death in 1629, Iranians themselves already fondly remembered his reign as a golden age of good governance.
My presentation seeks to explain why even the Islamic Republic of Iran, allergic to the idea of monarchy, has not been able to erase the memory of the most formidable ruler of the Safavid dynasty as a wise, just, and forward-looking king, beloved by his people. Examining the man behind the monarch and the myth, it argues that  ‘Abbas inhabits the pantheon of Iran’s national heroes, on par with Cyrus the “Great,” because he had all the qualities of a strong ruler—one who strikes fear in the hearts of his subjects whenever necessary, and who shows clemency for his opponents whenever appropriate; who, in the immortal words of Ferdowsi, holds fire in one hand, water in the other, beh yek dast ātesh, beh yek dast āb.

The keynote lecture of Rudolph Matthee will be livestreamed via this link

22 August 2023 Keynote Lecture by Saloumeh Gholami

Venue: Lipsius Building, Room 019
Time: 19:00-20:00 hrs

Saloumeh Gholami is Professor of Minority Languages in the Middle East at the Institute for Empirical Linguistics at the Goethe University Frankfurt in Germany specialising in language documentation and research on Iranian languages and manuscript studies. She co-led the LOEWE research-Cluster "Minority Studies: Language and Identity", funded by the federal state of Hessen in Germany, and is project manager of the project "Kurds- between self-identification and external ascription". In addition to conducting dozens of international projects on various aspects of Iranian languages, she has authored a number of foundational studies on the linguistics of Iranian languages, including Bactrian, Zoroastrian Dari, Judeo-Iranian, Zazaki, Hawrami, and Literary Gorani.
In 2022 she won the Oxford School of Rare Jewish Languages Visiting Fellowship for a research stay at Oxford University.

Written Records of Zoroastrian Dari: A Journey through Time

In the realm of linguistic research, it has been observed that the majority of modern Iranian languages predominantly exist in spoken form, with little to no written evidence available for scholarly examination. Recent discoveries of written materials in Zoroastrian Dari, such as a collection of poems, a ceremonial text, and private letters, have presented new opportunities to investigate this historically significant language, which is posited to have been the antecedent vernacular language utilized in the region (Gholami 2021). This presentation will delve into the linguistic interaction and identity markers present in these texts. By examining instances of linguistic interference, such as lexical borrowings, phonetic shifts, and syntactic changes, we aim to shed light on the complex linguistic profile of these texts. Additionally, we will discuss identity markers that reflect the unique cultural and social aspects of Zoroastrian communities in Iran, including specialized vocabulary, religious references, and unique grammatical structures. The analysis of these texts not only enriches our understanding of the vernacular language of Zoroastrians but also highlights its cultural and linguistic significance in the broader Iranian linguistic context.

The keynote lecture of Professor Gholami will not be livestreamed. 

23 August 2023 Keynote Lecture by Pierfrancesco Callieri

Venue: Main Academy Building
Time: 14:30-15:30 hrs

Pierfrancesco Callieri is Professor of Archaeology of Ancient Iran at the University of Bologna, campus of Ravenna, where he has been Dean of the Faculty of Preservation of Cultural Heritage from 2009 to 2012. He has served as the President of the Societas Iranologica Europaea in the term 2015-2019. In 2017 he received the 8th Farabi International Award for Iranian and Islamic Studies. He is a member of ISMEO since 2012.

His main interests regard the archaeology of pre-Islamic Iran and Central Asia, from the Achaemenian to the Sasanian period, with a special stress in the results of the encounter between Hellenism and the cultures of the Iranian and Indian worlds. The geographical areas on which he has concentrated his field researches are on one side the Swat valley (Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, Pakistan), where in 1977 he began collaborating with the Italian Archaeological Mission of IsMEO in Swat directed by Domenico Faccenna and where in 1984 he started the excavations at the site of Barikot, the only historical inhabited settlement of the region attesting the whole sequence from the Iron age until the Islamic conquest, and on the other side Fars (Southern Iran).

In Iran since 2005, he is the Italian co-director of the Joint Iranian-Italian Archaeological Mission which has contributed with excavations at Tang-e Bolaghi (2005-2006), on the Tol-e Takht at Pasargadae (2006-2007) and Persepolis West (2008-2009). In 2011 the Joint Mission started excavating the early Achaemenid Gate of Tol-e Ajori, replica of the Babylonian Ishtar Gate, which demonstrates a Babylonian-inspired building phase in the area of Persepolis prior to the foundation of the imperial Terrace by Darius I.

He is author or editor of 10 monographs and more than 200 contributions in journals, collective volumes, and encyclopaedias.

Early Achaemenid Fars, a Crossroad of Cultures

The period that saw on the Iranian plateau the assertion of the supremacy of Persia in the second half of the 6th century BC was an era characterised by a mixing of heterogeneous cultural and ethnic realities. The architectural remains of this period were distinguished by C. Nylander with the term of “archaic” and  by D. Stronach as “Early Achaemenid” with a chronological significance, while E. Matin’s concept of “Early Achaemenid architectural style” extends the semantic field to include a broadly Mesopotamian origin as well as a tradition in architecture with traits of Ionian origin. In his study on Achaemenid kingship, G. Gnoli emphasised how the Mesopotamian component constituted a fundamental reference for the construction of the ideology of Persian kings: this view, however, did not appear to be confirmed until recently by artistic and architectural evidence, which attested to much closer links with Egypt or Ionia. The discovery near Persepolis of the Gate of Tol-e Ajori, a modified replica of the Ishtar Gate in Babylon, testifies to the adoption of typically Babylonian constructive devices, which are better understood if attributed to Babylonian craftsmen. If previously only philologists such as Gnoli pointed out the primary role of Babylonian culture in Persia, now Tol-e Ajori extends this presence in Persia from the sole refigurations of the fantastic beings of Pasargadae’s buildings to an entire monument.
The keynote lecture of Pierfrancesco Callieri will be livestreamed via this link

24 August 2023 Keynote Lecture by Julia Rubanovich

Venue: Lipsius Building, Room 019
Time: 19:00-20:00 hrs

Julia Rubanovich is Senior Lecturer of classical Persian literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is head of the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies; she also chairs the Iranian Studies Program within the department. Her research focuses on medieval Persian literature with an emphasis on epic poetry, including Shāhīn’s oeuvre in the Judeo-Persian language; on folk literature, notably prose dāstāns, and the problem of medieval orality; on the Alexander-Romance in the Islamic domain; and on literary paratexts and the concepts of authorship in connection with the notion of literary canon. Her publications include edited volumes Orality and Textuality in the Iranian World: Patterns of Interaction across the Centuries (Brill, 2015); Irano-Judaica VII: Studies Relating to Jewish Contacts with Persian Culture throughout the Ages (with G. Herman; Ben-Zvi Institute, 2019); Authorship in Mediaeval Arabic and Persian Literature. A special issue of the Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam (2019), as well as numerous articles. Her monograph The Biblical Tale of Judah and Tamar in Fourteenth-Century Iran: A Judeo-Persian Versified Account by Shāhīn is forthcoming at the Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (ÖAW).

The Hebrew Bible in Persian Verse: In Pursuit of the Choices and Challenges of a Medieval Jewish Poet

From the early medieval period onwards, Persian-speaking Jewish communities in Greater Iran engaged in their religious, intellectual, and cultural activities using the Judeo-Persian language. Recently, significant progress has been made in the linguistic and historical-philological research of early Judeo-Persian, thanks to the discovery of a substantial corpus of documents in northern Afghanistan, known as the “Afghan Genizah.” However, classical Judeo-Persian language and literature have received limited attention in both Iranian and Jewish studies. Spanning six centuries, from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century, Judeo-Persian literature flourished across various genres: Bible translations, exegetical literature (tafsīr), halakhic and midrashic works, historical chronicles, dictionaries, lyric poetry, transcriptions of classical Persian poetry, scientific treatises and, prominently, religious-epic narrative poems (mathnavī). The emergence of the latter is closely associated with the figure of Shāhīn (d. not earlier than 1358/9), who was active during the late Ilkhanid and early post-Mongol periods. While paraphrasing and reliant on the Hebrew Bible, Shāhīn makes ample use of Islamic accounts, predominantly derived from the qiṣaṣ al-anbiyāʾ genre, creating a unique fusion of Jewish and Perso-Islamic traditions. In this talk, I will look into Shāhīn’s poetic corpus, with a specific focus on his authorial intent, and will closely examine selected episodes from his last poem, Bereshit-nāma (Book of Genesis). By exploring the poet’s narrative and interpretative choices, my aim is twofold: first, to understand how he made Islamic material palatable to his fellow believers, and second, to investigate how he addressed the polemical nature that certain biblical episodes had acquired in Islamic anti-Jewish disputation literature. This analysis will provide valuable insights into the challenges that the Jewish poet encountered while navigating biblical themes within a Perso-Islamicate cultural and religious milieu. 

The keynote lecture of Julia Rubanovich will be livestreamed via this link

25 August 2023 Keynote Lecture by Touraj Atabaki

Professor Touraj Atabaki is a Senior Researcher at the International Institute of Social History. He is Professor Emeritus at Leiden University.

Touraj Atabaki coordinated number of projects, including “Social History of Labour in the Iranian Oil Industry 1908-2008” and “Practicing Modernisation in Turkey and Iran”.  He is also a participant in the international project of the Global Collaboratory on the “History of Labour Relations 1500-2000”. Touraj Atabaki is the founder of the Sadighi Research Fund and the Prince Dr Sabbar Farman-Farmaian Research Project. 

Venue: Main Academy Building
Time: 14:30-15:30 hrs

He served as: President of the Association of Iranian Studies, President of the European Society for Central Asian Studies, member  the Academic Board of the International Institute of Asian Studies, member of the Editorial Board of the Central Asian Survey.  And serves as a member of the Board of Consulting Editors of the International Labour and Working-Class History, member of the advisory Council of Journal of Iranian Studies.
Atabaki's fields of research encompass Social History of the Middle East, the former Soviet South, the Caucasus and Central Asia, Labour and Subaltern Studies, Migration and post-Colonial Historiography. His forthcoming publications include A Social History of Oil (London: Cambridge University Press) and Touraj Atabaki, Nasser Mohajer and Siavush Ranjbar-Daemi, The Left in Iran: Socialism and Communism through the Long Twentieth Century (London: Cambridge University Press).

Writing Social History of Modern Iran

The economic, social, cultural, and political dynamics in Iran have undergone significant changes since the constitutional movement in the mid-nineteenth century. These transformations have had far-reaching consequences, notably the emergence of a novel political culture aimed at redefining the Iranian identity. While economic and political changes and reforms have propelled the development of a modern state, they alone have proven inadequate in fostering a truly innovative identity. The construction of a collective historical narrative, particularly through the establishment of a territorial memory, has played a crucial role in shaping the nation's new identity. This shared identity, facilitated by the writing of national history, has become a compelling political endeavour seeking to unite the nation with its territory, establishing a substantial and uninterrupted link with the past, and bridging the gap between the origins of Iranians and their present reality.

The objective of this presentation is to illustrate the significance of social history in shaping the national history of Iran by giving voice to marginalized groups from various strata of society. These groups include labours, women, gendered communities, ethnic minorities, and religious factions. By highlighting the contributions of these subaltern agencies, social history provides a more comprehensive and inclusive understanding of the nation's past and present. Furthermore, this presentation sheds light on the transformative power of reclaiming the perspectives of marginalized groups and challenging conventional essentialist political narratives, ultimately contributing to a more nuanced portrayal of Iranian history and identity.

The keynote lecture of Touraj Atabaki will be livestreamed via this link

Award for a European PhD Thesis in Iranian Studies

At the occasion of ECIS 10, the Societas Iranologica Europaea will announce the awardees of the Fifth Round of the Award for a European PhD Thesis in Iranian Studies during the SIE General Assembly on Wednesday, 23 August.
With this award the Societas Iranologica Europaea recognizes outstanding theses in any field of Iranian Studies defended at European universities. The award is given every four years.


The ECIS 10 conference is organized in collaboration with:

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