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Local and imperial rule. Theoretical approaches and concepts

  • Jürgen Paul
Wednesday 9 November 2016
LUCIS scholar Jürgen Paul
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
Lipsius 235b

In the masterclass, Jürgen Paul will discuss the khidma relationship. Khidma is the term for a relationship between a lord and his servant. The servant can be part of the lordly household, but does not have to. At the same time, khidma denotes a set of ceremonies, forms of entering such a relationship. Khidma also is a term for the presence of the lord and his immediate entourage. In his latest research, Jürgen Paul has shown that khidma was widespread in the later Seljuq period; it also was current earlier and later. The relationship created between lord and servant can usefully be compared to relations of servitude and bondage within the patrimonial household on the one hand and to “feudal” relations on the other.

About Jürgen Paul

Jürgen Paul, born 1949 in northern Germany, studied French and Russian in Hamburg and taught these languages at school. Later he started studying Arabic and Islamic History. He took his PhD with Albrecht Noth at Hamburg in 1989, worked for a while at the Orient-Institut at Istanbul, and completed his habilitation in 1993. From 1995 to 2013, he served as a professor for Islamic Studies at Halle. After retirement, he came back to Hamburg. Research interests: History of medieval Iran and Central Asia; local rule and local rulers; nomad-sedentary relations.

Reading list

Roy Mottahedeh, Loyalty and leadership in an early Islamic society, 2nd edition, London (Tauris) 2001 (first published 1980), 40-96.

Jürgen Paul, “Khidma in the Social History of pre-Mongol Iran”, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 57.3 (2014), 390-420.

Textual example (for an oath of fealty): Bahāᵓ al-Dīn Baġdādī, al-Tawassul ilā l-tarassul, ed. Bahmanyār, Tehran 1315, 139ff; German translation J. Paul, Lokale und imperiale Herrschaft im Iran des 12. Jahrhunderts. Herrschaftspraxis und Konzepte, Wiesbaden (Reichert) 2016, 311-4.


Advanced undergraduate students, graduate students and PhD students from Leiden University are invited to register. Applicants should send a document consisting of a short bio of approx. 250 words, detailing your education and (if applicable) publications and research activities, as well as a short motivational letter of approx. 350 words describing why you wish to attend this masterclass. Applications must be send to lucis@hum.leidenuniv.nl. Applications can be send until Thursday 3 November 2016.


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