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Petra Sijpesteijn

Director LUCIS / Professor of Arabic

Name
Prof.dr. P.M. Sijpesteijn
Telephone
+31 71 527 2027
E-mail
p.m.sijpesteijn@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Petra Sijpesteijn is professor of Arabic. Her research concentrates on recovering the experiences of Muslims and non-Muslims living under Islamic rule, using the vast stores of radically under-used documents surviving from the early Islamic world. Starting in 2017, she manages an international research project entitled "Embedding Conquest: Naturalising Muslim Rule in the Early Islamic Empire (600-1000)", funded by the European Research Council. Since 2014, she has been director of the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam (LUCIS).

More information about Petra Sijpesteijn

Office hours for students

Tuesdays from 11.00-12.00 hours during term

Research

Petra Sijpesteijn's research concentrates on recovering the experiences of Muslims and non-Muslims living under Islamic rule, using the vast stores of radically under-used documents surviving from the early Islamic world. Starting from Islam’s crucial first centuries, Petra's work explores the many, varied expressions of Islam from its formation up to the present day.

Looking at the transition from the pre-Islamic Byzantine system and its Egyptian variant to an Arab/Muslim state, she examines the extent to which the Arabs built on the ancient societies that preceded them and the innovations they introduced. Recently she has extended this interest to the dynamic historical processes underlying the transition from a conquest society to a lasting Muslim polity in other areas of the Muslim Empire, especially the Iberian peninsula and Central Asia.

Aiming to understand the diversity and unity of the Muslim Empire and its culture, Petra also works on global interactions and the networks that extended from the Mediterranean into Southeast Asia in the pre-modern world, and how the Middle East functioned within them. From material culture and archaeology to theological texts, she is interested in how people, objects and ideas travelled throughout this vast area and the changes they brought about.

Videos



Projects

In 2017, Petra Sijpesteijn has started an ERC Consolidator Grant project Embedding Conquest: Naturalising Muslim Rule in the Early Islamic Empire (600-1000) which aims to incorporate all available documents reflecting Muslim rule from the first 400 years of Islam, to reconstruct the system of social relations that enabled the crucial transition from a conquest society to a political organism that survived the breakdown of central caliphal control, and remains the region’s benchmark model today. Read more about this project (in Dutch). 

In her earlier ERC Starting Grant project, The Formation of Islam. The view from below (2009-2015) and the monograph that resulted from it, she focused on the history of the formation of Islam and spread after the Arab conquests of the mid-seventh century, using the vastly important but largely neglected papyri from Egypt. 

She is also involved in a collaborative international research project entitled Provinces and Empires: Islamic Egypt in the Ancient World

Teaching activities

Recent courses include the following:

CV

Petra Sijpesteijn studied history and Arabic at Leiden University (MA), the University of Damascus, Cambridge University, Cornell University, and Princeton University (MA, PhD), where she defended her dissertation in Near Eastern Studies in 2004, being awarded the department’s annual prize for best thesis. She was a junior research fellow in Oriental Studies at Christ Church, Oxford (2003-2007), before moving to the CNRS in Paris as a chargée de recherche. In 2007 she was awarded a Starter’s Grant from the European Research Council (ERC).

In 2008 she was appointed full professor on the chair of Arabic language and culture at Leiden University. She was the founding president of the International Society for Arabic Papyrology (2001-2014) and the Andrew H. Mellon research fellow in the papyrus digitisation and cataloguing project at the Austrian National Library (2013-2014). She has held visiting professorships at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences-Sociales (EHESS), Paris, University College London Qatar, and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt. Since 2016 she has been a member of the International Association of Papyrologists.

Since 2014 Petra Sijpesteijn has been director of the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (LUCIS). She regularly appears in the media and participates in public debates to talk about Islamic history and current affairs in the Muslim world.

Key publications

With A.T. Schubert (eds.), Documents and the History of the Early Islamic World. Leiden: Brill, 2014.

Shaping a Muslim State. The World of a Mid-Eighth-Century Egyptian OfficialOxford University Press, 2013.

Why Arabic? Leiden University Press, 2012.

With R. Margariti and A. Sabra (eds.), Histories of the Middle East. Studies in Middle Eastern Society, Economy and Law in Honor of A.L. Udovitch. Leiden: Brill, 2010.

In the media (Dutch)

Boerka en Baard, OVT (VPRO), NPO Radi0 1, 11 December 2016.

Radio-interview with Coen Verbraak in De Kennis van Nu (NTR), NPO Radio 1, 6 December 2015.

Wat is een kalifaat en welke rol speelt de jihad daarin?, De Kennis van Nu (NTR), NPO Radio 5, 19 November 2015.

"Vragen over oude Koranfragmenten". Interview met Dirk Vlasblom in NRC Handelsblad, 31 July 2014.

Islam en Nobelprijzen, Labyrint (VPRO/NTR), NPO Radio 1, February 2013.

"Geen idee wat de islam is", De Volkskrant, 23 January 2010.

"Papyri belichten begintijd islam", Trouw, 9 April 2009.

"Mohammed op snippers", NRC Handelsblad, 4 April 2009.

Director LUCIS / Professor of Arabic

  • Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SMES APT

Work address

Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 4
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 1.08a

Contact

  • Sandwijk A.M. van & Sijpesteijn P.M. (26 May 2018), Misbruikverdachte Tariq Ramadan is een overschat moslimboegbeeld. Trouw.article in magazine/newspaper
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (11 April 2018), Soennieten en sjiieten zijn vergeten wat hen bindt. Trouw, Religie en filosofie.article in magazine/newspaper
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2018), Member of editorial staff Al-Masaq. Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean 30(1: Special Issue: Hair in the Mediaeval Muslim World).editorship of journal
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2018), Beards, Braids and Moustachios: Exploring the Social Meaning of Hair in the Mediaeval Muslim World, Al-Masaq: Journal of the Medieval Mediterranean 30(1): 4-8.article in journal: refereed
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2018), Shaving Hair and Beards in Early Islamic Egypt: Muslim Innovation or Universal Punishment?, Al-Masaq: Journal of the Medieval Mediterranean 30(1): 9-25.article in journal: refereed
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (24 November 2017), Een taboe nog groter dan slavernij. Leiden Islam Blog. Leiden: LUCIS [blog entry].other
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (18 November 2017), Maar professor, de islam kent geen slavernij!. Trouw, Religie en filosofie.article in magazine/newspaper
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (28 July 2017), Kopten, christenen en moslims in Egypte. Kopten, christenen en moslims in Egypte: IsGeschiedenis [blog entry].other
  • Berkel M.L.M. van, Buskens L.P.H.M. & Sijpesteijn P.M. (Eds.) (2017), Legal Documents as Sources for the History of Muslim Societies: Studies in Honour of Rudolph Peters. Leiden: Brill.editorship of book
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (19 January 2017), Alle moslims gooien bommen. Leiden Islam Blog. Leiden: Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (LUCIS) [blog entry].other
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2017), Alle moslims gooien bommen. In: Geels M., Opijnen T. van (eds.) (Eds.) Waar verzet jij je tegen?.: Maven Publishing.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2017), Delegation of Judicial Power in Abbasid Egypt. In: Berkel M.L.M. van, Buskens L.P.H.M., Sijpesteijn P.M. (Eds.) Legal Documents as Sources for the History of Muslim Societies: Studies in Honour of Rudolph Peters. Leiden: Brill.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2017), Eeuwig Egypte, RMO magazine. Uitgave van de vriendenvereniging van het Rijksmuseum van Oudheden 18(43): 23.article in magazine/newspaper
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2017), Review of: Diem W. (2015) Fürsprachebriefe in der arabisch-islamischen Welt des 8.-14. Jahrhunderts: Eine sozial- und entalitätsgeschichtliche Untersuchung, Arabische Literatur und Rhetorik — Elfhundert bis Achtzehnhundert (ALEA), Bibliotheca Orientalis LXXIV(1-2): 200-205.book review
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2017), The rise and fall of empires in the Islamic Mediterranean (600-1600 CE): political change, the economy and material culture. In: Hodos T. (Ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Archaeology and Globalization. Routledge Handbooks: Routledge.book chapter
  • Berger M.S., Otto J.M., Sandwijk A.M. van & Sijpesteijn P.M. (14 October 2016), Oproep aan de media: meer nuance in het islamdebat. Leiden Islam Blog. Leiden: Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (LUCIS) [blog entry].other
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (27 September 2016), “Islam kent geen slavernij!”. Leiden Islam Blog. Leiden: Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (LUCIS) [blog entry].other
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (22 January 2016), Het succes van het vroeg-Islamitische Rijk. Leiden Islam Blog. Leiden: Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (LUCIS) [blog entry].other
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2016), Cat. 9. Letter. P.PalauRib. inv. 1007 Barcelona: IEMed. [catalog]other
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2015), A Ḥadīth Fragment on Papyrus, Der Islam: Journal of the History and Culture of the Middle East 92(2): 321-331.article in journal: refereed
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2015), Islam. In: Ein Gott. Augsburg: Staatliche Museum zu Berlin and Michael Imhof Verlag. 38-43.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2015), The Wisdom of the Arabs: 400 Years of Cross-Cultural Interaction. In: Sijpesteijn P.M., Montgomery J.E., Gelder G.J. van (Eds.) Wit and Wisdom in Classical Arabic Literature. Leiden Lectures on Arabic Language and Culture. Leiden: Leiden University Press. 11-34.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M, Montgomery J.E. & Gelder G.J. van (2015), Wit and Wisdom in Classical Arabic Literature. Leiden Lectures on Arabic Language and Culture. Leiden: Leiden University Press.book
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (11 November 2014), Don Quichot en het kalifaat (II): voer voor satire. Leiden Islam Blog. Leiden: Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (LUCIS) [blog entry].other
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2014), An Early Umayyad Papyrus Invitation for the Ḥajj, Journal of Near Eastern Studies 73: 179-190.article in journal: refereed
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2014), Ein Buch und sein Widerhall; Zum Gebrauch des Korans im 7.-10. Jahrhundert in Ägypten. In: Lange A., Palme P. (Eds.) Kinder Abrahams. Die Bibel in Judentum, Christentum und Islam. Nilus. Studien zur Kultur Ägyptens und des Vorderen Orients no. 21 Vienna: Phoibos Verlag. 47-60.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2014), Financial Troubles: A Mamluk Petition. In: Franklin A.E., Margariti R.E., Rustow M., Simonsohn U. (Eds.) Jews, Christians and Muslims in Medieval and Early Modern Times. A Festschrift in Honor of Mark R. Cohen. Christians and Jews in Muslim Societies no. 2 Leiden: Brill. 352-366.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2014), Financial Troubles: A Mamluk Petition. In: Franklin A., Margariti R., Rustow M., Simonsohn U. (Eds.) Jews, Christians and Muslims in Medieval and Early Modern Times. A Festschrift in Honor of Mark R. Cohen. Christians and Jews in Muslim Societies no. 2 Leiden: E.J. Brill. 352-366.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2014), Locating Arabic Papyrology: Fiscal politics in medieval Egypt as a test-case for setting disciplinary boundaries and standards, The Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 51: 217-228.article in journal: refereed
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2014), Making the Private Public: a Delivery of Palestinian Oil in Third/Ninth-Century Egypt, Studia Orientalia Electronica 2: 74-91.article in journal: refereed
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2013), 400 years of Arabic Studies at Leiden University. In: Boetje J., Ommen K. van, Sijpesteijn P.M., Smit C., Vliet-Leigh K. van, Vrolijk A. (Eds.) Walking Guide to Islamic Leiden. Leiden: E.J. Brill. 11-23.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2013), Shaping a Muslim State: The World of a Mid-Eighth-Century Egyptian Official. Oxford: Oxford University Press.book
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2013), Review of: Mejcher-Atassi S., Schwartz J.P. (2012) Archives, Museums and COllecting Practice in the Modern Arab World., Journal of Archival Organization 11: 1-3.book review
  • Boetje J., Ommen K. van, Sijpesteijn P.M., Smit C., Vliet-Leigh K. van & Vrolijk A. (2013), Walking Guide to Islamic Leiden. Leiden: E.J. Brill.book
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2012), An Arabic Land Lease from Ṭuṭūn. In: Ast R., Cuvigny H., Hickey, T. (Eds.) Papyrological Texts in Honor of Roger S. Bagnall. no. 53 Durham NC: American Society of Papyrologists. 101-106.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2012), Coptic and Arabic Papyri from Deir al-Balā’izah. In: Schubert P. (Ed.) Actes du 26e Congrès international de papyrologie (Genève 2010). Geneva: Droz. 707-714.conference paper
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2012), Nessana. In: Wiley-Blackwell's Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Oxford.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2012), Seals and Papyri from Early Islamic Egypt. In: Regulski I, Duistermaat K, Verkinderen P (Eds.) Seals and Sealing Practices in the Near East. Developments in Administration and Magic from Prehistory to the Islamic Period. Louvain: Peeters. 171-182.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2012), Review of: MacCoull L. (2009) Coptic Legal Documents. Law as Vernacular Text and Experience in Late Antique Egypt, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies: Arizona Studies in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Early Medieval Europe 24(1): 483-485.book review
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2012), Taking Care of the Weak An Arabic Papyrus from the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam. In: Minutoli D. (Ed.) Inediti offerti a Rosario Pintaudi per il 65° compleanno (P.Pintaudi). Florence: Edizioni Gonnelli. 289-294.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2012), Why Arabic?. Leiden: Leiden University Press.book
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. & Flinterman W (2011), Alle wegen leiden naar Bagdad, Geschiedenis Magazine 46(4): 32-36.article in magazine/newspaper
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2011), Army Economics: An Early Papyrus Letter Related to ‘Aṭā’ Payments. In: Margarati R., Sabra A., Sijpesteijn P.M. (Eds.) Histories of the Middle East Studies in Middle Eastern Society, Economy and Law in Honor of A.L. Udovitch. Leiden: E. J. Brill. 245-268.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2011), Building an Egyptian Identity. In: Ahmed A Q., Bonner M., Sadeghi B. (Eds.) The Islamic Scholarly Tradion: Studies in History, Law, and Thought in Honor of Professor Michael Allen Cook. Leiden: E. J. Brill. 85-106.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2011), Historical Diversity in Islam. In: Otto J. M., Mason H. (Eds.) Delicate Debates on Islam. Policymakers and Academics Speaking with Each Other. Leiden: Leiden University Press. 53-60.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M., Margariti R. & Sabra A. (Eds.) (2011), Studies in the Social and Economic History of the Medieval Middle East. Essays in Honor of A.L. Udovitch. Leiden: Brill.editorship of book
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2011), Une nouvelle lettre de Qurra b. Šarīk. P.Sorb. inv. 2345, Annales Islamologiques 45: 257-267.article in journal: refereed
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2010), Akhmim. In: Encyclopaedia of Islam 3. Leiden: E.J. Brill. 56-58.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2010), Arabic-Greek Archives. In: Papaconstantinou A. (Ed.) The Multilingual Experience in Egypt, from the Ptolemies to the 'Abbasids. Burlington: Ashgate. 105-126.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2010), Baqt. In: Encyclopaedia of Islam 3. Leiden: E.J. Brill.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2010), Barabra. In: Encyclopaedia of Islam 3. Leiden: E.J. Brill.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2010), De woestijn als archief. Sporen van de vroege islam in papyri, Geschiedenis Magazine .article in magazine/newspaper
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2010), Hijra. In: Wiley-Blackwell's Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Oxford.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2010), Muhammad. In: Wiley-Blackwell's Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Oxford.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2010), North American Papyrus Collections Revisited, Al-Bardiyyat 1: 5-18.article in journal: refereed
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2010), Quran. In: Wiley-Blackwell's Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Oxford.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2009), A Mid-Eighth-Century Trilingual Tax Demand to a Bawit Monk. In: Boud'hors A., Clackson J., Louis C, Sijpesteijn P.M. (Eds.) The Administration of Monastic Estates in Late Antique and Early Islamic Egypt. Oxford. 102-119.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2009), Arabic Papyri and Islamic Egypt. In: Bagnall R.S. (Ed.) Oxford Handbook of Papyrology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 452-472.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2009), Landholding Patterns in Early Islamic Egypt, Journal of Agrarian Change (9): 120-133.article in journal: refereed
  • Sijpesteijn P.M., Boud’hors A., Clackson J. & Louis C. (Eds.) (2009), Monastic Estates in Late Antique and Early Islamic Egypt: Ostraca, Papyri, and Studies in Honour of Sarah Clackson. Durham, NC: The American Society of Papyrologists.editorship of book
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2008), A Seventh/Eighth-Century List of Companions from Fustat. In: Muhs B., Hogendijk C. (Eds.) Sixty-Five Papyrological Texts Presented to Klaas A. Worp on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday. Leiden: E.J. Brill. 369-377.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2007), A Curious Arabic Talisman. In: Vrolijk A., Hogendijk P. (Eds.) O Ye Gentlemen: Arabic Studies on Science and Literary Culture in Honour of Remke Kruk.. Leiden: E.J. Brill. 201-210.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2007), Arabic Papyri from Current Excavations in Egypt, Al-Bardiyyat (2): 10-23.article in journal: refereed
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2007), Creating a Muslim State: The Collection and Meaning of Sadaqa. In: Palme B. (Ed.) Akten des 23. internatinalen Papyrologenkongresses Wien, 22.-28. Juli 2001. Vienna. 661-674.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2007), New Rule over Old Structures: Egypt after the Muslim Conquest. In: Crawford H. (Ed.) Regime Change in the Ancient Near East and Egypt: From Sargon of Agade to the Seljuks. Proceedings of the British Academy. London: British Academy Publications. 183-202.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2007), Palaeography. In: Versteegh C. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics: 3. Leiden: E.J. Brill. 513-524.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2007), Review of: Abu Safiyah J. (2004) Bardiyyāt Qurra b. Sharīk, Al-Bardiyyat 2: 30-31.book review
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2007), The Arab Conquest of Egypt and the Beginning of Muslim Rule. In: Bagnall R.S. (Ed.) Byzantine Egypt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 437-459.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M., Sundelin L., Torallas Tovar S. & Zomeno A. (Eds.) (2006), From al-Andalus to Khurasan: Documents from the Medieval Muslim World. Leiden: E.J. Brill.editorship of book
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2006), The Archival Mind in Early Islamic Egypt: Two Arabic Papyri. In: Sijpesteijn P.M., Sundelin L., Torallas Tovar S., Zomeno A. (Eds.) From al-Andalus to Khurasan: Documents from the Medieval Muslim World. Leiden: E.J. Brill. 163-187.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2006), Veroveren met verhalen. In: Hoftijzer P., Van Ommen K., Witkam J.J. (Eds.) Bronnen en Kennis. Leiden: Scaliger Institute Publications. 17-22.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M., Oates J.F. & Kaplony A. (2005), Checklist of Editions of Arabic Papyri, The Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 42: 127-166.article in journal: refereed
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2005), Graven naar geschiedenis in vuilnisbelten’Omslag, Omslag. Bulletin van de Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden en het Scaliger Instituut : 10-11.article in magazine/newspaper
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2004), A Request to Buy Silk from Early Islamic Egypt. In: Harrauer H., Pintaudi R. (Eds.) Gedenkschrift Ulrike Horak. Papyrologica Florentina XXXIV. Florence: Edizioni Gonelli. 255-272.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. & Sundelin L. (Eds.) (2004), Papyrology and the History of Early Islamic Egypt. Leiden: E. J. Brill.editorship of book
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2004), Travel and Trade on the River. In: Sijpesteijn P.M., Sundelin L. (Eds.) Papyrology and the History of Early Islamic Egypt.. Leiden: E.J. Brill. 115-152.book chapter
  • Sijpesteijn P.M. (2001), Profit Following Responsibility: A Leaf from the Records of a Third-Century Tax-Collecting Agent. With an Appended Checklist of Editions of Arabic Papyri, Journal of Juristic Papyrology 31: 91-132.article in journal: refereed
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