The Hijaz in modern Saudi Arabia is today widely recognised as the home of the two holiest cities in the Islamic world, Mecca and Medina, which are a destination for pilgrims from across the globe. This paper will discuss the emergence of this region as the Islamic world's holy land, with particular discussion of the case of Medina during the early Islamic centuries. It will show that Medina's emergence as a holy city alongside Mecca and the development of many of the doctrines associated with its sanctity were the result of gradual and contested processes which were closely linked to questions of political and religious authority in the early Islamic world.
Harry Munt is a lecturer in medieval history. Before joining the department in 2014 he was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Oriental Studies and Wolfson College at the University of Oxford. His research and teaching focuses on the history of the Islamic world, ca. 600-1500. In particular, he works on the history of the Arabian Peninsula in the early Islamic centuries, Islamic holy cities and pilgrimage, and Arabic history-writing in the medieval period.
A light lunch will be served.
Talk location: Breedlove Conference Room (349 Rubenstein)