Abstract Prof. Dr. Kurt Franz
“ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURES, CONCEPTS, APPROACHES, AND COMPARISONS”
Nov. 27-29, 2014, Universität Hamburg
“Tribes Regions, and the Early Islamic Empire”
The early Islamic empire, just like its successor states too, needed to cope with mobile tribal groups in ways substantially different from dealings with the urban and rural populations. This regards notably the former’s political organization through tribalism, their cultural (self-) identification through Bedouinism, and the socio-economic mode of life that is nomadism. As contemporary sources however usually merge these three scopes of social life, my talk will focus on those who fall under all of these characteristics, i.e. the mostly steppe-dwelling Bedouin.
I will first survey the administrative techniques and institutions that specifically sprang from the state’s encounter with the Bedouins. It will then be argued that a spatial-history approach is particularly suitable to conceive the workings of governance in the long run. This pertains in particular to the way how territory was referred to as an organizing principle of governance over tribal populations, undergoing profound historical changes. I shall trace the sequence of territorialization, de- and re-territorialization processes and second outline the basic types of encounter between state and Bedouins until the twentieth century, of course with a focus on the Umayyad to Seljuqid periods.