Prose, Polity and Land Tenure in al-Baladhuri's *Futuh al-Buldan*
Dr. Chase Robinson (President of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York )
June 16, 2016, 6:30 pm, Universität Hamburg, Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1, AS-Saal, 20146 Hamburg
This lecture focusses on the Futuh al-Buldan, by Aḥmad b. Yaḥyā al-Balādhūrī (d. c. 892 CE) , a source that has been mined for conquest material since the early 10th century (by Muslim historians) and the early 19th century (by Orientalists). Nevertheless, relatively little has been said about its composition, organization and reception. Is the Futuh a work of history, administration or law? In his lecture, Dr. Robinson assembles relevant evidence and proposes some provisional conclusions about why it was written and how it should be read.
Dr. Chase F. Robinson is President of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, the doctorate-granting institution of the nation’s largest university. Dr. Robinson, a historian of the premodern Middle East, is also Distinguished Professor of History.
From 2008 through June 2013, he served as Provost and Senior Vice President of the Graduate Center. In this capacity, Dr. Robinson led a comprehensive planning process culminating in the GC’s Strategic Plan for 2012-2016, outlining the institution’s major goals. Dr. Robinson also worked with the Office of Institutional Advancement to secure major funding to enhance faculty support, helped establish the Graduate Center at the forefront of the digital evolution within higher education, expanded the Master’s of Liberal Studies program, and launched major initiatives, such as the Initiative for the Theoretical Sciences, the CUNY Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context, and the Advanced Research Collaborative.
Dr. Robinson received an A.B. (Honors) from Brown University, having also studied at the American University in Cairo, the University of Cairo, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1992, he earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, where he was awarded a Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. In 1993 he joined the Faculty of Oriental Studies and Wolfson College, Oxford, where he taught until 2008. From 1999 to 2000 he was a member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and in 2005 he received a two-year British Academy Research Readership.
As Chairman of the Faculty Board of Oriental Studies at Oxford, Robinson put in place the department’s first academic plan, broadened its scope in terms of development and external relations, and forged new relationships with international donors as well as academic institutions in the Middle East.
A specialist in early Islamic history, Robinson is the author or editor of seven books and more than forty articles. He also serves on a number of editorial and review boards, and his commentaries have appeared in Inside Higher Education, the Huffington Post, the (London) Times Higher Education Supplement, and Radio 5 in the UK.