01 May 2024

Leiden Summer school on Philology and Manuscripts from the Muslim World

This summer school is for graduate (MA and PhD) students and researchers who have an interest in handwritten materials, editing, and the tradition of editing in the Muslim world. It offers theoretical lectures as well as hands-on practice with samples from the world-famous collections of the Leiden University Library.

Over the course of two weeks, specialists from Leiden University and beyond will provide theoretical instruction on issues of editing, paleography, conservation and other material aspects of oriental manuscripts. They will also speak about philology, literacy and orality and the transmission of knowledge in the Islamic manuscript culture, presenting case-studies from various parts of the Muslim world. Participants can use this information to practice their skills in producing a sample critical edition of a manuscript of their choice, under the supervision of experts. The course programme will  be published in spring.

Since the first contributions of scholars such as Scaliger, Golius and Warner, the Leiden University Library has housed one of the most important collections of oriental manuscripts in Europe. It includes thousands of Arabic, Persian and Ottoman manuscripts, not only from the historic heartlands of Islam but also from Asia, al-Andalus and Africa. Each participant will have full access to this collection as well as other library services.  


In order to lower the accomodation costs the university has already reserved a number of rooms at a location close to the university library, most accepted students will be able to stay in one of these rooms for around 65~ euros a night (in addition to the tuition cost)

About the instructors

Prof. dr Gabrielle van den Berg teaches with exceptional enthusiasm on the cultural history of Central Asia and Iran at Leiden University. She works on the Persian manuscript tradition, in particular the Shahnama tradition, in the framework of several research projects.

Dr Dorrit van Dalen’s research is based on manuscripts from West and Central Africa. She has also written on the cultural history of a crucial ingredient of ink, gum Arabic. She created and co-edits Mouse&Manuscript. 

Dr Renate Dekker has expert knowledge of Coptic manuscripts and ostraca of Leiden University, which she uses to get a grip on the history of Egypt in the first centuries of Islam, from the Coptic point of view. She is now part of the project Lived Time in Late Antique Egypt at the University of Amsterdam.

Dr Said Reza Huseini research as a Fellow at King’s College, Cambridge focuses on the forging of political ideologies. His dissertation investigated the Early Islamic Conquests of Bactria/Tukharistan by studying Bactrian, Arabic, Sogdian and Middle Persian documents. He is also a gifted calligrapher.

Angela Isoldi is completing a dissertation at Radboud University (Nijmegen) on water management in Mamluk Cairo. In the past years she has studied dozens of waqf documents. She passes her knowledge of them onwards, with much insight in the field of manuscript studies.  

Prof. dr Arianna D’Ottone Rambach is professor of Arabic Language and Literature at Sapienza University of Rome. She teaches palaeography and codicology. She is one of the scholars who have disclosed the collection of the Qubbat al-Khazna in Damascus, and is also interested in Islamic art, coins and papyri. 

Dr Kate Pukhovaia, Marie Curie fellow in Leiden and assistant professor at Utrecht University, is a much acclaimed investigator of state-building under Ottoman rule and of the strategies of the Zaydi imamate that succeeded in ruling Yemen’s extremely complex society for centuries. Leiden manuscripts are among her most important sources. 

Dr Marijn van Putten is a leading scholar on the history of the readings of the earliest Qur’ans. He teaches in Leiden and is head of the research programme The Canonisation of the Quranic Traditions. His work is inspired by rare knowledge of the intricacies of very early versions of the Arabic script. 
D. Karin Scheper is book conservator at Leiden University Libraries and author of the award winning The Islamic Bookbinding Tradition.

Prof. dr Petra Sijpesteijn is professor of Arabic at Leiden University.  Her research focuses on the early Islamic conquest. Papyri are her favourite source. The lives and motivations of ordinary people are her favourite theme, to share knowledge widely is one of her own main motivations.  

Dr Elke Spiessens conducted highly original research amongst the Uyghurs in China and in the diaspora. She is specifically interested in Islamic knowledge transmission amongst the Uyghurs, including the rich Uyghur manuscript tradition.

Dr. Arnoud Vrolijk is Curator of Oriental Manuscripts & Rare Books and Interpres Legati Warneriani at Leiden University Libraries. He has published extensively on the Leiden collections and the history of oriental scholarship in the Netherlands. 

For more info check : Philology and Manuscripts from the Muslim World - Leiden University (universiteitleiden.nl)