Presented by Silsila at New York University, tune in Wednesday, October 7th for a lecture by François-Xavier Fauvelle (Collège de France). “Broker States & the Articulation of Medieval Africa with the Islamic World” will be the second lecture in Silsila’s Fall 2020 lectures series, Islam in Africa: Material Histories. Registration is required. Please click here to register.
The interconnection between several regions of Sub-Saharan Africa with the rest of the medieval oecumene is now a well-established fact. However, the multiple forms of these interconnections remain to be carefully studied. Based on his own experience of discovering several Ethiopian Muslim cities from the Middle Ages, including the capital of the sultanate of Ifât, as well as comparisons with medieval Northwest and East Africa, Fauvelle observes that many African polities of the time had their capital on ecological thresholds. Hence it is suggested that such counter-intuitive environments may explain both how these “broker states” functioned as commercial interfaces with the Islamicate world and why many once-famous sites still remain elusive to the researchers.
François-Xavier Fauvelle, is an Africanist historian and archaeologist, and Professor at the Collège de France. He was the coordinator of several historical and archaeological research programs in Ethiopia, and for the last ten years has been leading the French-Moroccan program of excavations at Sijilmâsa, an Islamic medieval city in Morocco. He is the author of around 150 academic articles, and the author or editor of around 20 books, including The Golden Rhinoceros: Histories of the African Middle Ages (Princeton University Press, 2018).
Silsila: Center for Material Histories is an NYU center dedicated to material histories of the Islamicate world. Each semester we hold a thematic series of lectures and workshops, which are open to the public.