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REMIO Guest Lecture: Medieval Afghanistan and the Religious Diversity in the Dar al-Islam


CERES Palais, room "Ruhrpott" (4.13)

REMIO Guest Lecture by Arezou Azad (University of Birmingham, UK)

The lands in present-day Afghanistan, before the arrival of Islam, enjoyed a distinct religious mix of Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Christians, Jews, and adherents to local cults who cohabited single spaces. These societies flourished in large urban centres, as well as rural metropolises and small towns. Diversity was, no doubt, a function of being situated at a crossroads of the so-called "silk road" trade networks, which doubled as pilgrimage routes.

Religious diversity, together with the linguistic and ethnic mix in the region during the transition to Islamic rule in the eastern Islamic caliphate and its Muslim successor dynasties, may account for a particular conversion pattern in new Islamic Afghanistan. The lecture will discuss some new approaches to studying the religious history of medieval Afghanistan and introduce a fascinating corpus of local histories and documentary records that will be used to ascertain the patterns of conversion after the Islamic conquests and how conversion to Islam has been remembered in Afghanistan and the Persianate world.

The lecture series is sponsored by the RUB Research School and CERES.