Intensive Course on Arabic Papyrology
Princeton, New Jersey (USA) August 21-25, 2017

Thanks to a number of generous grants from the David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project, the Near Eastern Studies Department at Princeton University has organized a series of short, intensive courses for graduate students on a variety of subjects in the broad field of Islamic studies not normally covered in the Princeton curriculum.  In each case, an internationally-recognized expert has been brought in to teach the course over a period of five weekdays.

This year, we plan to offer such a course on Arabic papyrology.

The course will take place at the end of the summer, starting on Monday August 21, and ending on Friday, August 25, 2017. The course is intended primarily for graduate students, both from Princeton and from other universities; applicants should be proficient in reading Arabic.

The instructor will be Professor Petra Sijpesteijn of Leiden University, a leading expert in the study of Arabic papyri.  Professor Sijpesteijn will lecture about a topic in the morning and have students work with original texts themselves in the afternoon under her direction.  Copies of early Islamic documents will be used as primary sources to study the early history and societies of the Islamic world. The documents will be complemented with readings from narrative sources, to show how the documents can confirm, disagree with and change our view of early Muslim society as presented in the narrative sources. Working with reproductions of original Arabic papyrus documents, students will be taught the basic technical skills to read and edit papyri. They will also be acquainted with using papyri for writing history. In the class Arabic, Greek, Coptic papyri will be used to instruct students on writing history on the basis of documentary evidence and secondly to familiarize them with the many facets of the medieval Muslim world with its many ethnicities, cultures, religions and languages through encounters with daily life as expressed in the documents. 

(link is external)

Application process and deadlines

Applications must be emailed to Judy Schedneck ( at the Near Eastern Studies Department at Princeton University by March 17, 2017. The subject line of the email should read, “Application for Arabic Papyrology Workshop.” Applications should comprise the following:

  • Letter of application with statement of interest
  • CV
  • Names, positions, and email addresses of two referees

All items should be included in a single attachment, which may be a pdf.

Successful applicants will be notified in mid-April 2017 and students accepted for the course but coming from outside of Princeton will receive partial scholarships to help defray travel and accommodation costs.  The course itself is free.

Information about previous courses.