About the Seminar العربية

The Seminar for Arabian Studies is the only annual international forum for the presentation of the latest academic research on the Arabian Peninsula. The subjects covered include archaeology, history, epigraphy, languages, literature, art, culture, ethnography, geography, etc. from the earliest times to the present day or, in the case of political and social history, to the end of the Ottoman Empire (1922).

The 2021 conference, the 54th Seminar for Arabian Studies, will take place on-line over the weekends of 2 – 4 and 9 – 11 July 2021 in collaboration with and supported by Casa Árabe, Cordoba. 

The Proceedings are always published in time for the conference the following year – a record for the publication of conference proceedings. The Proceedings for the 2019 Seminar are scheduled to be published in the summer of this year (2020).  Between 50 and 60 papers are presented each year, together with many posters. Over 200 scholars and students from countries throughout the world attend the Seminar each year. Interested members of the public are also very welcome.

Special Sessions

As well as the wide range of subjects covered in its main sessions, the Seminar also offers the opportunity for more detailed discussion of a particular area of research by invited speakers in a Special Session, lasting either half a day or a full day. The papers read at a Special Session will be considered for publication either in the Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies (PSAS) or in a separate volume as a Supplement to PSAS.

Past Special Sessions:

  • 2017: Languages, scripts and their uses in ancient North Arabia (published in a Supplement to PSAS 48, 2018).
  • 2016: Textiles and personal adornment in the Arabian Peninsula (published in PSAS 47, 2017).
  • 2013:     Languages of Southern Arabia (published in a Supplement to PSAS 44, 2014).
  • 2012: Museums in Arabia (not published).
  • 2011: The Nabataeans in Focus: Current archaeological research at Petra (published in a Supplement to PSAS 42, 2012).
  • 2009: The development of Arabic as a written language (published in a Supplement to PSAS 40, 2010).
  • 2007: Defining the Palaeolithic of Arabia (a summary of the discussion was published in PSAS 38, 2008 and it was developed in M D Petraglia and J I Rose (eds), The Evolution of Human Populations in Arabia, 2010)

Focus Sessions

These consist of at least four papers with the explicit purpose of promoting discussion on work currently in progress, the current state of scholarship on the topic, the application of new approaches, etc. Focus Sessions are held either within the main programme of the Seminar or separately in parallel with it.

Past Focus Sessions:

  • 2015:     Beyond the ‘Rose-red’ city: the hinterland of Petra and Nabataean rural sites (partly published in PSAS 46, 2016).
  • 2010:     Saudi Arabia (published in PSAS 41, 2011).
  • 2009:     Current Fieldwork in Qatar (published in PSAS 40, 2010).

Steering and Editorial Committee of the Seminar for Arabian Studies

Dr Julian Jansen van Rensburg (Chair, Assistant Editor)

Dr Robert Wilson (Treasurer), Ms Carolyn Perry (Secretary)

Dr Valentina Azzarà

Dr Knut Bretzke

Dr Orhan Elmaz (Assistant Editor)

Dr Arnulf Hausleiter

Dr Steffen Terp Laursen

Dr Harry Munt (Assistant Editor)

Dr Tim Power (Assistant Editor)

Prof Robert Carter

Dr Bleda Düring

Dr Nadia Durrani

Dr Steven Karacic

Dr Derek Kennet

Dr Jose Carvajal Lopez

Mr Michael C.A. Macdonald FBA

Dr Irene Rossi

Dr Janet Watson

Additional members of the Editorial Committee

Professor Alessandra Avanzini
Professor Soumyen Bandyopadhyay
Dr Ricardo Eichmann
Professor Clive Holes
Professor Khalil Al-Muaikel
Professor Daniel T. Potts
Professor Christian J. Robin

Dr Janet Starkey
Professor Lloyd Weeks

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