HomeThe Middle East and Europe: cross-cultural, diplomatic and economic exchanges in the early modern period (1500-1820)

HomeThe Middle East and Europe: cross-cultural, diplomatic and economic exchanges in the early modern period (1500-1820)

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Published on Wednesday, February 22, 2017


This conference is an international symposium that proposes to study the entire range of exchanges and relations established between these two areas during the Early Modern Times (1500-1820). Its main objective is to think about diplomatic, economic, religious and cultural links between Europe and the Middle East by calling upon over twenty researchers with specializations in the Arab, Persian and Muslim world. In addition, this conference will provide a comprehensive overview to date of the Arabian Gulf at a time of major political change, including the successive arrival of the European “trading empires”. It will focus on some of the methodological challenges raised by a global, connected and cross-cultural thinking approach to the History of the Middle East and Europe”.


Project description

By calling upon different specialists, the aim of this international conference is to focus on some of the methodological challenges raised by a global, connected and cross-cultural thinking approach to the History of the Middle-East. So, this conference proposes to study the entire range of exchanges and relations established between Europe and the Arabian and Persian Middle East during the Early Modern Times (1500-1820). The privileged space will be less political – Ottoman Empire and Safavid Empire – than geographical and economic: the « three Arabias » (Felix Arabia, Deserta Arabia and Petrae Arabia); from the Mediterranean Levant to the Gulf or Khaliji spaces, both Persian and Arabian word to qualify the Gulf (khalij); the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, marked out by European factories, from Moka to Ormuz through Aden and Muscat up to the commercial trading posts in the West Indies. R.J Barendse refers to this entire maritime area as the « Arabian seas » (The Arabian seas. The Indian Ocean World of the Seventeenth Century) joined by the emergence of a world-economy.

The outskirts of the Ottoman and Safavid Empires, the Arabias and the khaliji spaces aroused increasing interest by the Europeans. The European presence in these areas – that of the Portuguese, English, Dutch, French, and German – had continually intensified and diversified before gradually withdrawing in the second half of the 19th century. So the purpose of this conference is to study different patterns of contacts, circulations and exchanges between Europe and the Middle-East during the Early Modern Times. The evolving relations between Europe and the Middle East will be studied around the following three axes: trade and diplomacy, culture and religion, the representation and the public imagination of otherness in the East and the West.


Saturday, 4 March 2017

  • 18:30: Official opening of the exhibition at the PSUAD Library with M. Ahmed Obaid Al Mansoori, founder of the Crossroads of civilizations museum in Dubai.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Morning: PSUAD (Robert de Sorbon Amphitheater)

9-9:25: Opening of the conference

I- Diplomatic relations and commercial trade

Session chairman: HE. Frank MOLLEN, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UAE.

Connected history in the Gulf

  • 9:25-9:50: “Diplomatic exchanges in the Orient at the end of the 15th century: Venice and the Hord of the White Sheep” by Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Crouzet-Pavan (Paris IV – Sorbonne University, CRM – Centre Roland Mousnier)
  • 9:50-10:15: “Pepper and Horses: Portuguese Economic Policy in the Gulf according the Pareceres de Baçora (1547-1548)” by Dr. Habil. Dejanirah Couto (EPHE,chair of « Methods in History of the Portuguese World »)
  • 10:15-10:40: “German "Lettres persanes"?: Reports of the First Diplomatic Contacts between Safavid Persia and the Holy Roman Empire in the 16th and 17th Centuries”by Dr. Indravati Félicité (Associate Professor – Paris-Diderot University – ICT)

Coffee Break: 10:40 – 11:00

  • 11:00-11:25: “Diplomatic relations between the Shah of Persia and Louis XIV” by Prof. Dr. Lucien Bély (Paris IV – Sorbonne University, CRM)
  • 11:25-11:50: “Piracy, Arab tribes and European rivalry in the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean during the 18th century”, by Dr. Sghaier Noureddine,(Associate Professor and Head of History and Islamic Culture department – University of Sharjah)
  • 11:50-12:15: “London versus British India in West Asia in the early 19th century: Revisiting John Malcolm and Harford Brydjes Jones’s missions at the court of Persia” by Dr. Guillemette Crouzet (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva)

Discussion 12h15-12h30

Lunch Break at the National Archives (NCDR): 12h50-14h00.

Afternoon: National Center for Documentation and Resarch(National Archives in Abu Dhabi)

Session chairman: Dr. Habil. Dejanirah Couto (EPHE, chair of « Methods in History of the Portuguese World »)

Connected history in the Arabian Seas

  • 14:00-14:25: “The cosmopolitan dāw of the Arabian Sea: the English East India records and other writings” by Prof. Dr. Dionisius Agius, (Exeter University, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies).
  • 14:25-14:50: “Muscat under the Yaruba dynasty of Imams and European rivalries in the Arabian seas (1650-1718)” by Dr. Yann Rodier (Assistant professor, PSUAD - CRM).
  • 14:50-15:15: “Louis XIV and the Red Sea” by Prof. Dr. Géraud Poumarède,(Bordeaux Montaigne University – CEMCC Centre d'Études des Mondes Moderne et Contemporain).

Coffee Break: 15:15 – 15:30

Connected history in the Levant

  • 15:30-15:55: “Connecting in court: Non-conflictual encounters between European merchants and Ottomans in the Aleppo qadi court (17th-18th century)” by Dr. Maurits van den Boogert(Brill Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands Interuniversity School for Islamic Studies - NISIS).
  • 15:55-16:20: “Being a Western Ambassador at the Ottoman Court. François Savary de Brèves and French Commercial Diplomacy in the Eastern Mediterranean at Late-Sixteenth and Early-Seventeenth Century” by Prof. Dr. Viorel PANAITE (Bucharest University, Institute of South East European Studies of the Romanian Academy)

16:20-16:30: Discussion

16:30-17:30 Guided tour of the exhibition (NCDR)

Monday, 6 March 2017

Morning: PSUAD (Robert de Sorbon Amphitheater)

II- Cultural exchanges and knowledge brokers in early modern Europe scholarship.

Session chairman: Prof. Dr. Denis Crouzet, Paris-Sorbonne University, Director of the Centre Roland Mousnier & the IRCOM.

Islam and Arabic in European scholarship

  • 9:00-9:25: “Islam and the Arabs in the Catholic scholarship (17th c.)” by Prof. Dr. Bernard Heyberger (EHESS, Director of the Institut d’Etudes de l’Islam et des Sociétés du monde Musulman (IISMM)
  • 9:25-9:50: “Arabic as language of the Bible in the Catholic scholarship (17th c.)” by Dr. Aurélien Girard (Associate Professor – University of Reims, Centre d’Études et de Recherche en Histoire Culturelle (CERHIC)
  • 9:50-10:15: “The Hajj in early modern European scholarship and religious debates (1600-1800)” by Dr. Richard van Leeuwen (Lecturer in Islamic studies at the department of Religious Studies, University of Amsterdam)
  • 10:15-10:40: “Travellers in Disguise – Conversions and Krypto-Conversions to Islam among European Travellers between 1800-1850” by Dr. Jan Loop (Senior Lecturer, University of Kent – Humanities Senior Research Fellowship at the New-York University Abu Dhabi).

10:40 – 11:00: Coffee Break

Knowledge brokers between the Middle East and Europe

  • 11:00-11:25: “From the outskirts of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Felix Arabia: archaeologists-travellers and the discovery of the Arabian heritage (16-18th c.)”, by Dr. Ingrid Périssé (Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi – Head of Department of Archaeology and History of Arts – HISOMA)
  • 11:25-11:50: “Knowledge Brokers/Beggar Princes. Travellers from Mount Lebanon in the German Principalities (1727-1790)” by Tobias Mörike (PhD candidate at the Gotha Research Centre for the History of knowledge, University of Erfurt)
  • 11:50-12:15: “A German explorer of Arabia as knowledge broker in a transnational context: Ulrich Jaspar Seetzen’s contribution to oriental scholarship in the early 19th century” by Dr. Clarisse Roche(Paris-Sorbonne University – CRM).

12:15-12:30: Discussion

12:30-14: Lunch Break (PSUAD)

Afternoon: PSUAD (Robert de Sorbon Amphitheater)

Session chairman: Mr. Vital RAMBAUD, Associate Professor, Head of the French Studies Dep., PSUAD.

III- Oriental and Occidental Otherness: portraying the Other

  • 14:00-14:25: “Cosmopolitan Misreadings. Camōes and the 'Perfume of the East'” by Dr. Paulo Lemos Horta (Associate Professor, New-York University Abu Dhabi)
  • 14:25-14:50: “Explorers and travellers in the southern Arabian peninsula (Oman and UAE)” byProf. Dr. Eric Fouache (Vice-Chancellor of Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, UMR ENeC 8185)
  • 14:50-15:15: “The Polish traveller Waclaw Rzewuski and his outlook on the Arabia and Bedouins (1817-1819)”, by Dr. Hana Subhi (Translator and Associate Professor, PSUAD)

15:15 – 15:30: Coffee Break

  • 15:30-15:55: “Iconography of early modern fortifications on the Arabian coast: a survey of the Portuguese 'Livros de Fortalezas' ('Books of Fortresses')” by Prof. Dr. Rui Manuel Loureiro (CHAM Centro de Historia d’Aquéme d’Além Mar - Portuguese Centre for Global History, Lisbon)
  • 15:55-16:20: “Connected artworks’ place in the museum rooms devoted to the early modern period at the Louvre Abu Dhabi” by Olivia Bourrat (Curatorial Deputy Director and Curator of Early Modern Art, Louvre Abu Dhabi) and Souraya Noujaim (Curator in charge of Islamic Arts, Louvre Abu Dhabi)

16:00 – 16:30: Conclusions and final discussions

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Tour of the Louvre Abu Dhabi for the guest speakers by Olivia BOURRAT & Souraya NOUJAIM


This international conference will be partly financially and academically supported by the University of Paris-Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, the LABEX EHNE (Ecrire une nouvelle histoire de l’Europe), the Centre Roland Mousnier (CRM) linked with the Paris-Sorbonne University, the National Archives in Abu Dhabi (NCDR), the Institut culturel français, the Lycée français Louis Massignon and the Alliance française in Abu Dhabi.

  • Clarisse Roche (Associate member of the Centre Roland Mousnier - Paris-Sorbonne University)
  • Yann Rodier (PSUAD - Associate Professor and Head of History Department)


  • National Archives in Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi National Hotel Building, 8th Street, Airport Road
    Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates


  • Saturday, March 04, 2017
  • Sunday, March 05, 2017
  • Monday, March 06, 2017
  • Tuesday, March 07, 2017


  • histoire connectée, diplomatie, économie, culture, religion


  • Yann Rodier
    courriel : yann [dot] rodier [at] psuad [dot] ac [dot] ae
  • Clarisse Roche
    courriel : clarisse [dot] roche [at] paris-sorbonne [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Yann Rodier
    courriel : yann [dot] rodier [at] psuad [dot] ac [dot] ae


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« The Middle East and Europe: cross-cultural, diplomatic and economic exchanges in the early modern period (1500-1820) », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, February 22, 2017, https://doi.org/10.58079/x0o

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