Inaugural Lecture with Prof. Richard Bulliet

Recorded October 27, 2022:

“From Ancient Seaport to Medieval Crossroads: One Era Passes, Another Begins”

A lecture by:

Richard Bulliet

Professor Emeritus, Middle Eastern History

Columbia University

This is the inaugural lecture for the Circle for Late Antique and Medieval Studies, which seeks to engage scholars working on the late antique and medieval periods of Eurasia and Afro-Asia in an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural dialogue.

Prof. Bulliet’s lecture will focus on the degree of continuity between late antique and the medieval period and across geographies. The transportation infrastructure of the southern portion of the antique world shifted from maritime trade and liquid cargoes to camel caravans and dry cargoes. This shift signaled the passage from Late Antiquity to Medieval times. The chronology of the shift correlates with the geographic spread of one-humped camel herding, which accelerated after the Arab conquests.

Richard W. Bulliet is Emeritus Professor of History at Columbia University. His publications concentrate on the history of Islam (Islam: The View from the Edge and Cotton, Climate, and Camels in Early Islamic Iran) and the history of premodern transportation (The Camel and the Wheel and The Wheel: Inventions and Reinventions). He is also the lead author of the eighth edition of a world history textbook (The Earth and Its Peoples) now in preparation. During his career at Columbia, he directed The Middle East Institute for twelve years and taught Middle East History, History of Technology, and History of Domestic Animals.

John Torpey, Presidential Professor of History and Sociology and Director of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, will give a short introduction.

The Circle is convened by Parvaneh Pourshariati, Associate Professor of History at the New York City of College of Technology, CUNY.

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