Joud Nassan Agha
The starting point of my research project, titled “The urban space and the communal use of buildings in Islamicate al-Andalus, 8th-11th centuries.” is focused on the urban space in al-Andalus, which - after the Islamic conquest – came to be an important element for the establishment of a transformation from late and post-Roman to an Islamicate society with new social, economic and religious institutions. Communal spaces and their perception in the literary sources serve to document this transcultural process across the peninsula to analyze emerging Islamicate al-Andalus . During the imperial phase and rule of the Umayyad amīrs and caliphs (8th to 11th centuries), public buildings were either directly commissioned by the governor or the ruler or by various sections of the elite. I will examine the meaning of the term ‘communal’ in many aspects; which types of buildings could be defined as communal buildings? What kind of services did they offer? Who had access to them? In order to answer these questions, categories such as city and neighborhood gates, defensive and quarter walls, mosques, forts, roads, bridges, and drinking fountains, will be examined. The aim of my study is to explore the concept and transformation of urban communal space in the Islamicate societies and to present its importance for the social, economic and religious development of the society. What fundamental transformation takes place to the ancient city, and why? What do these structures tell us about Andalusi society? Their relations with power, their rhythm of construction, the forms they have taken, and their influences on the relationship between the central power and the population. I will be working with textual and material sources to conduct my project.
Joud Nassan Agha studied Archeology at the University of Aleppo and gained her bachelor’s degree in 2012 with an extensive knowledge in diverse domains of Middle Eastern and Islamic culture. Her archeological studies have covered the epochs from 4000 B.C. until the modern Islamic period and included geographical regions such as Levante and Mesopotamia. She obtained her master’s degree in Islamic Studies at the University of Hamburg in 2021. In her master’s thesis, titled "Awqāf im osmanischen Aleppo", she combined both of her academic interests and conducted a research at the intersection of archeology and Islamic studies: she compared the influence of two founders of Islamic endowments in Aleppo during the Ottoman period, demonstrating how their activities had an influence on the urban economy, architecture and education. Her master’s degree has allowed her to deepen her knowledge of Islamic history from the early to the modern Islamic period, as it helped her to develop her academic personality from different perspectives. Currently, she is a Research Assistant at the DFG Center for Advanced Study "RomanIslam - Center for Comparative Empire and Transcultural Studies.