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CSI'S Monday Majlis: Steven Judd

The Umayyad Problem in Arabic History/Historiography

The CSI Monday Majlis is a Monday evening, online event, where invited speakers present on aspects of their current research.

Event details

Dear Colleagues,
We’d like to invite you to the next online Monday Majlis of the Centre for the Study of Islam, Exeter:
Monday Majlis on the 22nd of May, 17:00-18:30 (UK time)
Steven Judd, The Umayyad Problem in Arabic History/Historiography

Registration is required. Register please on this link:

The Umayyad period is crucial for understanding the creation and spread of a new Arabo-Islamic political, economic, and religious society. Under the Umayyads, the unified Islamic empire reached its territorial peak, Arabic became the new lingua franca, and the basic religious tenets of Islam were articulated.
Despite its importance, the Umayyad period presents historians with seemingly insurmountable historiographical challenges. The Umayyads did not write their own history, their more prolific Abbasid successors present an often biased and distorted image of their Umayyad foes, and outside sources are sparse, offering little helpful corroboration or interpretation.
This talk examines how modern historians have confronted these difficulties and how their assorted approaches may have exacerbated the difficulties infusing the sources rather than providing clarity. I will ultimately consider whether or not our historiographical dilemmas are in fact exaggerated.


Steven Judd, Ph.D. (1997), University of Michigan, is Professor of Middle East History at Southern Connecticut State University. His publications include: Religious Scholars and the Umayyads: Piety-Minded Supporters of the Marwānid Caliphate (Routledge, 2013) and Abd al-Raḥmān b. ‘Amr al-Awzā‘ī, (Oneworld, 2019).

In the spirit of the label ‘Majlis’ and also to make the talks even more interesting, we are experimenting with a new format presenting the topic discussed by our speaker as embedded in their own research journey. Please come and enjoy the talks and the discussions. If you’d like to be included in the CSI (Centre for the Study of Islam (Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter) mailing list, please contact the CSI Manager: Sarah Wood (
We’ll be happy to welcome you!