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Trans-Saharan Exchange and the Global Medieval Symposium

Trans-Saharan Exchange and the Global Medieval: Visual and Cultural Studies Research at the Crossroads of Disciplines and Regions

This event is generously supported by the Myers Foundations and the Department of Art History at Northwestern University


9:30 am – 10:00 am Welcome

10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Panel 1: Crossroads: Art history and Archaeology

Suzanne Blier (Harvard University), “A Coptic Presence in the Medieval West Africa Trade? Evidence and Further Questions”                                                                             

Abidemi Babatunde Babalola (University of Cambridge, UK), “Ile-Ife in the Medieval Exchange: On "the glass bead road" in Early West Africa”

Sam Nixon (British Museum, UK), “Dots on a map: investigating the nature of early trans-Saharan towns from Morocco to Mali”

Sarah Guérin (University of Pennsylvania), “Gold work: Techniques, Exchange, and Conscience between Art History and Archaeology”                                                                         

Moderator: Marc Walton (Northwestern University) 
12:30 pm – 2:00 pm Lunch

2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Panel 2: Crossroads: Islamic Studies and West African Studies

Ulrike al-Khamis (Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, Canada), “Beyond the canon: Islamic art and Africa”

Michelle Apotsos (Williams College), “Spaces on the Edge: Rethinking West African Islamic Architecture Then and Now”

Abdallah Fili (Université d’El Jadida, Morocco), “Potentialités locales des villes marocaines médiévales au service du commerce transsaharien, l’exemple de Sijilmassa”

Mauro Nobili (University of Illinois), "The Southern Factor in the Development of the West African Tradition of Islamic Learning, c.1000-1500"

Moderator: Christina Normore (Northwestern University)   

5:30 pm

Keynote, Susan Keech McIntosh (Rice University), "Trans-Saharan connections and the global turn in Africa:  A history in fragments"

Moderator: Kathleen Bickford Berzock (The Block Museum of Art)

Event Registration

Separate registration is required for keynote speaker at 5:30 pm.

Keynote registration

For information about public transportation to campus, click here.

For parking information, click here.


Image credit: Dinar of al-Mustans ïr Billaˉh (r. 1036–1094 ce), issued AH 461, struck at Mis ̇r (Cairo). Gold, diameter 22 mm. Bank al-Maghrib, Rabat, Morocco, 521508. Photograph by Fouad Mahdaoui.

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