CALIPHATES | Knowledge and Power



Directors: Patrice Cressier (CIHAM-UMR 5648, Lyon)
Maribel Fierro (ILC, CSIC, Madrid)
Financed by the Casa de Velázquez and the CSIC


While the study of the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates has been approached from different perspectives, there has not been the same interest for the caliphates established in the Islamic West (North Africa and al-Andalus) both regarding each specific case and their comparative analysis. This project aims at exploring mostly the last aspect, taking advantage of the expertise of researchers who have previously dealt with the subject or related subjects and who have approached them from diverse disciplines (archaealogy, art, historical anthropology, history, philology, theology).

There are four axes of research:

  1. dynamics of assimilation and differentiation from the point of view of artistic and iconographic, as well as symbolic, political and religious manifestations
  2. local/global dynamics
  3. Islamic political thought
  4. possible impact outside the Islamic world (Castille, Sicily).

Two Seminars will be organized and a Congress on Umayyads and Fatimids. A monographic section will be published in a journal with a non-specialist readership.


  • 2015, Friday November 6. Seminar “Los califatos del Occidente islámico: problemas y perspectivas”. Casa de Velázquez.
  • 2016 April: members of the team participate in the Curso de Formación Continua – Universidad Autónoma de Madrid Los califatos, desde los sucesores de Muhammad hasta el Estado islámico, directed by C. Ayala, S. Palacios and J. Albarrán.
  • 2016, June 20. Seminar.
  • 2016, September 23-25: International Colloquium “Comparing Contemporary Califates: Fatimids and Umayyads” in collaboration with the Institute of Ismaili Studies (London), CIHAM-UMR 5648 (Lyon), and UMR 8167 (Paris).



  • 2015: Diogo Bercito, A paper caliphate. Understanding the Islamic State through its documents, Trabajo Fin de Máster, dir. M. Fierro, Máster en Estudios Árabes e Islámicos Contemporáneos-UAM, Course 2014-2015.
  • 2015: Alba Arroyo Herrero, Introducción al estudio de la obra del cadí Nuʿmān (s. IV/X), al-Manāqib wa-l-Maṯālib, Trabajo Fin de Grado, dir. M. A. Manzano and M. Fierro, Universidad de Salamanca, September 2015.