Historian Baker Presents on Medieval Sectarianism in Islamic World

Posted on 12/1/2015 7:25:11 PM

Christine Baker Christine Baker attended the international Middle East Studies Association Conference and presented a paper titled “Remembering the ‘Shi’i Century’: The Fatimids, Buyids, ‘Abbasids, and local reactions to Tenth-Century ‘Sectarianism’.”

In the 10th century, two Shi'i states, the Fatimids (909–1171) and Buyids (945–1055(, took over much of the Islamic world. This period is remembered in Islamic historiography as the Shi’i Century and is considered a time of intense sectarianism.

Baker’s paper, however, challenged the notion that the Shi’i Century gave birth to an era of sectarian conflict in Islam.  Instead, she argued that there was no unified 10th-century Sunni response to the rise of these two Shi'i dynasties.

This paper accomplished this task by examining contemporary—10th century—Sunni responses to the rise of the Fatimids and the Buyids, and then contrasting them with portrayals of this period dating to the 11th century and later. 

Baker also organized the panel she presented on “Challenging ‘Abbasid dominance: The ‘other’ Islamic powers of the medieval Islamic world” with Eric Hanne, associate professor of history at Florida Atlantic University.

Department of History