Water & the urban/rural nexus in the medieval Islamic world (Conference)

Wednesday 29 March 2023 until Friday 31 March 2023Add to my calendar
Elinor Ostrom Building, Room 01.180 (Radboud University)
Modelling the Links between Urban Populations, Agricultural Hinterlands and Water Supply

This interdisciplinary meeting aims to explore different methodological approaches which illuminate the relationships that enmeshed urban centres and their surrounding rural hinterlands within the medieval Islamic world. A particular focus is the key role played by water—in both expanding and increasing agricultural outputs through irrigation and, conversely, constraining possible land use strategies during periods of climatic stress. Various categories of evidence offer the potential to shed light on these questions including qualitative descriptions and quantitative data extracted from historical texts, evidence from archaeological excavations and surveys, palaeo-environmental reconstructions, remote sensing data and evidence from climatic proxies. In bringing together social, environmental and economic historians, archaeologists, climatologists, historical geographers and specialists in hydrology and soil science, this conference will provide a venue to compare the different ways in which cities shaped their rural hinterlands—and vice versa—as well as how these relationships fluctuated over time. In exploring diverse case studies drawn from across the medieval Islamic world, this meeting will allow both broad trends and specific divergences in the nexus between urban populations, rural hinterlands and the supply and management of water to be identified and interrogated.


Please register by sending an e-mail to