Call for papers (ESHS 2024): Regulating Life with the Seasons: Seasonal Knowledge and Practices in Pre-Modern Islamicate Societies

The objective of this panel is to analyse the substantial impact of seasonal fluctuations on the lives of people in pre-modern Islamicate societies and landscapes, particularly through the lens of intellectual history. The transition from one season to another has played a pivotal role in shaping various aspects of society, including food availability, economic regulations, travel, clothing, and military strategies. Moreover, it has influenced the timing of cultural events like religious gatherings and rituals. This panel seeks to highlight the importance of combining history of science with social, cultural, and environmental studies to gain a comprehensive understanding of the patterns for seasonal activities, such as agricultural tasks, regulation of healthy and available food and drinks, and planning land and sea voyages. It also acknowledges the crucial role of seasonality in organisation of labour, economic policies, and taxation systems in agrarian societies within various regions. This acknowledgement contributes to clarifying the connection between these aspects and the professional efforts for creating and standardising calendars, challenging the prevailing idea of the separation between scientific and commonplace approaches to the natural world. Recent research has unveiled changes in how people responded to seasonal variations over time, despite relatively stable environmental conditions. Our interdisciplinary approach encourages scholars from diverse fields to present case studies that illuminate seasonality in the pre-modern Islamicate world, offering fresh insights.

A fundamental theme in this research revolves around the examination of seasonal dietary habits and consumption patterns, taking into consideration the so-called humoral knowledge and how lifestyles adjusted throughout the year in response to environmental-medical beliefs. This panel is eager to emphasise the need for a holistic approach that combines textual and material archaeology with ethnographic analysis to better comprehend the seasonal habits of people in the surveyed regions. It aims to provide a deeper knowledge of how seasonality is perceived and represented, moving beyond the observable changes in astronomical and weather conditions to delve into cultural perspectives.

Please submit your paper proposals, including a title, a 150-word abstract, and a brief biography by December 10, 2023, to

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