Workshop on the Imamate traditions in South Arabia

A workshop was held at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at Bergen on 22 November 2016, with the topic “Islamic governance in South Arabia: The imamate in Yemen and Oman”. The workshop, held in conjunction with the USPPIP project, focused on the ideas of the imam in the traditions of Zaydi Yemen and Ibadi Oman.

Imamates, or caliphates, existed in South Arabia until the 1950s and early 1960s, in the form of a Zaydi Shi’i imamate in Yemen and an isolated Ibadi imamate in Oman. Both traditions left strong traces in the legal structure and court system of the two states. While the differences between the imamate in Zaydism and Ibadism are decisive, similarities have never been the focus of a comprehensive study. The workshop focused on various aspects of governement in a historical and Islamic legal perspective. It consisted of presentations on Oman and Ibadism by PhD candidate Olga Andriyanova (Université de Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne / BULAC) and post doc Anna Rita Coppola (Università di Rome La Sapienza) as well as Eirik Hovden (researcher, University of Bergen) on the Zaydi imamate.