'The Bakt Treaty in the Sudanese Context: An International Conference Commemorating its 1400th Anniversary'
Sponsoring venue: International University of Africa (http://www.iua.edu.sd) Khartoum, Sudan.
Conference Dates: October 31- November 5, 2009. Deadline for abstract submission: October 1, 2009.
The Bakt (or Baqt) Treaty, signed in 652CE (32 Hijri) by the leader of the Muslim army and the Nubian King of Makuria in the Sudan, is historically considered the backbone of the peaceful legacy of Islam in the Sudan. The treaty, which is unanimously perceived by historians as a non-aggression agreement between the conquering Muslim army and the indigenous Nubian kingdom, also impacted the legal and social development of many other Sudanese kingdoms such as the Funj dynasty and the Fur Sultanates among others. The Bakt Treaty is to some extent, the longest lasting treaty in history; it lasted for more than six hundred years. It emerged after seven chaotic years of conflict between the two entities. This is evident in how some Muslim historians described the Nubian people as canny warriors, intelligent, and their fighters as ‘devastating combatants and un-conquerable fighters.’
The Bakt Treaty, therefore, offers the modern nation of Sudan both a historical reference point and a legal framework for unity and co-existence. Firstly, it opened a new chapter in the imagination of Muslim jurisprudence because it classified the land of the Nubian people outside that of the traditional binary scope of the House of Islam and the House of War. Secondly, it crafted a new status for the Nubian people in which they exercised their own rights and maintained their own communal obligations while, at the same time, the treaty outlined how the Muslim caliphate in Egypt should respect the customs and independence of what was known as ‘dar annuba’—the land of the Nuba. Thirdly, interpreting the very act of using slaves in exchange of good and commodity has remained problematic in the eyes of modern historians and social scientists.
The end of this current Muslim calendar will commemorate the 1400th anniversary of the Bakt Treaty. This crucial epoch in the history of the Sudan will also witness the unfolding of vital chapters in the contemporary political development of the country including presidential elections; the search for
national unity; a durable peace treaty between the many constituent elements of this nation; and an upcoming referendum on self-determination in the southern part of this country. This series of events inspires a search for a common historical reference point, or even a precedent case, that could help the country mend its differences and meet its rising challenges by understanding the historical and cultural roots of the Sudanese nation. Revisiting the meaning of the Bakt Treaty through studying its textual content and historical context will contribute to this vitally-important process.
In this respect, the International University of Africa calls scholars, researchers and those who are stakeholders in the development of Sudan to participate in this international conference. We hope to offer participants a platform for intellectual deliberation, vigorous scholarship and substantial conversation that could contribute to building Sudan and help its people move forward to a more positive and constructive co-existence and unity.
The following are some general themes for papers, conversation and deliberation. Participants are invited to choose from these or any other topics that they see as fitting the spirit and scope of the conference:
• The Nature and Context of the Bakt Treaty
• The Bakt Treaty and its Regional Implications in Egypt, Ethiopia and Nuba Land
• Deconstructing the Bakt Treaty and its Vocabulary: the Bakt, Islamic Conquest, the House of Islam and the House of War
• The Bakt Treaty and Similar Treaties in global history
• The Bakt Treaty and the Rise of Christianity in the Region
• Is the Bakt Treaty Relevant in the Post- September 11 Era?
• The Bakt Treaty in Historical Context
• The Bakt Treaty as a Model for Nation-Building in the Sudan and Africa
• Modern Sudan/ Muslim Societies and the Reality of the Bakt Treaty: A Case Study
• Legal, Political and Religious Implications of the Bakt Treaty
• Revisiting the Bakt Treaty: A Modern Viewpoint
• The Bakt Treaty in the Sudanese Political Memory
• Solving the Problem of the South Using the Bakt Treaty as a Framework
• Any other related topic is welcome.
The Conference Committee invites participants to submit a maximum of 150-word abstract of their papers. The conference will be held at the International University of Africa (http://www.iua.edu.sd) Khartoum, Sudan from October 31, 2009 to November 5, 2009. Lodging, food and transportation will be provided free of charge to all participants; and presented papers will be published in an especial volume by the International University of Africa Press. Arabic, English and French versions are all accepted, and deadline to submit abstracts or papers is October 1, 2009.
For abstract submission or any questions, please contact the conference committee at the following address:
Fax: (249) 13998992
Tel.: (249) 909010970
Professor Hassan Mekki Ahmad, PhD
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