Conference 'Scholarly Personae in the History of Orientalism, 1870-1930'

On January 28-29 2016 the research project ‘The Scholarly Self: character, habit, and virtue in the humanities, 1860-1930’ and the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (LUCIS) will organize a conference about scholarly personae in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Orientalism.

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century traditional “armchair philologists” were increasingly challenged by scholars emphasizing the study of realia (economics, politics, religion, material culture) who often stressed the importance of visiting their areas of interest as well.

How have the idea and reality of “being an Oriental scholar” changed in tandem with this emergence of new research questions and dissociation from strictly philological methods. What new kinds of standards or ideals of scholarship came in their place? How different were the competences or dispositions that Orientalists in 1930 were expected to display from templates of “professionalism” cultivated around 1870? What were the virtues and skills demanded from those considering a career in Orientalist studies and how did such expectations vary across time, place, and discipline?

This conference brings together specialists in the history of different disciplines – Arabic Studies, Sinology and Indology amongst others – to inquire whether a focus on scholarly personae can offer alternative to both biographical case studies and institutional histories of the sort that have long been dominating the history of Orientalism.

Date: Thursday 28 and Friday 29 January 2016
Venue: P.N. van Eyckhof 1, Ground Floor, Room 003C

Program and registration

If you want to attend the conference, please register at

Last Modified: 22-12-2016