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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1999-2000 Annual Report

Individual Scholarship


Alexandrine Guérin

Granted a Fulbright, Alexandrine Guérin spent the academic year at the Oriental Institute as an Islamic archaeologist and colleague of Donald Whitcomb. Her research continued from her dissertation on "Settlement Patterns and Territory in Syria during the Islamic Period" (Lyon, 1998). She spent much of her time writing articles and preparing the final manuscript of her dissertation for publication by the Institut français des études arabes de Damas.

She presented her research on southern Syria, where she lived and worked for seven years, at the Antiquity and Late Byzantine Workshop in November 1999 in a paper on the Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic Site of Msayke. She also published "Some Features of Village Architecture: Transition from Antiquity to Islam" in Al-`Usur al-Wasta, Bulletin of Middle East Medievalists in October 1999. The Journal of Near Eastern Studies has accepted an article for publication in which she gives an account of the fiscality and territory situations during the end of the sixteenth century by linking textual sources (fiscal Ottoman registers) with geographical and archaeological data. She suggested a new interpretation of the organization of territories in "Interprétation d'un registre fiscal ottoman: Les territoires de la Syrie méridionale en 1005/1596-97." An ethnoarchaeological study to define the settlement of tribes in Laja, "Architecture villageoise et tribu nomade: Définition d'un peuplement dans le Laja, la période Islamique-Syrie méridionale," was accepted for publication in Berytus (American University of Beirut).

In addition to writing about Southern Syria, Alexandrine has studied the relationship between Damascus and its hinterland. She translated a biographical sketch recorded by Ibn Asakir concerning the fitna/sedition of Damascus (176-177/792-794). This source allowed her to examine spatial organizations that reflect social and political dynamics between Damascus and its nomad neighbors (forthcoming: "Acte du colloque: Syrian Cities and Change," IFEAD, IFAPO, and GREMO, Damascus 1999; "Les territoires de la ville de Damas: La période abbasside"). The historical analysis is thus enriched with an archaeological approach that takes inspiration from geography, topography, toponymy, and ethnoarchaeology. Alexandrine will return to the field 1-12 August 2000 to do preliminary survey work on an aspect of Damascus' defenses during the end of the eighth century - the oasis of Damascus, consisting of gardens and villages that belong to the Yaman or Qay tribes (44 villages).

Alexandrine will continue her studies of the Islamic city by participating in the Hadir Qinnasrin project, directed by Donald Whitcomb, 15 August-1 October 2000. She has also planned research in Qatar, studying the Islamic material excavated by Danish (1950s) and French expeditions (1980s) in Murwab.

Revised: July 30, 2007

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