The Seminar for Arabian Studies is the only annual international forum for the presentation of the latest academic research on the Arabian Peninsula. The subjects covered include archaeology, history, epigraphy, languages, literature, art, culture, ethnography, geography, etc. from the earliest times to the present day or, in the case of political and social history, to the end of the Ottoman Empire (1922).
Its three-day conference is held each July at the British Museum (though the 2017 and 2018 Seminars will take place in early August) and the Proceedings are always published in time for the conference the following year – a record for the publication of conference proceedings. Between 50 and 60 papers are presented each year, together with many posters. Over 200 scholars and students from countries throughout the world attend the Seminar each year. Interested members of the public are also very welcome.
As well as the wide range of subjects covered in its main sessions, the Seminar also offers the opportunity for more detailed discussion of a particular area of research by invited speakers in a Special Session, lasting either half a day or a full day. The papers read at a Special Session will be considered for publication either in the Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies (PSAS) or in a separate volume as a Supplement to PSAS.
Past Special Sessions:
- 2007: Defining the Palaeolithic of Arabia (a summary of the discussion was published in PSAS 38, 2008 and it was developed in M D Petraglia and J I Rose (eds), The Evolution of Human Populations in Arabia, 2010)
- 2009: The development of Arabic as a written language (published in a Supplement to PSAS 40, 2010).
- 2011: The Nabataeans in Focus: Current archaeological research at Petra (published in a Supplement to PSAS 42, 2012).
- 2012: Museums in Arabia (not published).
- 2013: Languages of Southern Arabia (published in a Supplement to PSAS 44, 2014).
- 2016: Textiles and personal adornment in the Arabian Peninsula (published in PSAS 47, 2017).
- 2017: Languages, scripts and their uses in ancient North Arabia (to be published in a Supplement to PSAS 48, 2018).
These consist of at least four papers with the explicit purpose of promoting discussion on work currently in progress, the current state of scholarship on the topic, the application of new approaches, etc. Focus Sessions are held either within the main programme of the Seminar or separately in parallel with it.
Past Focus Sessions:
- 2009: Current Fieldwork in Qatar (published in PSAS 40, 2010).
- 2010: Saudi Arabia (published in PSAS 41, 2011).
- 2015: Beyond the ‘Rose-red’ city: the hinterland of Petra and Nabataean rural sites (partly published in PSAS 46, 2016).
Steering and Editorial Committee of the Seminar for Arabian Studies
Dr Derek Kennet (Chair)
Dr Janet Starkey (Editor of PSAS)
Dr Tim Power (Research Editor)
Dr Robert Wilson (Treasurer)
Mr Dan Eddisford (Secretary)
Professor Rob Carter
Dr Nadia Durrani
Dr Orhan Elmaz
Dr Julian Jansen van Rensburg
Mr Michael C.A. Macdonald
Dr Harry Munt
Dr St John Simpson
Dr Lucy Wadeson
Additional members of the Editorial Committee
Professor Alessandra Avanzini
Professor Soumyen Bandyopadhyay
Dr Ricardo Eichmann
Professor Clive Holes
Professor Khalil Al-Muaikel
Professor Daniel T. Potts
Professor Christian J. Robin
Professor Lloyd Weeks