The Great Lakes Adiban Society is an informal academic organization intended to provide a regional forum for scholars of Islamicate adab, particularly of the medieval and early modern periods. By “Islamicate,” we mean the literatures and literary practices cultivated in languages like Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Bengali and so on; other traditions that are not majority-Muslim but nevertheless participate in this general discourse include (but are certainly not limited to) Armenian, Baluchi, Georgian, Hebrew, Kurdish, Punjabi, and Spanish. By sponsoring panels at conferences and convening regular workshops, we hope to facilitate the exchange of ideas, give scholars a chance to critique and refine each other’s work, and foster a sense of community in the Great Lakes region.

Activities to Date

Since our founding in the summer of 2016, we have sponsored annual panels at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and have also convened an annual workshop at various universities in the Great Lakes region. You can find the more detailed information about these events by finding their announcements on our main page.

Sponsored panels at the ICMS:

  • 2017: (Dis)Played and (Dis)Covered: Constructing Gender in Persianate Literature; The Truthful Lie: Fiction and Fictionality in Medieval Persian Literature
  • 2018: Jinn, Dragons, and Divs: Supernatural Beings in Medieval Islamicate Literatures; Jahān-sāzī: Text, Space, and Place in Medieval Islamicate Literary Worlds
  • 2019: Inscribed Bodies, Etched Surfaces: The Written and Unwritten in the Medieval Islamicate World; Fifty Shades of Green: The Islamicate Art of Seduction
  • 2021: Love, Fear, Anger, Sorrow: Emotions and Diseases of the Soul in Islamicate Literature (I and II)

Regional workshops:

  • 2017: Western Michigan University (September 30)
  • 2018: University of Chicago (October 6–7)
  • 2019: Indiana University Bloomington (September 28–29)
  • 2020: Online (September 5–6)

Get Involved

As said above, we are an informal group; we have no dues, no official membership, and no hierarchy. If you’re interested in our topic, you can “join” simply by getting involved: come to our annual workshop, submit your work to the panels we sponsor, help us develop additional resources and opportunities, or just say hi! The best way to get in touch is to join our email list; go to, create an account if necessary, and sign up. It’s all free (as in beer and in spam) of course, and you may unsubscribe at any time. We look forward to hearing from you!