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 two panels at the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University (WMU) in Kalamazoo, MI, 2017 and this year. On September 30, 2017, we held our first regional workshop at WMU. This event was supported through WMU’s Department of Education-funded Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Grant. There, we fostered intercollegiate connections between scholars from six different institutions whose research and teaching focuses on Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Hindi, Uzbek, and Russian literatures. Group members agreed to hold further meetings on an annual basis, bringing in scholars whose work addresses the literary texts, cultures, and ideas circulated from the Balkans to Bengal. By framing participants’ research and teaching according to this geographical unit, the group aims to connect literary traditions across South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, the Iranian plateau, and Central Asia.

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!