Young Scholars: SOAS PhD candidate Ümmügülsüm Kurukol

Yunus Emre Institute in London is delighted to announce another upcoming Young Scholar Seminar Series talk on “Memoirs of an Exile: An Andalusian historian’s travelogue of Malaga and Salé” on Tuesday 15th March 2022 at 19:00 pm (UK Time) with SOAS PhD candidate Ümmügülsüm Kurukol. 

The evening will end with a Q&A session with the speaker.


In the framework of Islamic travel writing, travelogues engage with a variety of subjects. Even within some writings, this variability may create difficulties when attempting to appreciate the writers’ intentions and objectives. However, this style of writing is also characteristic of other literary genres in the Islamic tradition. Similarly, travel texts represent multiple themes, personalities, events, and connections. Therefore, travelogues are important materials for historical studies to delve into the details of the socio-cultural features of the Muslim tradition and beyond. In this sense, Ibn al-Khatib’s (d. 776/1375) travelogue provides limited but amazingly detailed information about his age by writing about his observations of Malaga (Andalusia) and Salé (Morocco) while he was in exile.  

In this talk, Kurukol will focus on the literary work of Ibn al-Khatị̄b, a 14th century an understudied and unique writer known for his particular style of historical and literary writing. Ibn al-Khatị̄b was held in high esteem as an expert of Andalusian history by his contemporaries. Although, some of his travel books were translated into Spanish, translations and analyses have not been appeared in English. Therefore, via producing a translation of one of his riḥlas, this study aimed to show how Ibn al-Khatị̄b contributed to the field of travel writing by his travelogues and his special writing style, and to explore the significance of the travel writing genre in relation to Andalusian geography writing. The content of the riḥla presents impressive information about Malaga, an Andalusian city, in a comparison of a Moroccan city, Salé. Additionally, through this talk, the literature of geography books of the medieval ages and later contributions will be explored to locate and better understand the contribution of Ibn al-Khatị̄b. 


Date: Tuesday 15th March 2022 

Time: 7 pm 

Venue: Yunus Emre Institute in London, 10 Maple Street, London, W1T 5HA 

Admission is FREE but registration*** is ESSENTIAL via Eventbrite.

About the Speaker:

Ümmügülsüm Kurukol is currently a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Languages, Cultures, and Linguistics of Near and Middle East Department, SOAS, University of London. After her BA in Theology from Marmara University, Istanbul, she completed her MA in Islamic Studies at SOAS. Her main research interest is about the meaning of travel, manifestations of travelers and conceptual changes in Muslim travel writing between 10-17th centuries, according to the travelers from different Islamic lands and their narrations about Muslim cities.  


About the ‘Young Scholar Seminar’ series:

Established in 2017, the Young Scholar Seminar Series is a platform giving postgraduate students the opportunity to present their research to the wider public and encourage the exchange of knowledge. In particular, the series have been designed to promote the academic achievements of young academics, increase their visibility, and facilitate networking opportunities. Yunus Emre Institute in London invites young academics from all disciplines with research into global or Turkey-related topics to present their findings and become part of the institute’s growing young academic network. 

This event can also be streamed live on the Yunus Emre Institute in London Facebook and YouTube accounts, @yeelondra