About the Journal

Al-ʿUṣūr al-Wusṭā: The Journal of Middle East Medievalists is the only open-access, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the medieval Middle East, expansively defined to include all geographies with prominent Muslim political, religious, or social presences between the rough parameters of 500-1500 CE. We seek previously unpublished articles featuring original research and analysis, including those that push the boundaries of the medieval Middle East as defined above. We are open to scholarship from any discipline or interdisciplinary formation and are committed to balancing pieces addressing new or underrepresented areas of inquiry with those contributing to more well-established fields.

In addition to original research articles, we publish short critical editions and translations, essays on pedagogy, conference reports, and book reviews. Full issues of al-ʿUṣūr al-Wusṭā are published toward the end of each calendar year, usually in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association. However, some research articles will be released earlier in the year, as they complete the review and production process. We welcome submissions at any time.

The open-access publication of al-ʿUṣūr al-Wusṭā is made possible by Middle East Medievalists (MEM), an international, non-profit association of scholars. To support the journal, please consider joining MEM or renewing your MEMbership today!

Peer Review Policy

All research articles in this journal have undergone rigorous peer review, based on initial screening by the journal editors and double-blind reviewing by anonymous referees. Authors are required to respond to reader reports on top of making revisions to their papers. A thorough round of copy editing follows the acceptance of the revised submission which, in turn, leads to another round of improvements.

Book Reviews 

The book-review editors of UW seek to commission reviews of scholarly books about the medieval Middle East. They prioritize, in descending order, books written in the languages of the Middle East and North Africa; those written in non-Western European languages (Russian, Czech, Hungarian, Japanese, etc.); and those written in Western European languages.

In the case of English-language scholarship, the editors prioritize  books on novel, topical, or otherwise particularly important subjects; books that MEMbers volunteer to review; books by emerging scholars and/or fresh/marginalized scholarly voices; books that are designed for teaching or for wider audiences; books that for some reason risk being overlooked; and books that are brought to our attention by MEMbers or presses. Book-review editors of UW will not make a habit of commissioning reviews of monographs in English on well-studied topics by established scholars.

These are, however, general guidelines, not ironclad rules to be strictly observed.

As a matter of policy, in the case of strongly negative book reviews the editors will request a second opinion from a member of the journal’s board or an outside authority. The publication of negative reviews may be delayed as a result of this policy.

Open Access Policy

Al-ʿUṣūr al-Wusṭā is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author. Since 2015, authors retain their copyright and agree to license their articles with a Creative Commons "Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives" 4.0 License. You can read more about Creative Commons licenses at creativecommons.org.

Al-ʿUṣūr al-Wusṭā is a no-fee journal. Authors are not charged for the publication of their articles.

Archiving Policy

Al-ʿUṣūr al-Wusṭā is distributed through Columbia University’s Academic Commons. Academic Commons is Columbia University’s institutional repository, offering long-term public access to research shared by the Columbia community. A program of the Columbia University Libraries, Academic Commons provides secure, replicated storage for files in multiple formats. Academic Commons assigns a DOI and accurate metadata to each work to enhance discoverability.

Files uploaded to Academic Commons are written to an Isilon storage cluster at Columbia University and replicated to an identical system at a secure, offsite facility. The local cluster stores the data in a "best protection possible" policy which provides, at a minimum, guaranteed protection against the loss of any two disks or any one node. When sufficient capacity is available, this is increased automatically. Multiple snapshots are replicated to our disaster recovery site every two hours. The secondary cluster employs the same protections as the primary cluster and both conduct integrity scans to validate that data has not been altered at any point during rebalancing, snapshot, or replication processes.

Privacy Statement

The names and email addresses entered in this journal site will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of this journal and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.

History of the Journal

Al-ʿUṣūr al-Wusṭā began in 1989 as a newsletter edited by Sam Gellens, who co-founded the Middle East Medievalists (MEM) along with Richard Bulliet. Fred Donner, as president of MEM (1992- 1994), then expanded the newsletter into a substantial bulletin, the first issue of which appeared in 1992 (4:1). He added, among other features, research articles and reviews of books in Arabic and other Middle Eastern languages. Finally, in 2014-2015, under the leadership of Antoine Borrut and Matthew Gordon, the bulletin was transformed into an online, open-access, peer-reviewed journal, the first issue of which appeared in 2015 (23:1). The Archives page makes available the complete run of al-ʿUṣūr al-Wusṭā going back to 1989.

Logo and Masthead

In 2020, MEM commissioned artist and calligrapher Joumana Medlej to design a new logo for the association, as well as to redesign the masthead for al-ʿUṣūr al-Wusṭā. Joumana’s notes on this project can be found here.

The logo is a world map from a fifteenth-century manuscript copy of al-Idrīsī’s twelfth-century Arabic atlas, Nuzhat al-mushtāq fī ikhtirāq al-āfāq. Bodleian Library, MS. Pococke 375, fols. 3b-4a. Photo: ©Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford. Creative Commons license CC-BY-NC 4.0.