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Dr Elizabeth Key Fowden

Postdoctoral Associate
Senior Research Associate in the Faculty of Classics
Affiliated Researcher in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
History of the Eastern Mediterranean and West Asia

Elizabeth Fowden is a Senior Research Associate in the Faculty of Classics.

She specialises in history of the Eastern Mediterranean and West Asia, material cultures and religious transitions, from late antiquity to the early modern period.

Academic interests

Sparked by an early interest in classical and Christian imagery in renaissance Italy, Fowden studied Classics at the University of Texas at Austin and Princeton University, specialising in late antique history and material culture in the Eastern Mediterranean and West Asia.

Her PhD thesis, supervised by Peter Brown at Princeton University and later published as The Barbarian Plain: Saint Sergius between Rome and Iran (Berkeley 1999), examines religious, political, and architectural crosspollination in late antique and early Islamic Syria and Mesopotamia.

In her current book project, The Parthenon Mosque, Fowden applies her interest in Islamic reformulation of the classical and Christian inheritance to the early modern conjunction of Greek, European and Ottoman views of Athens’ most celebrated building.

Elizabeth Fowden is Senior Researcher in the European Research Council funded project (2016-2021) on the impact of the ancient city, led by Principal Investigator Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, Classics. The project re examines the impact of the ancient, Greco Roman city on subsequent urban history in Europe and the Islamic world, investigating both the urban fabric and urban ideals.

Fowden also lectures and supervises on late antique and early Islamic history at Cambridge (Middle Eastern Studies and Divinity) and the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London.

Degrees obtained

  • BA, University of Texas at Austin.
  • MA and PhD, Princeton University.

Other interests

Dance, from Plato’s Laws to Martha Graham. Sailing traditional wooden boats, especially with lateen rig.

Publications, links and resources

  • Fowden, E. (2017) The Parthenon Mosque, King Solomon and the Greek Sages. In: Ottoman Athens: Archeology, topography, history. Athens.
  • Fowden, E. (2015) Lecture, The Parthenon Mosque, King Solomon and the Philosophers, Gennadius Library, Athens, 23 April 2015. 
  • Fowden, E. (2016) Schreine und Banner: Paläomuslime und ihr materielles Erbe, in A. Neuwirth, N. Schmidt and N. K. Schmid, Denkraum Spätantike. Szenarien der Reflexion von Antike im Umfeld des Koran, Wiesbaden, pp 405-430. 
  • Fowden, E. (2015) Rural converters among the Arabs, in A. Papaconstantinou, N. McLynn and D. Schwartz, Conversion in late antiquity: Christianity, Islam and beyond, Farnham, pp 175-196.    
  • Fowden, E. (2013) Des églises pour les Arabes, pour les nomades? in F. Briquel Chatonnet, Les églises en monde syriaque, Paris, pp 391-420.
  • Fowden, E. (2007) The lamp and the wine flask: Early Muslim interest in Christian monasticism, in A. Akasoy, J.E. Montgomery and P. Pormann, Islamic crosspollinations: Interactions in the medieval Middle East, Cambridge, pp 1-28.
  • Fowden, E. (2005) Saint Serge chez les Arabes, Dossiers d’Archéologie 309, pp 54-59.
  • Fowden, E. (2005) Constantine and the peoples of the eastern frontier, in N. Lenski, The Cambridge companion to the age of Constantine, Cambridge, pp 377-398.
  • Fowden, E. (2004) Studies on Hellenism, Christianity and the Umayyads (with Garth Fowden), Athens.
  • Fowden, E. (2002) Sharing holy places, Common Knowledge 8, pp 124-46.
  • Fowden, E. (2000) An Arab building at Rusafa-Sergiopolis, Damaszener Mitteilungen 12, pp 303-324.
  • Fowden, E. (1999) The Barbarian Plain: Saint Sergius between Rome and Iran, Berkeley.

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