Amsterdam Centre for Middle Eastern Studies

Photographer: Eduard Lampe

Ms J.M.C. (Josephine) van den Bent MA

Middeleeuwse geschiedenis
  • Faculty of Humanities
    Capaciteitsgroep Geschiedenis
  • Visiting address
    Oost-Indisch Huis
    Kloveniersburgwal 48  Room number: D 0.10
  • Postal address:
    Kloveniersburgwal  48
    1012 CX  Amsterdam

Josephine van den Bent is PhD Candidate in Medieval History. Her project, The Mongols in Mamluk Eyes: Image- and Identity Formation in the Medieval Middle East, is funded by NWO. She is also a lecturer in the Arabic and history departments.


In this study, she analyses the representation of the Mongols in Egypt and Syria under the Mamluks (1250-1517), a non-Arab slave dynasty. The establishment of Mamluk rule coincided with the Mongol advance into the part of the Muslim world that we now refer to as the Middle East. But while Mamluk relations with the Ilkhanid Mongols were characterised by a protracted struggle that culminated in a sixty year 'cold war', the Mamluks developed friendly diplomatic relations with another Mongol khanate, the Golden Hore, from the early 1260s onwards -- thus making the construction of all too negative stereotypes more difficult. Moreover, the Mamluks and the Mongols shared a cultural and ethnic background, further complicating othering processes in this case.

By studying the construction of images and stereotypes of Mongols in a great array of contemporary Mamluk sources for different audiences, this study will investigate the various Mamluk representations of Mongols and their employment in Mamluk identity formation and legitimisation strategies. This research will contribute, firstly, to debates among Mamluk historians on the legitimisation of this new dynasty, and, secondly, in a more general sense to our understanding of stereotype-supported identity formation.


Josephine van den Bent teaches the course 'Bijbel & Koran' (Bible & Quran). This course, a collaboration between the Arabic and Hebrew department, is compulsory for third year students of both Arabic Studies and Hebrew Studies. Other second and third year humanities students may take this course as an elective (for either 6 or 12 ECTS). For more information, see the Studiegids. She is also a lecturer in the first-year history course 'Medieval History'.

Publications & Papers

Zenobia Foundation

Josephine van den Bent is president of the board of the Zenobia Foundation. The Zenobia Foundation promotes the study of east-west relations in the most dynamic meeting point of peoples and cultures in human history: the eastern Mediterranean basin. The foundation attempts to promote the study this area by organising conferences and symposia, by publishing books and catalogues, by supporting exhibitions and study trips, and - most importantly - by encouraging scholarly research. For more information, see Zenobia Foundation's website (in Dutch).


Amsterdam Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (ACMES)

Scholarship on the Middle East at the University of Amsterdam is brought together in the Amsterdam Centre for Middle Eastern Studies. ACMES is an umbrella organization that acts as a podium for the University’s extensive expertise in this field and promotes collaboration between scholars beyond disciplinary boundaries. ACMES organizes lectures, master classes, conferences and seminars. Its mission is to strengthen and internationalize the Middle Eastern Studies profile of the University of Amsterdam. Josephine van den Bent is a member of the Steering Committee. For more information about ACMES, see the website. To stay informed of future ACMES events, keep track of the website, request to be added to the mailing list at, or like the Facebook page Amsterdam Midden-Oosten Studies




ZemZem is a Dutch language magazine on the Middle East, North Africa, and Islam. Its goal is to publish information, views, and opinions on these topics that are not found in regular media. Additionally, ZemZem offers a platform for Dutch-speaking scholars to present their current research. In this way, ZemZem strives to contribute to both public and scholarly debates in the Netherlands and Flanders. Josephine van den Bent was editor for ZemZem from 2011 to 2014. For more information on the magazine, see the website.


  • van den Bent, J. M. C. (2016). “None of the kings on earth is their equal in ʿaṣabiyya”. The Mongols in Ibn Khaldūn’s Works. Al-Masāq. Journal of the Medieval Mediterranean, 28(2), 171-186.


  • van den Bent, J. M. C. (2016). Fighting for female voices in a patriarchal society. Women's activism in (post-)revolutionary Egypt’. Yearbook for Women’s History , (35), 57-67.


  • Woltering, R., van den Bent, J., & van de Wijngaert, L. (2014). Beeldvormingen over het Westen in post-Mubarak Egypte. Amsterdam: Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam Centre for Middle Eastern Studies. [details] 


  • Weststeijn, J. K., van den Bent, J. M. C., & van den Eijnde, F. (2016). Mohammed en de late oudheid. ZemZem, 12(2), 91-107.
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