Project on Shi'ism & Global Affairs Seminar (Zoom)


Monday, November 15, 2021, 3:00pm to 4:30pm


Online Only

"Hidden Empires and Muslim Sectarian Identities: The Emergence of Shi’a Sects in Early Islam (7th - 10th Centuries CE)"

Attend this event via Zoom (advance registration required)


Mohammad Sagha, Humanities Teaching Fellow, University of Chicago.


Payam Mohseni, Director, Project on Shi’ism and Global Affairs. Lecturer on Government, Department of Government, Harvard University.


Payam Mohseni

This event is online only. Please click the "Read More" link for full instructions on how to attend this seminar.

Online Access Information:

To join by computer:

Please note: This event requires registration in advance in order to receive the meeting link and password.


When and how did different sects or denominations emerge within Shi’ism? While Shi’ism as a general belief in the spiritual-political supremacy of Ali b. Abi Talib and the Ahl al-Bayt was an early phenomenon rooted in the immediate aftermath of the Prophet Muhammad’s demise in 11/632, Shi’ism as a distinct denomination with socio-political institutions did not emerge until later and neither did the diverse sectarian movements under Shi’ism, including Zaydi, Ismaili, Qarmati, Nusayri, and Twelver Shi’ism, among others. This talk will explore the role that underground revolutionary movements played in Shi’a sectarian formation in the early Islamic period from the uprising of al-Mukhtar b. Abi ʿUbayd (d. 67/687) through to the beginnings of the “Shiʿi Centuries” at the turn of the 4th Hijri/10th Common Era century that saw several Shi’a states emerge in rapid succession to establish transregional imperial projects across West and Central Asia as well as North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean.