Departmental Events

Persis Berlekamp | Returning Full Force: Medieval Islamic Military Talismans of Anatolia and Beyond

Stoddard Lecture 2022

4:30 pm | 2/1/2022 | Live on Zoom | Until 6:00 pm | 2/1/2022

Persis Berlekamp

Register here.

The UC Berkeley History of Art Department presents our Spring 2022 Stoddard Lecture by Persis Berlekamp, “Returning Full Force: Medieval Islamic Military Talismans of Anatolia and Beyond”.

Astrological and talismanic arts occupied an important place in the precarious courtly circles of the Seljuks and their rivals in Anatolia and beyond in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. This is true whether we understand “arts” as visually rich crafted forms, or as arenas of specialized technical expertise. Surviving talismans are generally metal or stone, and include not only apotropaic sculptures found on the walls of cities or on the doors of civic institutions, but also military objects such as maces, helmets, and drums. “Returning Full Force: Medieval Islamic Military Talismans of Anatolia and Beyond” interrogates the military talismans of this milieu, and the phenomenon of their profusion, in relation to migration, revitalized engagement with ancient astrological heritage, and epistemological confidence that knowledge of nature and its materials might offer opportunities to harness force. In the context of the Berkeley Art History Department’s choice of “Return” as its 2021-22 lecture series theme, “Returning Full Force” offers a case study of visual arts imbricated in several different kinds of return: geographic, intellectual, cosmological, and material.

This lecture series is funded by the generous support of the Mary C. Stoddard Fund in the Department of History of Art. Presented by the Department of History of Art, UC Berkeley and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley.

A seminar is scheduled for Wednesday, February 2 at 2pm, and attendance is open to UC Berkeley History of Art Department students, faculty, staff, and invited guests. To register, please email Elizabeth Fair ( or Tausif Noor (

If you require an accommodation for effective communication (ASL interpreting/CART captioning, alternative media formats, etc.) to fully participate in this event, please contact Heather Reilly at with as much advance notice as possible and at least 7-10 days in advance of the event (January 26 at the latest).


Scroll to Top