Photo of Emeritus Professor Dionisius  A. Agius FBA

Emeritus Professor Dionisius A. Agius FBA


Formal Qualifications

1984 Doctor of Philosophy, University of Toronto:
Thesis: "Arabic Literary Works as a Source of Documentation for Technical Terms of the Material Culture".
Supervisor: George Michael Wickens.

1977 Master of Arts, University of Toronto:
Dissertation: "A Study of the Kitab al-Ājurrmiyya as a Manual of Arabic Linguistics".
Supervisor: George Michael Wickens.

1974 Diploma di Studi Arabi cum laude, Pontificio Istituto di Studi Arabi, Rome

1967 Diplôme d'Études Arabes, Faculté de Lettres Orientales, Université St-Joseph, Beirut

Career History


University of Exeter

2007-  Al Qasimi Professor in Arabic and Islamic Material Culture

University of Leeds

2003-2007 Professor of Arabic & Islamic Material Culture

1998-2003 Reader in Arabic & the Medieval Mediterranean

1994-1998 Senior Lecturer in Arabic

1989-1994 Lecturer in Arabic

1987-1989 Teaching Fellow in Arabic

Ministry of Defence, Defence School of Languages, Beaconsfield

1986-1987 Burnham Lecturer in Arabic

Kuwait University

1984-1985 Teacher of Arabic as a Second Language, Language Centre, Kuwait University

University of Toronto

1979-1981 Teacher Assistant in Field Methods

1977-1984 Teacher Assistant in Classical and Modern Arabic


2006-2007 Director of Research, Department of Arabic & Middle Eastern Studies

1999- 2007 Director of Centre for Mediterranean Studies

1992-1995 Acting Administrative Head of the Department of Modern Arabic Studies

Conference, Seminar and Study Day Co-Organizer (1)

Study Day: Traditional Music of the Mediterranean (17 February 2000)
with David Cooper, School of Music

Study Day: Byzantium and Islam (20 October 2001)
with Alan Murray, Institute of Medieval Studies and Josine Opmeer, School of Fine Art

Two-day conference: Arab Voices in Diaspora (1-2 July 2002)
with Zahia Salhi, Department of Arabic & Middle Eastern Studies

One-Day Interdisciplinary Seminar: The Islamic Harbour (12 May 2004)
with Lucy Blue, Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton and Francine Stone, Seminar for Arabian Studies

Three-day conference: Visualising Paradise (13-15 September 2004)
with Heather Nicholson, School of Geography and Josine Opmeer, School of Fine Art

One-Day Interdisciplinary Seminar: Islamic Burials (22 May 2005)
with Anne Macklin, Department of Arabic & Middle Eastern Studies and Francine Stone, Seminar for Arabian Studies.

Three-day conference on the island of Hydra, Greece: The Donkey (and the Mule) in the Culture of the Mediterranean (7-9 October 2005)
with Ed Emery.

International Medieval Congress Sessions Co-Organizer (2)

Two sessions on Hispano Arabic Studies (July 2002)
with G. Crowson and the participation of the Society for the Medieval Mediterranean; speakers R. Hitchcock (Exeter) & R. Arié (CNRS, Paris).

Four sessions on Islamic Art (July 2004)
with G. Crowson and the participation of the Society for the Medieval Mediterranean; speakers included A. Almagro (Granada), V. Porter (London), E. Schubert (Brussels), M. Terrasse (Paris).

Four sessions on the Music of Islam (July 2006)
with G. Crowson and the participation of the Society for the Medieval Mediterranean; speakers Abdu-Noor (Yale), L. Bolat (New Mexico), S. Fatemi (Tehran), Y. Klein (Harvard), A. Shiloah (Jerusalem), D. Wulstan (Aberystwyth) .

Invitations to speak at National and International Meetings (1)

"What can primary sources tell us about Classic ships of Islam?"
21 March 2006, University of St. Andrews.

"The dhow of the Arabian Gulf and Oman"
24 November 2005, University of Manchester

"Quseir al-Qadim: The Islamic harbour based on Arabic documents"
30 April 2004. Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.

"Harbour and caravan terminus: Historical and textual documentation of Quseir al-Qadim"
15 February 2004, Archaeological Society of Alexandria, Egypt.

"Excavations at Quseir al-Qadim: The Arabic documents"
13 December 2002, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

"Word, object and communication: the language of material culture"
5 March 2002, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

"Ostrich eggs: pilgrims and merchants"
7 February 2002, School of History, University of Leeds.

"In the wake of the dhow".
11 April 2001, The Arab-British Centre, London.

"The language of the dhow".
7 March 2001, The Society for Arabian Studies and the Anglo-Omani Society at the University College London.

"Testing strategies and the L2 learner".
8 April 2000, King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

"Testing and evaluating learners of Arabic" (Two-day seminar).
17-18 January 2000, The Language Center, Kuwait University, Kuwait.

"An illumination of a 13th-century sewn boat: Travel in Medieval Islam".
1 December 1998, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds.

"Traders and seamen: Ibn Bat$t$´t$a's observation of medieval vessels".
16 May 1998, School of Anthropology & Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford.

"Re-examining the Medieval Arabic of Sicily".
15 November 1997, Vakgroep Talen en Culturen van het Nabije Oosten, Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

"Siculo Arabic: Socio-cultural and linguistic identities in Islamic and Norman Sicily".
13 November 1997, Department Oosterse en Slavische Studies, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.

"Christian and Muslim Sicilians: Tripartite culture of Latin, Arabic and Greek".
12 November 1997, Faculteit Letteren en Wijsbegeerte, Universiteit Gent, Belgium.

"The three linguistic communities of Islamic and Norman Sicily".
10 November 1997, Faculty of Oriental Languages, University of Leiden, The Netherlands.

"Courtiers, peasants and slaves: The Medieval Arabic of Sicily".
18 March 1997, The Libyan Cultural Centre, Villa Drago, Malta.

"L'Arabe sicilien pendant l'époque musulmane et normande (Xe-XIIIe s.)".
18 February 1997, Institut Orientaliste, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium.

"Is Maltese directly linked with Siculo Arabic or the North African dialects?".
24 July 1996, Institute of Linguistics, University of Malta.

"A review of the Arab and Muslim travellers' and geographers' works available and their portrayal of the region's economic and social setting".
8 April 1996, Juma Al Majid Centre for Culture and Heritage, Dubai, The UAE University, Al-Ain and The Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

"The dhow and the Gulf: Links with traditional Arab seafaring".
15 February 1995, Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.

"Le problème complexe de l'arabe en Sicile".
14 April 1994, Istituto di Studi Arabi, Università di Palermo, Sicily.

"Tempests, roaring waves and calm seas: Travelling in the Middle Ages".
20 March 1994, School of Fine Art, University of Leeds.

"Linguistic strata of the Medieval Arabic of Sicily".
5 March 1993, Mediterranean Lecture Series, University of Manchester.

"An updating on the dhow: Traditional Arab seafaring".
10 April 1992, British Council, Doha, Qatar.

"L'arabe de Sicile: le Tathqif al-Lisan d'Ibn Makki l-Siqilli".
14 February 1992, Estudios Arabes e Islámicos, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.

"Reconstructing the Medieval Arabic of Sicily: The commoners and the elite".
28 September 1991, Centro Dante Alleghieri and the University of Malta.

"Plurilingüisme à Malte: maltais, anglais, italien".
19 February 1991, Estudis