Professor Michael Carter

 Dr Anna Hansen BA, MA, DPhil (Oxford), PhD honoris causa (Lund)

Phone: +61 2 9036 7642

Address: Room S344
A20 - John Woolley

Email: Michael Carter


Professor Mike Carter has a long-standing connection with the University of Sydney, having begun his career in 1968 in what was then the Department of Semitic Studies, where he supervised the introduction of the first full-time undergraduate courses in Arabic up to Honours level and laid the foundations for the later introduction of Islamic Studies. After eleven years in the United States (ten at New York University), he moved to Norway, spending eight years as Professor of Arabic at Oslo University. In that time he also held two Honorary Associateships in the Centre for Medieval Studies (2000, 2003) and is now Honorary Professor there. His main research interest is the history of medieval Arabic linguistics and particularly its close relationship to Islamic dogma, philosophy, and legal theory, as he has always believed that even an apparently abstract science such as linguistics can be properly interpreted only in terms of its contribution to the civilisation it serves.

Long term project: The digitalisation of the Kitab of Sibawayhi (d. ca 795 AD). This is the most important text in Arabic grammar and the principles it laid down are still in force today. It is a large work (some 940 printed pages), of which only a small fraction has been digitalised in earlier stages of this project, and an estimated four or five years are needed to complete the process, including all the linked texts and manuscripts.