Conferences and Talks


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Scholars, Scribes, and Readers: An Advanced Course in Arabic Manuscript Studies6-10 June 2016, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, UK

The Islamic Manuscript Association, in cooperation with Cambridge University Library and the Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation, is pleased to announce an advanced short course in manuscript studies, entitled Scholars, Scribes, and Readers: An Advanced Course in Arabic Manuscript Studies, which will be held at Cambridge University Library from 6 to 10 June 2016.

This intensive five-day course is intended for researchers, librarians, curators, and anyone else working with Islamic manuscripts. As an advanced course, it is particularly aimed at those who already have some experience in Islamic codicology and palaeography and all participants must have a good reading knowledge of Arabic. The course will focus on Arabic-language manuscripts from various regions, including historical Turkey, Iran, and India. It is hoped that this advanced course will allow participants to gain greater exposure to and familiarity with the vast array of practices encountered in Arabic manuscripts.

The workshop will consist of three days of illustrated, interactive lectures on selected manuscripts and two days of hands-on sessions focusing on a selection of manuscripts from the Cambridge University Library collection. The manuscripts selected for presentation by the instructor cover the whole range of scribal practices encountered in a variety of subjects/genres, geographical regions, and historical periods (see the programme for details).

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Economy and Material Culture in the Early Islamic Empire
Bi-Weekly, Wednesday, 4-6 pm CEST Starting April 6, 2016

Islamic Material Culture

The Universität Bonn (Bethany Walker), the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich (Andreas Kaplony), The Bard Graduate Center in New York (Abigail Balbale), and Universität Hamburg (Stefan Heidemann) are co-operating in setting up a series of webinars in Archaeology of the Middle East, Arabic Papyrology, Islamic Arts and material Culture, and Numismatics of the Middle East.

Why Agriculture?

Why agriculture and the Early Islamic Empire in material culture? Not least Bulliet’s book about the cotton boom (2009) in the Early Empire has stimulated discourse about agriculture and elite culture of the Early Islamic Empire. The webinar tutorial explores different aspects of this agriculture boom in case studies from Central Asia to the Iberian Peninsula. We see a continuation and improvement in efficiency of established forms of irrigation from Late Antiquity to the Early Islamic Empire. The new Muslim elites turned into a landholding class establishing estates and luxurious mansions. The new imperial metropolises created an unprecedented demand in foodstuffs, which was answered by bringnig more land under cultivation and introducing more efficient ways of production. Food had to be transported, and maritime and river routes were established. While some of these developments can be explored through text, material culture and archaeology allows new ways to see this boom in detail. Guest lecturers will include Corisande Fenwick (University College London), Abigale Balbale (The Bard Graduate Center, New York), Sören Stark, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World), and Kristoffer Damgaard (Carsten Niebuhr Institute, Copenhagen), and Bethany Walker (Universität Bonn).

The webinar is part of the ‘Webinar Initiative in Islamic Material Culture’ jointly organized by the Bard Graduate Center, New York, Universität Bonn, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, and Universität Hamburg.
Prerequisites for participation

Spoken and written proficiency in English language. The course is open to all advanced students in B.A., M.A., and PhD programs of Islamic studies, historians, art historians, and archaeologists of the Middle East. All students need a computer, a reliable internet connection, and a headset. In a personal online short skype interview in early April 2016, we will check whether all technical assets are working. Students from Hamburg have to sign up in the campus system ‘Stine’ and to contact Stefan Heidemann as early as possible to register and get the necessary introduction to the technology. Students from universities other than Universität Hamburg are welcome and have to apply with a short CV and a motivation letter in English until March, 15, 2016. These will be emailed to Prof. Stefan Heidemann at: stefan.heidemann@uni-hamburg.de. Preference is given to students from universities within the network of the webinar initiative “Islamic Material Culture”.

http://www.aai.uni-hamburg.de/voror/Personal/agricultural-empire-sommer-2016.html

The Digital Islamic Humanities Project at Brown University is pleased to announce its third annual conference, titled “Distant Reading and the Islamic Archive,” which will be held on Friday, October 16, 2015.

Paper abstracts and the full event program may be found on the conference website (http://islamichumanities.org/conference-2015/).

Please note that event will be live-streamed over the web. You may access the webcast beginning tomorrow morning (Friday) at 9:00 am EST.

Speakers and paper titles:

David Vishanoff, “A Customizable Exaptive “Xap” for Charting Currents of Islamic Discourse across Multiple Bibliographic and Full Text Datasets”

Peter Verkinderen, José Antonio Haro Peralta, and Hannah-Lena Hagemann, “Which Muḥammad? Computer-Based Tools for the Identification of Moving Elites in the Early Islamic Empire”

Alexander Magidow & Yonatan Belinkov, “Digital Philology and the History of Written Arabic”

Elias Muhanna, “Modeling Mannerism in Classical Arabic Poetry”

Maxim Romanov, “al-Ḏahabī’s Monster: Dissecting a 50-Volume Arabic Chronicle-cum-Biographical Collection From the 14th Century CE”

Seyed Mohammad Bagher Sajadi & Mohammad Sadegh Rasooli, “Automatic Proper Names Extraction from Old Islamic Literature”

Karen Pinto, “MIME and Other Digital Experimentations with Medieval Islamic Maps”

Nir Shafir, “Distant Reading the Material and Bibliographic Record of the Early Modern Islamic Archive”

Eric van Lit, “A Digital Approach for Production and Transmission of Knowledge in Islamic Intellectual History”

Taimoor Shahid, “Mobile Ethics: Travel and Cosmopolitanism in the Islamic Archive”

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For details on the conference, click here.

Orientality is a biennial conference series developed by the Orientalist Museum, Doha.

The inaugural conference took place at Cambridge University in 2013. Subsequent conferences are scheduled for the National Portrait Gallery, London, 2015.

The only conference of its kind, Orientality gives international art and museum professionals an opportunity to come together and discuss the art, history, politics and future of the Orientalist art movement.

In the process it aims to develop understanding between east and west, and showcase the continued vibrancy of the Orientalist art movement in the 21st century.


Johann Gottfried Wetzstein (1815 – 1905)

by Christoph Rauch, H-Net

Arabic manuscripts and Oriental studies: Symposium on the occasion of the 200th birthday of Johann Gottfried Wetzstein.

The international symposium “Studies on Johann Gottfried Wetzstein (1815-1905): Manuscripts, Politics and Oriental Studies” will be held at Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin from 19th to 21st February 2015. (Venue: Potsdamer Strasse 33, 10785 Berlin)

The symposium will be inaugurated Thursday, 19th February 2015, 6:00 PM with a keynote lecture by François Déroche (Paris): “The Qur’anic collections acquired by Wetzstein”; and a musical-literary program by Claudia Ott and her ensemble. Furthermore, some original documents and manuscripts related to Wetzstein will be exhibited at the opening.

If you plan to attend the conference please register before 31st January at the secretary of the Oriental Department, Mrs. Muenchow, orientabt@sbb.spk-berlin.de.

The symposium is generously supported by the Fritz Thyssen-Stiftung and the Verein der Freunde der Staatsbibliothek e.V.; and is organized in cooperation with the Oriental Institute of Leipzig University.

Here is the list of contributions in alphabetical order:

Ibrahim Akel (Paris), Wetzstein in Arabic sources and remarks on some manuscripts from his collections

Kaoukab Chebaro and Samar El Mikati El Kaissi (Beirut), Manuscript ownership and readership at the American University of Beirut at the turn of the 20th century

Alba Fedeli (Cambridge), Tischendorf and the Mingana Collection: Manuscript acquisition and Qur’ānic Studies

Ludmilla Hanisch (Berlin), Semitic studies at the University of Berlin during Wetzstein’s lifetime.

Michaela Hoffmann-Ruf (Bonn), The Wetzstein collection at Tuebingen University Library – its history, its content and its reception in Oriental Studies

Ingeborg Huhn (Berlin), Some remarks concerning the official correspondence of Johann Gottfried Wetzstein

Robert Irwin (London), The Arabist and Consul in Damascus Sir Richard Burton and the problematic nature of his translation of The Thousand and One Nights
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The following is an excerpt from the 2013 Presidential Address (“Islam in the Public Square”) of John Esposito for the American Academy of Religion. His entire talk is free to read online here.

The response of colleagues and family to my chosen career was interesting: Why study Islam, they asked. When I began to speak publicly, both Muslims and Christians asked why I studied Islam, but they had very different agendas in their mind. The best comment I heard was “You’ll never get a job!” At that time I was a young Catholic theologian teaching scripture and theology, and there would always be theology and religion departments.

When I was looking for a job in 1972, only one job advertised was narrowly in Islamic Studies, and the other was in World Religions at the College of the Holy Cross. When interviewed by the incoming chair at Holy Cross, I noted that Hinduism and Buddhism were my minors (in addition to an MA in theology) and that my major was Islam. He pointedly answered, “We are not looking for somebody in Islam,” and even worse, he said, “I prefer somebody in Japanese and Chinese.”

Training in Islam was totally absent for the military and foreign service officers. And not only that, our foreign service officers in the field were not encouraged to look at religion. When the Iranian Revolution came along, a friend who had been in the embassy said that there was no contact with the ulama, no going into the universities and dealing with faculty or the students in Islamic studies. Indeed, when you talked to analysts in the field reporting back to Washington or consultants on risk assessment in countries, they never looked at the religion factor. And so when Iran came along, people saw it as an epi-phenomenon. (more…)

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