Dr Eric Ormsby, Deputy Head of the Department of Academic Research and Publications, and Professor Wilferd Madelung, leading Islamic scholar and Senior Research Fellow at the IIS, were invited to speak at an international interdisciplinary conference entitled Islam and Rationality: The impact of al-Ghazali at Ohio State University, USA.
The IIS, in conjunction with the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts (IOM) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), organised an international conference in Saint Petersburg to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Wladimir Alekseevich Ivanow, the pioneer of modern Ismaili Studies.
The IIS is pleased to announce the award of its Dissertation Writing Scholarship to Shatha Almutawa who is studying at the University of Chicago Divinity School, USA.
The IIS launched one of its new publications, Arabic, Persian and Gujarati Manuscripts, at the Ismaili Centre in London.The publication is a catalogue of rare and unique manuscripts generously donated by Professor Abbas Hamdani to the Library of the IIS.
The Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) is delighted to welcome Dr Nadia Eboo-Jamal as the Interim Head of the Department of Community Relations (DCR). Dr Jamal acceded to this role at the IIS in April 2010, when the incumbent Head, Dr. Shainool Jiwa started her one-year sabbatical.
M.G. Vassanji, an author of international standing, gave a book reading at the Institute on 8 April, 2010. He read from his latest book, A Place Within, a travel memoir of his visits to India. An earlier book, The Gunny Sack has been a set text for the Literature of Muslim Societies module of the IIS’ Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities.
The Institute of Ismaili Studies, together with the editor, Dr Amyn B. Sajoo of Simon Fraser University, celebrated the launch of A Companion to the Muslim World in a series of events in the UK and across Canada. This is the first book in a new series of publications on essential themes from Muslim heritage.
Dr Yahia Baiza of IIS’ Central Asian Studies Unit presented a paper entitled, Religion, State and Politics: An Analysis of Religion’s Place in Modern Afghanistan, at a conference on Religious Difference and Conflict, at Stranmillis University College of Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
This full colour publication, entitled Living in Historic Cairo: Past and Present in an Islamic City, examines the relationships between the inhabitants of Cairo and the historic space they occupy, as well as documenting the restoration of the al-Darb al-Ahmar neighbourhood by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) and other agencies. The book, edited by Dr Farhad Daftary, Professor Azim Nanji and the late Professor Elizabeth Fernea of the University of Texas, provides a useful contribution to the ‘museumification’ debate.
Dr Nader El-Bizri acted as an external academic consultant for London’s Science Museum to support the launch of the temporary exhibition, 1001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim Heritage in our World. The free exhibition runs from 21 January to 25 April 2010, (temporary closure between 25 February and 12 March). This ‘blockbuster’ exhibition attracted over 15,000 visitors in its first week of opening.
The IIS organised a panel presentation at the 45th Middle Eastern Studies Association (MESA) conference held in Washington DC, USA. The panel, entitled Fatimid Studies, continued on from the previous year’s panel, Approaches to Governance in the Fatimid Period.
Students from the IIS’ Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities (GPISH), Class of 2012, went on educational trips to Egypt and Syria during the summer. These visits provided the students with an opportunity to better understand the past and present dynamism of Muslim societies, including the Ismailis, in these regions.
Dr Otambek Mastibekov gave a presentation at The Institute of Ismaili Studies on History of Leadership and Authority in Tajikistan in March 2010 as part of the Occasional Lectures organised by the Central Asian Studies (CAS) project. The paper was based on his doctoral thesis entitled Leadership and Authority in Badakhshan of Tajikistan submitted to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
The Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) has awarded its fourth Annemarie Schimmel Scholarship, which is given every three years, to Dr Dina Le Gall, Associate Professor of History at Lehman College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and the Coordinator of the Middle Eastern Studies Program at Lehman College.
The Qur’anic Studies Unit has held the third and fourth lectures in the series: “The Meaning of the Word: Lexicology and Tafsir”. This series of lectures, organised by Dr Stephen Burge, aims to explore the relationships between Qur’anic tafsir (exegesis) and lexicology, which is the study of the meanings of words and their semantic relations.
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Dr Nuha al-Shaar, a Research Associate in the Institute’s Qur’anic Studies Unit, presented a paper at the 25th Congress of the Union Européenne des Arabisants et Islamisants (UEAI), held at the Università di Napoli “l’Orientale” in Naples from 8-12 September, 2010.
The Institute of Ismaili Studies is pleased to announce the publication of the next volume in the Epistles of the Brethren of Purity (Rasa’il Ikhwan al-Safa’) Series, entitled On Arithmetic and Geometry: An Arabic Critical Edition and English Translation of Epistles 1 & 2, edited and translated by Dr Nader El-Bizri.
The Quranic Studies Unit of the IIS’ Department of Academic Research and Publications hosted an occasional lecture by Dr Alessandro Cancian, entitled ‘Shi‘i Tafsir Classification and Sultan ‘Ali Shah’s Bayan al-Sa‘ada’. Dr Cancian has now joined the Unit as a Research Associate in October 2010.