News story

IIS Awards Dissertation Writing Scholarship

1st March 2012

Dissertation Scholarship winner Shatha Almutawa IIS 2012.

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.

Shatha Almutawa’s dissertation, The Use of Narrative in Rasa’il Ikhwan al-Safa’: Imagination at the Intersections of Religion, Philosophy and Science, focuses on an aspect of the Epistles of the Brethren of Purity that has received very little attention in scholarship, despite the popularity of the work as a whole.

Her dissertation examines and compares the stories and fables that the Ikhwan al-Safa’ borrowed from other cultures (Indian, Greek, Jewish and Christian) as well as the original stories found in the Epistles. Taking the approach of an intellectual historian, she traces the origins of texts adopted by the Ikhwan and considers how the retelling of stories from other traditions and cultures transformed the stories, thus making them accessible to different and wider audiences. The creative techniques used by the Ikhwan al-Safa’ in order to make theological and philosophical arguments are also explored.

By studying the narratives told by the Ikhwan al-Safa’, Shatha Almutawa approaches questions about their identity, beliefs and their audiences in a new way. Her approach sheds light on the reception of the Epistles and the integration of the Ikhwan al-Safa’s thought into later seminal works on philosophy, theology, history and other sciences.

Since 2001, the Institute’s Dissertation Writing Scholarship, which carries a stipend of £3000 (or local equivalent), has been assisting promising graduate research students and doctoral candidates to complete their dissertations.