Reflections on Ismaili Studies: Standing on Poonawala’s Shoulders at the UCLA Asia Institute

A conference to honor the career of Professor Ismail Poonawala.

Conference Participants:
Dr. Sumaiya Hamdani, George Mason University
Dr. Omar Ali-de-Unzaga, Research Associate, The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London
Dr. Daryoush Mohammad Poor, Reseach Associate, The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London

Dr. Ismail Poonawala

Dr. Ismail Poonawala

The rihla or journey is a rite often attributed to scholars of distinction in Islam’s past.  In the case of Dr. Ismail Poonawala, and other Ismail scholars of his generation, the rihla was a rite that not only involved geographic relocation but one that facilitated access to a rich and complex intellectual tradition in Islam for a larger audience. This paper will discuss how Dr. Poonawala’s publication of the Biobliography of Ismaili Literature (1977), as well as his other publications, paved the way for scholarly consideration of Ismaili Shiism’s role in and engagement with the intellectual debates and traditions of Islam in the classical period, and thereafter.

Reflections on Ismaili Studies: Standing on Poonawala's Shoulders at the UCLA Asia InstituteAl-Rihla al-Ismailiyya: Reflections on Ismailis in Ismaili StudiesDr. Sumaiya Hamdani received her B.A. from Georgetown University and M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University in the field of Islamic history. Dr. Hamdani’s book, Between Revolution and State: the Construction of Fatimid Legitimacy (I.B. Tauris 2006) examines the development of legal and historical literature by the Ismaili Shi’i Fatimid state.

Reflections on Ismaili Studies: Standing on Poonawala's Shoulders at the UCLA Asia InstituteThe Ismailis and the Qur’an: Is there an Ismaili Ta’wil?Dr Omar Ali-de-Unzaga is the Academic Coordinator of the Qur’anic Studies Unit and a Research Associate in the Department of Academic Research and Publications. He was a recipient of the IIS PhD Scholarship in 1999, and is currently involved in a number of research programmes and publications at the IIS.

Reflections on Ismaili Studies: Standing on Poonawala's Shoulders at the UCLA Asia Institute Ismailis and Philosophy: A Critical Rationalist PerspectiveDr Daryoush Mohammad Poor joined the IIS in 2002 and, since then, has contributed as a translator for a number of departments including the Department of Academic Research and Publications, Project Tajikistan, the Department of Curriculum Studies and the IIS website. Currently, he is a Research Associate in the Department of Academic Research and Publications. Prior to this, he served as Editorial Researcher, contributing to the Encyclopaedia Islamica project.

via Reflections on Ismaili Studies: Standing on Poonawala’s Shoulders at the UCLA Asia Institute.

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