Event – October 16-17 | University of Chicago: Ismaili Studies Conference

The scope of Ismaili studies encompasses some 1400 years of Islamicate histories, thought, practices, demographies and cultures. Rather than approach these in atomised fashion based on periodisation or geography, the Conference will put experts across disciplines along with young researchers into conversations focused around cross-cutting conceptual themes. The Ismaili Studies Conference is a two day conference around five thematic panels allowing significant time for discussions and engagement between world-recognised academics, researchers, students and other participants.

The presenters on these Panels include the top names in Ismaili studies over the last decades including Professor Azim Nanji (former director of the Institute of Ismaili Studies), Professor Ali Asani (Harvard), Professor Karim H. Karim (Carleton), Dr. Paul Walker (Chicago), Professor Tahera Qutbuddin (Chicago), Professor Sumaiya A. Hamdani (George Mason). The speakers also include a contingent of Institute of Ismaili Studies scholars such as Dr. Shainool Jiwa, Dr. Jalal Badakhchani, Dr. Nourmamadcho Nourmamadchoev.

EVENT: Ismaili Studies Conference (ISC)
DATE: Thursday, October 16th, 2014 to Friday, October 17th, 2014
TIME:
October 16: 9:00 a.m  – 5:30 p.m CST
October 17: 9:00 a.m  – 4:30 p.m CST
VENUE: University of Chicago, Rooms W301-303, Gordon Center for Integrative Science, 929 E 57th Street, Chicago. IL 60637

ISC - Ismaili Studies Conference

The study of the Ismaili Shiʿi interpretations of Islam in the western academy, at its origins, was located in European sectarian constructions and based on Sunni heresiographies resulting in fantastical depictions of heresy and depravity. Over the past 100 years through the pioneering efforts of a few scholars, including those at the University of Chicago, this area of research has now become one of the most coherent and contiguously identifiable approaches to the study of Islamicate communities. Despite a sizable and significant production of scholarship there has never been a conference examining the state of the field. This Conference will bring together leading scholars in Ismaili studies with students, academics in other fields and interested members of the community.

  1. To examine the field by assessing the areas of progress made in past decades

  2. To chart vectors and approaches of current scholarship and explore priorities and needs for future studies

  3. To place the study of Ismaili interpretations specifically and Shiʿi Islam generally within the wider inter-disciplinary scholarship on Islam and religion

The scope of Ismaili studies encompasses some 1400 years of Islamicate histories, thought, practices, demographies and cultures. Rather than approach these in atomised fashion based on periodisation or geography, the Conference will put experts across disciplines along with young researchers into conversations focused around cross-cutting conceptual themes. The Ismaili Studies Conference is a two day conference around five thematic panels allowing significant time for discussions and engagement between world-recognised academics, researchers, students and other participants.

Ismaili Studies Conference (ISC) is part of a three-day event and is followed by the Islamicate Studies Symposium. Which culminates with an evening program — part of Humanities Day — consisting of: a presentation of Mosque Alert by Silk Road Rising followed by the Keynote Address and ends with a musical performance organised by Wanees Zarour director of the Middle East Music Ensemble.

Day 1: Thursday 16 October 2014

09:00 Welcome

  • Shiraz Hajiani (Chicago) Michael J. Bechtel (Chicago)
  • Tahera Qutbuddin (Chicago)
  • Associate Professor of Arabic Literature
  • Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and the College
  • Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities

10:00 Sources and Approaches

  • Chair: Professor Franklin Lewis (Chicago)
  • Shumaila Hemani (Alberta): The Aga Khan Bands as a ‘Source’ for Ismaili History-Who Narrates? — Towards A Post-Structuralist/Post-Orientalist Turn in the Historiography of the Ismailis
  • Karim Tharani (Saskatchewan): The Protector-Researcher Conundrum: Sharing Sources and Reconciling Approaches in the Digital Age
  • Professor Samer Traboulsi (UNC-A): Sources for the History of the Ṭayyibī Ismāʿīlī Daʿwa in Yemen and its Relocation to India
  • Dr. Paul Walker (Chicago): Where are We in the Recovery of Ismaili Texts from the Fatimid Period: Manuscripts, Editions and Translations

12:00 Lunch Break

13:00 Texts, Literatures and Their Uses

  • Chair: Professor Regula Qureshi (Alberta)
  • Dr. Mir Baiz Khan (ITREB-Canada): Texts and contexts of Ismaili Religious Practices in Afghanistan
  • Dr. Karim Gillani (Alberta): Exploring ‘ginan’ within the Indo-Muslim Cultural Context
  • Professor Jo-Ann Gross (College of NJ): Ethnographic Research, Textual Scholarship and Material Culture: Approaches to Study of Confessional and Communal Identity among the Ismāʿīlīs of Badakhshan
  • Karim Javan (IIS): Dīwān-i Qāʾimiyyāt, a Resonance of Glory and Chivalry
  • Dr. Aziz Qutbuddin (AASSIA, SOAS): A Methodology for the Analysis of Taḥmīd in Fatimid Texts: The Relational Approach

15:00 Break

15:30 Thought

  • Chair: Dr. Paul Walker (Chicago)
  • Khalil Andani (Harvard): From Divine Word to Prophetic Word: Revelation in the thought of Nasir-i Khusraw
  • Dr. Jalal Badakhchani (IIS): In the light of Resurrection: A glance into the main sources of Ismaili Thought during Alamut Period.
  • Dr. Alnoor Dhanani (Independent Scholar): A Fāṭimid response to the question of the integrity of the Qur’an. Qāḍī al-Nuʿmān’s interpretive strategy in the Kitāb al-walāya of al-Daʾāʿim fī l-islām
  • Professor David Hollenburg (Oregon): Fāṭimid taʾwīl and daʿwa knowledge
  • Professor Shin Nomoto (Keio U., Tokyo): Did the “Night Journey” lead the Prophet to eschatological visions? — Abū Ḥātim al-Rāzī’s (d. ca. 322/934) interpretation of the Qurʾanic Verses Related to the Prophet’s “Night Journey”

17:30 Adjourn to Day 2

Day 2: Friday 17 October 2014

09:00 Histories

  • Chair: Professor Robert Gleave (Exeter)
  • Daniel Beben (Indiana): Between Orality and Textuality: Ismāʿīlī Conversion Narratives from Badakhshān
  • Professor Rachel Howes (UC-Northridge): The Intellectual Community of Cairo and the ‘Great Crisis’: a Collective Response to Trauma?
  • Dr. Shainool Jiwa (IIS): Religious Pluralism and Pragmatic Governance: The Fatimid Mediterranean Experience (10th-11th Centuries)
  • Dr. Nourmamadcho Nourmamadchoev (IIS): The Politics of Rule in Badakhshan and the Place of Ismāʿīlīs
  • Aslisho Qurboniev (Oxford): The Living Imam: Religious and Political Authority in al-Shahrastānīʾs thought.

11:00 Break

11:30 Communities and Boundaries

  • Chair: Professor Ali Asani (Harvard)
  • Professor Iqbal Akhtar (FIU): The Woodcutter’s Tale (Kaṭhiyārōnī Kahāṇī): Historicizing the Indic Narrative Prayers of the Khōjā Caste
  • Professor Sumaiya Hamdani (George Mason): TBD
  • Professor Karim Karim (Carleton): Historiographic Asymmetries: The Contemporary Study of the Nizari Ismaili Past
  • Dr. Amier Saidula (IIS): The Ismailis of Xinjiang China: in the age of Transition 

13:30 Lunch Break

14:30 Plenary Round Table

Future Pathways of Ismaili Studies

  • Chair: Dr. Alnoor Dhanani (Independent Scholar)

Panelists:

  • Professor Ali Asani (Harvard)
  • Professor Sumaiya Hamdani (George Mason)
  • Professor Azim Nanji (Stanford & AKU)
  • Dr. Paul Walker (Chicago)
  • 16:30 Closing Address
  • Professor Karim Karim (Carleton)
  • Shiraz Hajiani (Chicago)

ISC Programme: http://teachingislam.org/ismailistudies/ISC_Programme.html


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One thought

  1. Amongst the Ismailis Bohras constitute its major community as far as the Taiyabi-Mustalian branch is concerned, and again this is subdivided into the Daudis, the Sulaymanis and the Alawis, and all these sects has meticulously preserved their Literary Heritage, so the representatives of the remaining two Bohras sects should be well informed of the conference and invited to attend well in advance so that their participation can yield to better achievements to the goal of such an historic conference.

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