UChicago Shi'i Studies Group Symposium: Sectarian Identity and Community Formation in Islam

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The University of Chicago Shiʿi Studies Group
Swift Hall, 1025 E. 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
Free and Open to the Public

Light Breakfast – (8:45-9:20)

Opening Remarks – (9:20-9:30)     

Mohammad Sagha (University of Chicago) and Zach Winters (University of Chicago)

Panel 1 – Shi’a-Sunni Dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean (9:30-11:30)

1. Pascal Abidor (McGill University), Public Faces of Ottoman Shi’ism: The ʿĀmilī ʿUlamāʾ and the Matāwila Shaykhs
2. Abdul Rahman Latif (Columbia University), Ottoman Menakibnames and 'Alid Identity
3. Seyed Amir Asghari (Indiana University), Shī’a Mysticism in Bektashi Doctrines
4. Linda Sayed (Michigan State University), The Writing of Shiʿi History during the French Mandate

Coffee break (11:30-12:00)

Panel 2 – The Geopolitics of Shi’ism in the Middle East (12:00 – 1:30)

1. Payam Mohseni (Harvard University), Iran and the Geopolitics of Regional Order
2. Hassan Ahmadian (Harvard University), Armed Movements and Religious Mobilization in the Middle East
3. Mohammad Sagha (University of Chicago), Shi’i Islam and Politics in the Middle East: State of the Field

Lunch – (1:30-2:30)

Panel 3 – Denominations, Sects, and Identity in the Islamic Tradition (2:30-4:30)

1. Aun Ali (University of Colorado, Boulder), Sunnī ḥadīth in Imāmī law
2. I-Wen Su (National Chengchi University), Moving towards the Four-Caliphs Thesis? The Early Kūfan Traditionists’ Views on the Rightly Guided Caliphs
3. Roy Vilozny (University of Haifa), Did Ibn Taymiyya Really Not Understand al-ʽAllāma al-Ḥillī?
4. Ahmad Chehab (University of Michigan), Alawites and the Syrian Civil War: Orthodoxy, Violence and the Concept of Islam

Keynote Lecture, Maria Dakake (Professor of Islamic Thought, George Mason University) – 4:30-6:30
Co-Sponsored with the University of Chicago Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) Friday Lecture Series

Dinner – 6:30

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Saturday, Oct. 27

Panel 4 – Jewish-Shi’i Socio-Cultural History (9:00 – 10:30)

1. Moshe Yagur (University of Michigan), Conversion as a non-issue: conversion to and from Judaism under the Fatimids
2. Miriam Frenkel (Hebrew University), Ritual Encounters in Fatimid Jerusalem
3. Orit Bashkin (University of Chicago), How the Jews of Hilla learned to hate Mu‘awaiya: Shi‘i Jewish relations in Hashemite Iraq

Coffee break (10:30-10:45)

Panel 5 – Isma’ili Origins and Problematizing Sectarian Identity (10:45-12:15)

1. Paul Walker (University of Chicago), The Origin, Earliest History and Doctrine of the Taʿlīmiyya
2. Rodrigo Adem (El Colegio de México), Ismāʿīlism as Original Shīʿism
3. Khalil Andani (Harvard University), “Ismailism”: The Sectarian Construction of a Scholarly Category

Lunch – (12:15-1:00)

Panel 6 – Shi’i Identity and Interpretation (1:00 – 3:00)

1. Ibrahim Kazerooni (University of Detroit), Construction of Muslim Identity via Shi’a Interpretive Practice
2. Cameron Zargar (UCLA), Taqlīd 's Function in Creating a Community of Pious Imamis
3. Louis Medoff (The Shi’ah Institute), What Makes a Modern Shiʿi Tafsīr Shiʿi?
4. Seyede Pouye Khoshkhoosani (Northwestern University), Shi‘ism in the Safavid Masnavīs: What Does a Shi‘i King Mean for the Safavid Poets?

Coffee break (3:00-3:15)

Panel 7 – Political Parties and Movements in Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan (3:15-5:15)

1. Marsin Almashary (MIT), The Ideological Transformation of the Da’wa Party (1958-2018)
2. Robert Riggs (University of Bridgeport), Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr’s Social Movement: Sectarian Formation?
3. Abed Kanaaneh (Columbia University), The New Lebanese Nationalism: The Muqawamah (Resistance) Nationalism
4. Krishna Kulkarni (University of Chicago), The Hazaras, Shi’ism, and Community Formation in Modern Afghanistan

Closing remarks

About the Symposium

The University of Chicago Shiʿi Studies Symposium is an endeavor of the Shiʿi Studies Group, established in 2010, to provide an interdisciplinary, non-area-specific forum for the discussion of research on Shiʿism by faculty and graduate students at the University and beyond. The annual symposium aims to strengthen the field of Shiʿi Studies by bringing together a group of both senior and early-career scholars to present research and to cultivate an environment for intellectual discussion and collaboration. At each symposium we aim to address a focused set of questions with cross-cutting relevance to scholars working on various periods and from various disciplinary perspectives. Organizers: Mohammad Sagha (msagha@uchicago.edu) and Zach Winters (zwinters@uchicago.edu). For any questions or assistance for persons with disabilities please contact the organizers.