UChicago Shi'i Studies Group Symposium: The Acquisition and Transmission of Knowledge Program Schedule

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University of Chicago Divinity School Swift Hall, 1025 East 58th Street, Chicago

Friday, April 1, 2016

8:00 am – 8:30 am: Light Breakfast

8:30 am – 8:45 am: Opening Remarks 

Mohammad Sagha: PhD Student, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

8:45 am – 10:45 am: 

Panel 1 – Premodern Seminaries and Epistemological Developments in Twelver Shīʿī Legal Thought

Discussant: Ahmed El Shamsy, Assistant Professor of Islamic Intellectual History, University of Chicago

1. Ahab Bdaiwi: Lecturer in Islamic and Iranian history, University of St. Andrews School of History

Neither Shiraz, Isfahan, nor Najaf: Shiʿi Learning in Medieval Bahrain, c. 1200-1300

2. Zackery M. Heern: Assistant Professor of Middle East and Islamic Studies, Idaho State University

One Thousand Years of Islamic Education in Najaf: Myth and History of the Shi‘i awza

3. Maryam Moazzen: Assistant Professor in Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Louisville

Dialogical and Hermeneutical Modes of Transmission: Engagement with Religious Knowledge in the Madrasas of Safavid Isfahan

4. Ali Rida Khalil Rizek: PhD candidate, Arabic and Islamic Studies, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany

Scholars of illa and Early Imāmī Legal Tradition Ibn Abī ʿAqīl and Ibn al-Junayd Retrieved

10:45 am – 11:00 am: Coffee Break

11:00 am – 1:00 pm: 

Panel 2 – Ismāʿīlī Institutions of Learning

Discussant: Franklin Lewis:  Associate Professor of Persian Language and Literature, University of Chicago

1. Paul Walker: Senior Lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Deputy Director for the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Chicago

The Ismāʿīlī Daʿwa as an Institution of Learning in the Fatimid Period

2. Samer Traboulsi: University of North Carolina at Asheville, Associate Professor of Middle East and Islamic history

Majālis al-ikma in the ayyibī Ismāʿīlī Tradition

3. Tahera Qutbuddin: Associate Professor of Arabic Literature, University of Chicago

Tayyibi Institutions of Advanced Learning in India: The Jami'a al-Sayfiyya and its Precursors

4. Aleem Karmali: Independent Researcher and Film Maker

Reinterpreting the Rāshidūn: Balancing Pluralism and Normativity in 21st Century Nizārī Ismāʿīlī Religious Education

1:00 pm – 2:45 pm: 

Lunch Panel and Roundtable Discussion: State of Shīʿī Studies

Moderator: Paul Walker: Senior Lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Deputy Director for the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Chicago

Rula Abisaab: Associate Professor of Islamic History at the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University

Hassan Ansari: Elizabeth and J. Richardson Dilworth Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ

Najam Haider: Assistant Professor of Religion, Barnard College, Columbia University

Andrew Newman: Reader in Islamic Studies and Persian, University of Edinburgh

Tahera Qutbuddin: Associate Professor of Arabic Literature, University of Chicago

2:45 pm – 4:30 pm: 

Panel 3 – Minor Ghayba Scholarly and Social Networks

Discussant: Najam Haider: Assistant Professor of Religion, Barnard College, Columbia University

1. Hassan Ansari: Elizabeth and J. Richardson Dilworth Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ

The Authorship of Kitāb al-Hidāyat al-Kubrā: The Chapter on the Hidden Imām

 2. Andrew Newman: Reader in Islamic Studies and Persian, University of Edinburgh

In Defense of the Faith: Twelver Shi'i Networking During al-Hayra

3. Mohammad Sagha: PhD Student, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

The Early Shīʿī Underground: Formal and Informal Imāmī Networks and Institutions during the Minor Occultation

4:30 pm – 6:00 pm:  

Keynote Address: Rula Abisaab, Associate Professor of Islamic History at the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University. Stuart Hall, Room 105

Reform and Pietism: the `Amilī Ṭalaba at Najaf’s Ḥawza, 1920-1943

(Merged with the Friday Lecture Series at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies)

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Reception and Dinner

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Saturday, April 2, 2016

8:30 am – 9 am: Light Breakfast

9:00 am – 10:45 am: 

Panel 4 – Modern Seminary Thinkers and Claims to Legitimacy

Discussant: Orit Bashkin, Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History, University of Chicago

1. Elvire Corboz: Assistant Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Aarhus University

Scholarly Capital in the Iraqi Marja‘iyya Field

2. Zahra Moeini Meybodi: MA Student in Religious Studies, University of Chicago, Divinity School

Morteża Moṭahhari and the Configuration of an 'Aqlānī Ijtihād

3. Edith A. Szanto: Assistant Professor, the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani

Learning Piety in Sayyida Zaynab:  Women’s Hawza Education in Syria

10:45 am – 11:00 am: Coffee Break

11:00 am – 12:45 pm: 

Panel 5 – Early Shīʿī Genres of Literature

Discussant: Hassan Ansari: Elizabeth and J. Richardson Dilworth Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ

1. Sulayman Hassan: PhD Candidate, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

The Nawādir Genre: The Structure of Early Imamī Hadith Compilations

2. Edmund Hayes: Visiting Faculty Fellow, Colby College

The Tawqīʿat and Masāʾil Genres: a Textual Archaeology of Pre- and Early-Occultation Institutions of Knowledge Dissemination

3. Roy Vilozny: Telv Aviv University and The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

The Amālī and Majālis: an Attempt at a Reexamination

12:45 pm – 2:00 pm: Lunch

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm:

Panel 6 – Social Sciences and the Modern Ḥawza

Discussant: Maryam Moazzen: Assistant Professor in Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Louisville

1. Rachel Kantz Feder: Lecturer, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Tel Aviv University, Deptartment of Middle Eastern and African History

Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr and the Epistemological and Political Challenge of Modern Psychology

2. Milad Odabaei: PhD Candidate in Social and Cultural Anthropology, Program in Critical Theory, University of California, Berkeley

The Shi’i Tradition in Post-revolutionary Iran: an Ethnographic Engagement

3:00 pm – 3:15 pm: Final Comments 

Zach Winters: MA Student, Center for Middle Eastern Studies,  University of Chicago

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. 

This event is free and open to the public and will be held at the University of Chicago Divinity School: Swift Hall, 1025 East 58th Street, Chicago. Funding and support for this symposium is provided by various funders within the University of Chicago, including the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the Stevanovich Institute for the Formation of Knowledge, the Norman Wait Harris Fund, the Nicholson Center for British Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Division of the Social Sciences, the Council for Advanced Studies Islamic Studies workshops and MEHAT workshops, the Department for Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, the Department of Anthropology, the Department of History, and the Martin Marty Center at the Divinity School. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance should email zwinters@uchicago.edu. All other inquires may be directed to Mohammad Sagha at msagha@uchicago.edu.

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