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UChicago Shi'i Studies Group Symposium: Shi'ism and Governance

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The University of Chicago Shiʿi Studies Group Symposium Schedule
The Franke Institute 1100 E 57th St, Chicago, IL 60637
Free and Open to the Public

Friday, May 12

9:00 am – 9:30 am: Light Breakfast (provided)

9:30 am – 9:45 am: Opening Remarks

Mohammad Sagha and Zach Winters: Graduate Directors, Shiʿi Studies Group; and, PhD Students, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

9:45 am – 11:15 am: Panel 1 – Clerical Politics in Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan
Discussant:  Orit Bashkin, Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History, University of Chicago

1.  Aun Hasan Ali: Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Colorado Boulder

Muammad Isāq Fayyā on Islamic Governance

2.  Elizabeth Bishop: Associate Professor Modern Arab History, Texas State University     

“Peace Partisans” in Najaf during the Cold War

3.  Cameron Zargar: PhD Student, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, UCLA

The Concept of “if al-niām”

4.  Mashal Saif: Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Clemson University

Minority Aspirations and the Pakistani State: Shī‘a Political Theology

11:15 am – 11:30 am: Coffee and Pastry Break

11:30 am – 12:45 pm: Panel 2 – Zaydi Movements, Claims to Legitimacy and Political Order
Discussant: Fred Donner, Professor of Near Eastern History, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

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

Daylami Dynastic Structures, Military-Factional Politics, and the Zaydī Imamate of the South Caspian

2.  Nebil Husayn: Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, University of Miami

Requisites of a Legitimate Caliph: Notes from A Zaydī Imām in Buyid Baghdad

3.  Richard Harrod: Independent Scholar

Qualified Isolationism: Reconsidering the amīd al-Dīn Imamate in the 20th Century

12:45 pm – 1:45 pm: Lunch (provided)

1:45 pm – 3:15 pm: Panel 3 –Elite and Popular Shiʿi Politics in the Middle East
Discussant: Laith Saud, PhD Candidate, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

1.  Seema Golestaneh: Assistant Professor of Iranian Studies, Indiana University Bloomington

Navigations on the Path: The Positionality of the Shariat and Tariqat in Post-Revolutionary Sufi Iran

2.  Elisheva Machlis: Teaching Fellow, Tel Aviv University; and, Research Fellow at the Truman Center for Peace Studies at the Hebrew University

Qom and the Revival of Mysticism and Theosophy Amidst Challenges to Religion-State Relations

3.  Peyman Eshaghi: PhD Student, Divinity School, University of Chicago

Political Legitimation, Public Piety, and Shiite Shrines: The Case of Imam Riza’s Shrine in Mashhad, Iran

4.  Ahmad Chehab: MA Student, Religious Studies, University of Detroit Mercy

Political Imamate in the thought of Ayatollah Kamal Haydari

3:30 pm – 5:30 pm: Roundtable Discussion: "What Makes Shiʿi Politics Unique?"
Panelists:
Orit Bashkin: Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History, University of Chicago

Fred Donner: Professor of Near Eastern History, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

Paul Walker: Senior Lecturer in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations & Deputy Director of  Academic Programs, Center for Middle Eastern Studies

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

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Reception and Dinner (joint with CMES)

**

Saturday, May 13

9:30 am – 10:00 am: Light Breakfast (provided)

10:00 am – 12:00 pm: Panel 4 – Messianic Thought and Theories on Leadership: the Formative and Safavid Periods
Discussant: Cornell Fleischer, Kanuni Suleyman Professor of Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies, University of Chicago

1.  Fariba Zarinbaf: Associate Professor of History, UC Riverside

Anatolian Origins of Safavid Shi'ism

2.  Zach Winters: PhD Student, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

The Musha‘sha‘ and Safavid Messianism

3.  Torsten Hylén: Lecturer in the history of religions at Dalarna University, Falun, Sweden.

Al-Mukhtār and the Aesthetics of Persuasion

4.  Roy Vilozny: Lecturer, University of Haifa, the Department of Arabic Language and Literature

On the Imāmī notion that humans are political by nature

5. Ali Ahmad Rasekh: Independent Scholar (PhD, Concordia University)

From al-Mufīd to al-Ḥalabī: Early Shiite Scholars and the Problem of Political Authority

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: Lunch (provided) 

1:00 pm – 2:15 pm: Panel 5 – Intersections between Shiʿi Political Theory, Theology, and Philosophy
Discussant: Ahmed El Shamsy, Professor of Islamic Intellectual History, University of Chicago

1.  Rodrigo Adem: Postdoctoral Fellow,  Islamic Studies, UNC Chapel Hill    

Theorizing Temporal Authority: Imamism as Political Theory and Theology

2.  Rasoul Namazi: Postdoctoral Scholar, Leo Strauss Center, University of Chicago

Sovereign Modern State and Ayatollah Khomeini’s Absolute Guardianship of the Jurist

3.  Ezra Tzfadya: PhD Candidate, Islamic Studies DAAD Doctoral Fellow, Germany

Straussian and Shiʿi Political Philosophy

2:15 pm – 2:30 pm: Coffee Break

2:30 pm – 3:45 pm: Panel 6 – Ismaʿili Political Dynamics
Discussant: Paul Walker, Senior Lecturer in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations & Deputy Director of  Academic Programs, Center for Middle Eastern Studies

1.  Mohamad Ballan, PhD Candidate, Department of History, University of Chicago

Competing Isma‘īlī Shī‘ī Notions of Succession in the 6th/12th Century: Revisiting the Hidāyah al-Āmiriyya fī Ibāl al-Da‘wa al-Nizāriyya

2.  Samuel Miller: MA Student, Divinity School, University of Chicago

The Divine Sovereignty of the Aga Khan IV: Assessing Contemporary Nizari Ismaili Political Imagination

3.  Shatha Almutawa: Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Willamette University

The King’s Dilemma: Ikhwan Al-Safa and Political Philosophy in the Abbasid Period

3:45 pm – 3:50 pm: Final Comments

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. Funding and support for this symposium is provided by various funders within the University of Chicago, including the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Council for Advanced Studies Islamic Studies and MEHAT workshops, the Department for Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, the Department of Anthropology, the Department of History, the Division of Social Sciences and the Martin Marty Center at the Divinity School. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance should email zwinters@uchicago.edu. Other inquiries can be directed towards Mohammad Sagha (msagha@uchicago.edu).

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