Every summer, first year students from the Graduate Studies Programme have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture and language of an Arabic-speaking country and to study the culture’s classical and historical texts. From July to early August of this year, 13 students spent 6 intensive weeks in Fez, Morocco.
On 23rd March 2001, the Institute invited Dr Iftikhar Malik to speak at the fourth session of the “Civil Society in Comparative Muslim Contexts” seminar series. Dr Malik, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and author of several books on Pakistan and Muslim politics, gave an insightful presentation titled “Pakistan: Between Identity Politics and Civil Society” , which looked primarily at the changing relationship between Islam and State in South Asia and Pakistan.
The Institute announces two of its recent publications: Al-Ghazali and the Ismailis: A Debate on Reason and Authority in Medieval Islam by Farouk Mitha and The Master and the Disciple: An Early Islamic Spiritual Dialogue, the Arabic text and English translation of Ja‘far b. Mansur al-Yaman’s Kitab ‘Alim wa’l-Ghulam, by James W Morris. Both works are published in collaboration with I. B. Tauris.
The first World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES) , attended by over 2000 experts from all branches of the humanities, social sciences and related disciplines, was held at the University of Mainz, Germany from September 8 - 13, 2002. The IIS presented a two-part panel entitled “Multidimensional Approaches to Shi‘i Studies” as part of the proceedings.
Invited by the University of Waterloo, Canada as part of its “2020: Building the Future Distinguished Speaker Series”, Professor Azim Nanji , Director of the Institute addressed an audience of faculty, students and guests on the topic “Beyond the Clash of Civilizations”.The lecture series, organised by the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group (WPIRG) and initiated by students of the University, aims to create an arena for informed discussion and dialogue about the nature of global society and to explore emerging trends and transformations in the decades ahead.
Dr Shainool Jiwa, Qur’anic Studies Co-ordinator at The Institute of Ismaili Studies, was recently appointed as chief examiner in Islamic History for the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), based in Geneva. Dr Jiwa succeeds Professor Carole Hillenbrand, Chair in Islamic History at the University of Edinburgh, in her 5-year appointment.
The Institute is pleased to announce its second publication exploring devotional and mystical literatures of the Nizari Ismailis of the Subcontinent: Ecstasy and Enlightenment: The Ismaili Devotional Literature of South Asia by Ali S Asani . The work is the 6th monograph in the Ismaili Heritage Series and is published in association with I.B. Tauris.
The musical traditions of Badakhshan are in many ways unique. In addition to the doira (tambourine), the guitar and the accordion, a number of different string instruments are used such as the rubab, balandamaqom, setar and tanbur to accompany the performance of Badakhshani singers.
The University of Exeter, which has one of the leading institutes of Arab and Islamic Studies in the United Kingdom, awarded honorary degrees to 2 distinguished intellectuals – Professor Edward Said and Professor Mohamed Arkoun on April 18, 2001. Professors Said and Arkoun were presented with honorary Doctor of Letters degrees in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the field of Arab and Islamic Studies.
Professor Azim Nanji , Director of The Institute of Ismaili Studies, opened this year’s 9-week Helen Boyle 2002 Abrahamic Initiative Lectures hosted by the Chautauqua Institution in New York State. His talk, conducted on June 28, 2002 addressed the topic of “Islam and Beauty.”
A year-long seminar series on “Civil Society in Comparative Muslim Contexts” culminated in the IIS’ latest publication, edited by Dr Amyn B. Sajoo . During the course of the series, leading scholars were invited to the Institute to address approaches to civil life across the Muslim world - from democratic and cultural expressions to human rights.
Attracting more than 800 participants, this year’s Annual Seminar in Tajikistan, organised by the IIS’ Project Tajikistan in collaboration with the Tajik Academy of Sciences, explored the theme of “Faith and Intellect”.
Professor Azim Nanji, Director of the IIS, was invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to participate in the two-day seminar, “Building Bridges: Overcoming Obstacles in Christian-Muslim Relations”, held at Lambeth Palace in January 2002. Nearly 40 Muslim and Christian scholars from Britain and around the world gathered in an interfaith dialogue to listen and grow in mutual understanding, to offer fresh insights and to build bridges of friendship and respect.
Each year the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) recognizes an outstanding doctoral dissertation with its Gail P Kelly Award. Created to honour the distinguished comparative educator Gail P Kelly, the Award honours a PhD or EdD dissertation that addresses social justice and equity in an international context. This year’s recipient is Dr Sarfaroz Niyozov, the Institute’s Central Asian Studies Co-ordinator.
The 3rd session in the “Civil Society in Comparative Muslim Contexts” seminar series was hosted by the Institute on February 16th, 2001. Dr Olivier Roy, a renowned scholar who has also been involved in international peace-making initiatives in the region, spoke on the topic of “Civic Identity in the New Central Asia”. Dr Roy surveyed the interplay of tradition and modernity in the quest to root civic culture in the post-Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
As part of the Institute’s “Civil Society in Comparative Muslim Contexts” Seminar Series, a full-day event was organised on June 15, 2001. Three speakers explored civil society within different contexts: Dr Norani Othman on Southeast Asia, with a specific focus on Malaysia and Indonesia; Dr Ziba Mir-Hosseini on gender and civil society in post-revolutionary Iran; and Professor Abdou Filali-Ansary on the concept of “civil society” and its manifestations in the Maghreb.
Expressions of the Pamir: Culture and Heritage of the Ismaili Muslims of Tajikistan,” a multifaceted event, produced and directed by Project Tajikistan of The Institute of Ismaili Studies, toured 5 European cities between May 8-June 11, 2002 after its widely acclaimed and highly publicised North American tour in 1999.
Two seminars were held at the Institute as part of the series on Muslim Pluralism, focusing on intellectual pluralism through the recent histories of Iran and the Indian subcontinent. Dr Farhang Jahanpour spoke on the topic of “Reform and Pluralism in Islam: The Responses of Contemporary Iranian Intellectuals” and Dr Faisal Devji addressed “Muhammad Iqbal and the Crisis of Representation in British India”.
The Institute of Ismaili Studies participated in this year’s conference of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES), the United Kingdom’s largest association of academics, researchers, students and other professionals promoting research on the Middle East and the Muslim world. This year’s conference, hosted by the University of Edinburgh from July 15 - 18, coincided with its 250th anniversary of teaching Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies.
The Institute of Ismaili Studies contributed a panel presentation and hosted the conference reception at the Fourth Biennial Conference on Iranian Studies in Bethesda, Maryland from May 24-26, 2002.