The Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) has awarded its second Annemarie Schimmel Scholarship, which is given every three years, to Professor Rahile Dawut, Director of the Center for Anthropology and Folklore and Professor at the School of Humanities at Xinjiang University. One aim of Professor Dawut’s research is to further the understanding of Islam in China.
“The underlying principle is that we’re all engaged in an endeavour to build intellectual traditions” shared Professor Azim Nanji, at the first Biennial Gujarat Studies Association (GSA) Conference, held at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, on May 19-20, 2006. He spoke to scholars and interested individuals from around the world on the topic of “Gujarati Studies: A Heritage and its Futures”.
Students from the Class of 2007 of the Institute’s Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities traveled to Spain in February to visit some of the monuments they had studied in their Islamic Architecture course. The course, taught by Dr Thalia Kennedy, explores the forms, functions, and themes found in the architecture of Muslim societies.
'Everyday Modern: Cultural Politics in Iran' was the subject of Prof. Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi's lecture on 6 December 2007 in the series on 'Contemporary Islam(s) and Muslims'. Held at The Institute of Ismaili Studies, this third lecture in the series traced more than one hundred years of the emergence of private and public modernity in Iran.
The Department of Graduate Studies recently held its annual Career Pathways Seminar. The seminar provided an opportunity for first and second year students of the Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities (GPISH) to acquaint themselves with various career options within the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and at the IIS that they could consider upon completion of their studies.
The seventh annual ‘Summer Programme on Islam’ returned to the UK this year and was held in the historic surroundings of Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge. Thirty-six participants from twelve countries (Canada, Iran, Kenya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, UAE, UK, and USA) participated in the eight-day programme.
A three-member delegation from the Moscow-based Institute of Oriental Studies (IOS), visited the IIS on 28 February 2008 to explore possible areas of collaboration between the two institutions. The delegation comprised the Director of IOS, Professor Rastislav Rybakov, their Academic Coordinator, Dr. Nadejda Yemeliyanova, and Mr. Davlat Khudonazarov, who is a Research Fellow at the IOS.
The Class of 2009 of the Institute’s Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities (GPISH) recently submitted their field project reports. The report is a culmination of the field-based research project they undertake at the end of their two years at the IIS.
The latest IIS publication, An Anthology of Ismaili Literature: A Shi‘i Vision of Islam, brings together extracts from a range of Ismaili texts, in both poetry and prose. Edited by Herman Landolt, Samira Sheikh and Kutub Kassam, the book aims to further readers’ knowledge of Ismaili history and thought by providing a glimpse into the intellectual life of the Ismaili communities in their own voices.
The European Chapter Group held a two day annual meeting at the University of Westminster in London over the weekend of 5th and 6th April 2008. Guest speakers included Karen Armstrong and Nimet Rener.
Over 120 guests, including faculty, staff and students of the Institute as well as its key supporters, commemorated the graduation of the Class of 2005 at a ceremony held at London’s Royal Geographic Society on November 27th, 2004. The students, who commenced the Institute’s Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities in September 2002, are now pursuing Masters Degrees at various UK universities.
The Institute of Ismaili Studies organised a series of events to commemorate the 1,000th birth anniversary of the poet, philosopher and traveller, Nasir Khusraw, in early September 2003. In addition to hosting a three-day international conference on Nasir Khusraw in Khorog, Tajikistan, the Institute also collaborated in the production of a play and concert, the hosting of an awards ceremony and the release of several publications in Tajik-Cyrillic.
A ‘Historical Atlas of Islam’ was published by Harvard University Press in May 2004. In this beautifully illustrated work, Dr. Malise Ruthven, in collaboration with the Institute’s Director, Professor Azim Nanji, has consolidated an eminently accessible account of various facets of Islam and Muslim societies.
The largest ever meeting of the Middle Eastern Studies Association of North America (MESA) took place in Washington, DC from November 23-26, 2002. This year's conference attracted over 2,200 participants and provided a forum to share recent scholarship as well as showcase new art and cinema focusing on the Middle East and the Muslim world. "Identity and Community in Ismaili Societies" was the theme of the Institute's panel.
Muslim Ethics: Emerging Vistas by Amyn B. Sajoo is the third monograph in the Institute’s category of publications that explore specific aspects of Muslim faith and culture. The present work explores Muslim ethics in the contemporary context, investigating a wide range of themes.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Divinity Department of Eton College in Windsor, UK has invited an IIS scholar to address issues of Islam and the contemporary world. This year, Dr Nader El-Bizri spoke to 250 Lower Sixth Form (17-year-old) boys on the nature of Islam and the political world order.
The fourth in a series of collection catalogues published by the Library of The Institute of Ismaili Studies, Arabic Ismaili Manuscripts: The Zahid ‘Ali Collection by Delia Cortese, completes the cataloguing of the Library’s Arabic Ismaili corpus of 738 manuscripts acquired up to 1998. The latest catalogue is entirely devoted to the body of manuscripts which formerly belonged to the Musta‘li Ismaili scholar, the late Dr Zahid ‘Ali(1888-1958), and was donated to the IIS by the ‘Ali family in 1997.