Introduction and Goals
Inspired by the late Patricia Crone’s forum at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, this seminar aims to engage scholars interested in Muslim cultures and civilizations in the study of texts and manuscripts in the languages of the Muslim world, including but not limited to Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. Texts in “non-Islamic” languages that bear an Islamic context (that is, that were inspired, encouraged or responded to their Muslim surroundings) will also be considered. We welcome all disciplines, all periods and most types of written and visual forms. The seminar provides an opportunity for scholars of all backgrounds who are interested in various aspects of Islam to engage in a meaningful dialogue, to share quandaries over their ongoing research, and benefit from useful comparative perspectives. No previous background or linguistic knowledge is required.
Since 2006, the seminar has been convening once per year at Indiana University in Bloomington. Each meeting focuses on one particular, typically unpublished, text – often only a portion of the text – or image. The text is presented by one of the meeting’s participants, usually a guest scholar, who introduces his/her text-related research topic and raises questions and interpretations pertaining to that research. The meeting’s leader is responsible for circulating in advance both the text in the original language – ideally one-to-two pages long – and its English translation to the other participants, thus contributing to a more informed discussion.
Previous Seminar Leaders
- Cornell Fleischer (University of Chicago): Ottoman Legal Texts
- Devin Stewart (Emory University): Arabic Biographical Dictionaries
- Everett Rowson (New York University): Medieval Arabic Erotica
- Alexandre Papas (Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Paris): Islamic Historiography of Xinjiang
- Florian Schwarz (Institut für Iranistik, Austrian Academy of Sciences): Central Asian waqf
- Adam Sabra (UC Santa Barbara): Sufism in 16th-century Egypt
- Sabine Schmidtke (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton): Islamic Intellectual History
- Sholeh Quinn (UC Merced): Persian History Writing
- Matthew Melvin-Koushki (South Carolina): Occult Sciences in the Persianate World
- Selim Kuru (University of Washington): Sexually Explicit Ottoman Stories
- Mika Natif (George Washington University): Islamic Indo-Persian Illuminated Manuscripts