Saba Mahmood, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley, passed away on March 10th, 2018. The cause was pancreatic cancer. Professor Mahmood specialized in Sociocultural Anthropology and was a scholar of modern Egypt.
Mahmood made path-breaking contributions to contemporary debates on secularism, opening up new ways of understanding religion in public life and contesting received assumptions about both religion and the secular. Against an increasingly shrill scholarship denouncing Muslim societies, she brought a nuanced and educated understanding of Islam into discussions of feminist theory, ethics and politics. Her publications and presentations have reverberated throughout the humanities and social sciences, profoundly shaping the scholarship of a new generation of scholars as they develop a thoughtful, knowledgeable, and critical approach to religion in modernity.
The University Committee on Asia and the Middle East (UCAME) announces the de Bary undergraduate summer language fellowship for non-U.S. citizens who are working on East Asian, Middle Eastern, and South Asian studies. This year, one award of 8K will be made for each of the three regions. Interested applicants should submit a one-page statement of purpose that describes their plan of language study; an official transcript; and one letter of recommendation to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is Friday March 23. Applicants must have already completed a minimum of one year’s study in the language.
On Thursday, March 22, 2018, at 5pm, MEI Faculty Dagmar Riedel, Marie Curie scholar in Madrid, will discuss her fellowship project on the manuscripts of the Kitāb al-shifāʾ by the Malikī jurist ʿIyāḍ b. Mūsā al-Yaḥsubī (1083–1149 CE), also known as Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ. This talk is part of the Religion and Writing Seminar.
With the support of new technology and conservation techniques, Columbia University Libraries and a group of Philadelphia-area institutions have received a three-year $500,000 grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to digitize hundreds of manuscripts and paintings. The project will shed light on both the rich cultural heritage of the Muslim world and the collaboration between Islamic civilizations and the West. Religion, medicine, history, literature, astronomy and mathematics are among the subjects in the collection.
Friday, Feb 23, 2018 at 10:00 am
219 Aaron Burr Hall, Princeton University
As scholars engaged in the study of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, we are frequently confronted with a shared set of theoretical challenges: What epistemologies do we employ? On what terms may we connect, compare and contrast conceptual vocabularies sourced from across these regions? How do colonial structures and rubrics intervene in our scholarship, and is it possible to think past them? At this year's MESAAS Graduate Student Conference 2018, we hope to build a repertory of integrative modes of researching these regions that transcends the orthodox model of area studies.
Keynote lecture by Prof. Simon Gikandi, Princeton University.
Plenary session: discussion of MEI director Brinkley Messick's Shari'a Scripts.
MEI Faculty Lila Abu-Lughod delivers the 2018 Clifford Geertz Commemorative Lecture at Princeton University.
Following in Geertz’ footsteps by thinking comparatively, Abu-Lughod will reflect on Palestine’s apparent political impasses in relation to the experiences of other colonized places and peoples. This reflection is inspired specifically by the current ferment in critical indigenous and native studies about settler colonialism in places like Australia and North America. And now Palestine. New imaginations of sovereignty and self-determination are emerging in indigenous activism, whether enabled by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People or the politics of refusal of liberal “recognition.” The journey goes to a variety of museums and ritual spaces of recognition and ends with questions about how to judge the efflorescence of recent Palestinian cultural projects like the new Palestinian Museum. The infatuation with the framework of settler colonialism in Palestinian studies is, however contested and even problematic, productive precisely because of the way it generates comparisons and solidarities that burst open exhausted political imaginations and bring together the political, material, and moral.
Columbia University's popular student group, The Muslim Protagonist presents its annual symposium to be held Saturday February 24, 2018.
The theme for this year's symposium is “Authenticity?” A series of panels and workshops will discuss Muslim representation in popular culture: Who gets to shape the Muslim Narrative? What kinds of stories are being told about Muslims? What makes a story “authentic”? And why should we care?
Dr. Abed Kanaaneh joins the the Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia as a visiting scholar. He recently completed an award winning dissertation "Hizballah in Lebanon: Al-Muqawamah (Resistance) as a Contra-Hegemonic Project” at Tel Aviv University. His research interests include: Shiite political thought, radical Islamic movements, revolutionary thought in the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and new Marxism in the Middle East.
Abed was previously the co-director of the Equality Policy Department at Sikkuy—The Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality in Israel. He also headed communist member of parliament Dov Khenin’s staff and was the spokesperson of the Arab Center for Alternative Planning.
MEI congratulates Director Brinkley Messick on his new book, Shari'a Scripts: A Historical Anthropology.
A case study in the textual architecture of the venerable legal and ethical tradition at the center of the Islamic experience, Sharīʿa Scripts is a work of historical anthropology focused on Yemen in the early twentieth century. There—while colonial regimes, late Ottoman reformers, and early nationalists wrought decisive changes to the legal status of the sharīʿa, significantly narrowing its sphere of relevance—the Zaydī school of jurisprudence, rooted in highland Yemen for a millennium, still held sway.