Deadline Approaching: IQSA International Meeting 2021 Call for Papers

Call for Papers: IQSA International Meeting 2021
“Giorgio La Pira” Library, Palermo, Sicily

The International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) is happy to announce its fourth biennial conference from July 4-11, 2021, hosted by the “Giorgio La Pira” Library (Palermo, Italy). This international conference will welcome papers on any topic within the range of the interests of the Qur’anic text encouraging in particular papers that will explore the theme Qur’an in contact: Plurality of views from other traditions, disciplines and peripheries

PalermoThe “Giorgio La Pira” Library and Research Centre in Palermo, Sicily, is a ‘twin’ of the “Giuseppe Dossetti” Library in Bologna, both established by the Foundation for Religious Studies “John XXIII” (FSCIRE).

FSCIRE is a leading research institution in Italy. It coordinates the European starting community ReiReS (Research Infrastructure on Religious Studies) and the European research infrastructure RESILIENCE; it is the founder and promoter of the European Academy of Religion and it hosts the UNESCO Chair on Religious Pluralism and Peace.

In October 2018, the “Giorgio La Pira” Library was established as a research centre specialised in the history and doctrines of Islam, with the aim of representing all its linguistic, doctrinal, and cultural varieties. The library is dedicated to Giorgio La Pira (1904-1977), a Sicilian scholar and political leader who played a key role in the peace movement throughout his life and career.

One of the main goals of the “Giorgio La Pira” Library and Research Centre is to represent all traditions of Islam and to encourage their research cooperation, in an effort to create an area of rights and understanding through scientific progress in the fields of history, theology, jurisprudence, philosophy, and philology.

ee-large copy

The organizers encourage submissions of proposals in any topic of Qur’anic scholarship, and in particular:

  1. a) themes related to other traditions within and outside Islam in order to foster plurality of views and a comparative perspective;
  2. b) contributions from scholars in other disciplines who are tangentially connected to the Qur’an and Qur’anic studies literature thus contributing their original voice into the flourishing of the discipline of Qur’anic studies.

If circumstances will allow for travelling and for people gathering in Palermo, the conference will be held in a hybrid format. The meeting will be structured as follows:

  • July 4-7, 2021: this portion of the conference will be entirely virtual.
  • July 8-11, 2021: this portion of the conference will be Hybrid. In-person attendees will be able to present at the La Pira Library. All equipment necessary to facilitate interaction between virtual and in-person attendees will be made available.

During registration you will be asked if you are interested in attending the conference in person. This is not a commitment to attending in person. We know that for many people, travel planning is currently not possible, and we expect the majority of participants to attend virtually. However, if circumstances do allow, and you would be open in coming in-person, please note your interest. We have a limited number of spots for which we can provide full or partial accommodation.

The Palermo IQSA Conference Committee welcomes proposals of single papers as well as panels that gather selected speakers invited by the proponent to present on a specific topic.

Please note that all proposals for single papers must include:

  • Author name and affiliation
  • Paper title
  • 200-word paper abstract (in English)

while proposals for panels must include:

  • Chair name and affiliation
  • Panel title
  • 200-words panel abstract (in English)
  • speakers contacted and selected by the proponent and title of each paper.

Applicants are kindly asked to submit their abstracts to the attention of Dr. Alba Fedeli at, by April 23, 2021. The organizing committee will send a notification of acceptance for abstracts on May 16, 2021.

Should you have any questions regarding the submission of proposals, please contact the conference director, Dr Alba Fedeli, at

Conference registration fees are structured as follows:

  • Students to assistant professors – IQSA members: $50 USD / Non-IQSA members: $100 USD
  • Associate professors and above – IQSA members $75 USD / Non-IQSA members: $150 USD
  • Members of the public – $150 USD
  • Affiliates to the “Giorgio La Pira” Library will receive a special code for registration.

The event registration page is

Individuals in the Global South interested in attending the conference should email for accommodations. Any other questions concerning the registration process should also be addressed to

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.

Online Workshop: An Introduction to Arabic Manuscripts

The UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies is offering a free, intensive online workshop, “An Introduction to Arabic Manuscripts,” on August 23-27, 2021. The application link can be found here:


Kitāb al-Diryāq, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS Arabe 5847, f. 37r

This week-long workshop features leading authorities on the study of Arabic manuscripts. The workshop will equip emerging scholars with the basic tools to conduct research with original handwritten texts in Arabic script.

Over the course of five days, participants will learn the basics of codicology, paleography, and manuscript production and circulation, in the context of an expansive vision of current debates in Arabic manuscript research.

Topics include:

  • anatomy of the codex
  • canonical and informal scripts
  • colophons, audition notes, owners’ notes, readers’ notes
  • digital collections
  • ethics and best practices
  • scribes and other craftspeople
  • strategies for decipherment
  • supports, bindings
  • technical terminology
  • transmission practices and patterns

Enrollment is free of charge. Full participation is by application only. Others may observe via webinar.

Application deadline is 22 April 2021. Apply at
All applicants are welcome, regardless of home institution; priority will be given to PhD students and untenured scholars with compelling need to use Arabic manuscripts in their research.

Co-sponsored by Princeton and UCLA, which house the two largest repositories of Islamicate manuscripts in North America.

Organizers: Marina Rustow (Princeton) and Luke Yarbrough (UCLA)

UCLA event website and list of sponsors:

Princeton website coming soon!

For questions not addressed above or on the web page, please contact: CNES [at]

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.

New Periodical: Journal of Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies (JLAIBS)

Edinburgh University Press recently launched a new periodical, the Journal of Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies (JLAIBS). The JLAIBS as a hotspot for interdisciplinary dialogue aims to disseminate new approaches and methodologies that intend to transform our understanding of broader Late Antique and Medieval phenomena, such as knowledge transfer and cultural exchanges, by looking beyond single linguistic traditions or political boundaries. It provides a forum for high-quality articles on the interactions and cross-cultural exchange between different traditions and of the so-called Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world. Thematically, the journal also welcomes submissions dealing individually with Late Antique, Byzantine and Islamic literature, history, archaeology, and material culture from the fourth to the fifteenth century. 

Articles should be written in English and can be up to 15,000 words in total length (i.e. including all footnotes, bibliography and any appendices). Submissions to Journal of Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies should be formatted in accordance with the full JLAIBS style guidelines and sent as Word and PDF files to

Dr Petros Bouras-Vallianatos (University of Edinburgh)
Dr Marie Legendre (University of Edinburgh) 
Dr Yannis Stouraitis (University of Edinburgh)

 Editorial board:
Prof. Peter Adamson (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) 
Prof. Gianfranco Agosti (Sapienza Università di Roma) 
Assoc. Prof. Corisande Fenwick (University College London)  
Prof. Robert Hoyland (New York University)  
Prof. Marc Lauxtermann (University of Oxford)  
Prof. Maria Mavroudi (University of California, Berkeley)
Prof. Annliese Nef (Université Paris 1 Panthéon)  
Prof. Dr Johannes Pahlitzsch (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz) 
Assoc. Prof. Arietta Papaconstantinou (University of Reading) 
Assoc. Prof. Maria Parani (University of Cyprus) 
Prof. Samuel Rubenson (Lund University)  
Assoc. Prof. Kostis Smyrlis (National Hellenic Research Foundation/Athens)  
Assoc. Prof. Jack Tannous (Princeton University)  
Assoc. Prof. Alicia Walker (Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania) 


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.


Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize Winner 2021

The International Qurʾanic Studies Association is delighted to announce that the fourth annual Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize (open to papers delivered by early career scholars at the 2020 virtual Annual Meeting) has been awarded to Avigail Noy for her paper: “Qur’anic Imagery Between the Literary and the Literal.” The winner of the Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize receives a cash award. In addition, an expanded and edited version of the winning paper qualifies for publication in the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association.rippin

This award is given in honor of Professor Andrew Rippin (1950–2016), a leading scholar of the Qurʾān and inaugural president of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (2014). Prof. Rippin is remembered as “an esteemed colleague, revered mentor, and scholarly inspiration to many members of the IQSA community.” An announcement regarding submissions for the fifth annual Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize will follow the 2021 IQSA Annual Meeting.

An abstract of the award winning paper follows:

Qur’anic Imagery between the Literary and the Literal
Medieval Arabic literary criticism has long been recognized as a venue for Qur’anic interpretation alongside formal works of exegesis (tafsir). The volume Literary Structures of Religious Meaning in the Qur’an, edited by Issa Boullata in 2000, alone contains two articles on literary interpretations of the Qur’an by alSharif al-Raḍi (d. 406/1016), a poet and critic of Shi‘i background. In this paper I continue the work done by M. Ayoub and especially K. Abu Deeb by exploring how some of the Qur’an’s vivid images were analyzed by language scholars on one hand and literary critics and exegetes on the other. Centering on images that have a lexical basis in the vocabulary of Old Arabic (the language spoken at and before the time of the Prophet), at least as evinced by the dictionaries, I examine how the literal and the literary interact. Things become interesting when philologists such as al-Zamakhshari (d. 538/1144) are taken into account: being a collector of a dictionary himself (Asas al-balagha), he offers diverging interpretations on given verses depending on whether the work is his dictionary or his exegesis (al-Kashshaf). This leads to the thorny question of the reliability of dictionaries for “literal” meanings of Qur’anic expressions, as the early lexicographers may have depended on Qur’anic idiom alone for the makeup of certain entries. Looking at a wide range of Arabic lexical and major works of exegesis and literary criticism, I take a few verses as test-cases, including Q al-Takwir 81:18, “By dawn, when it sighs,” Q al-Hashr 59:9, “those who made their dwelling in the residence and in belief,” Q 2:16, “their trade reaps no profit,” Q al-Nahl 16:112, “God made it taste the garment of famine,” Q 2:20, “Lightning almost snatches away their sight,” Q 2:7, “God has sealed their hearts,” Q 2:25, “Gardens graced with flowing streams,” and the famous Q al-Isra 17:24, “wing of humility.”

Noy_Avigail_200x300Avigail Noy is Assistant Professor of Arabic Studies in the University of Texas at Austin. Noy holds a PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard (2016) and an M.A. and B.A. in Arabic and Islamic studies from Tel Aviv University. Her research focuses on the pre-modern Arabic literary and linguistic traditions, including poetics, rhetoric, literary criticism, grammar, Islamic hermeneutics, and adab. Her recent articles include “The Legacy of Abd al-Qāhir alJurjānī in the Arabic East before al-Qazwīnī’s Talkhīṣ alMiftāḥ” (Journal of Abbasid Studies, 2018) and “Reading Poetry with Sībawayhi: Ittisāʿ/Saʿat al-Kalām and Metaphorical Thinking in the Kitāb” (in From Sībawayhi to Aḥmad Haṣan al-Zayyāt, Brill 2020). Her current book project explores the development of Arabic poetics in the thirteenth century.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.

New Publication: A Prophet Has Appeared (UC Press, 2021)

University of California Press recently published a new sourcebook edited by Dr. Stephen Shoemaker: A Prophet Has Appeared: The Rise of Islam Through Jewish and Christian Eyes.

prophetPublisher’s Description: Early Islam has emerged as a lively site of historical investigation, and scholars have challenged the traditional accounts of Islamic origins by drawing attention to the wealth of non-Islamic sources that describe the rise of Islam. A Prophet Has Appeared brings this approach to the classroom. This collection provides students and scholars with carefully selected, introduced, and annotated materials from non-Islamic sources dating to the early years of Islam. These can be read alone or alongside the Qur’an and later Islamic materials. Applying historical-critical analysis, the volume moves these invaluable sources to more equal footing with later Islamic narratives about Muhammad and the formation of his new religious movement.

Included are new English translations of sources by twenty authors, originally written in not only Greek and Latin but also Syriac, Georgian, Armenian, Hebrew, and Arabic and spanning a geographic range from England to Egypt and Iran. Ideal for the classroom and personal library, this sourcebook provides readers with the tools to meaningfully approach a new, burgeoning area of Islamic studies.

About the Editor: Stephen J. Shoemaker is Professor of Religious Studies and Ira E. Gaston Fellow in Christian Studies at the University of Oregon. He is a specialist on early Christian apocrypha, devotion to the Virgin Mary, and the rise of Islam. He is the author of The Death of a Prophet, The Apocalypse of Empire, and Mary in Early Christian Faith and Devotion, among many other publications.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.