Call for Papers – EABS Annual Conference Warsaw 2019

The Call for Papers for this year’s European Association of Biblical Studies Annual Conference is now open! The Conference will be taking place at the University of Warsaw, ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28, Warsaw, Poland, from Sunday, August 11th to Wednesday, August 14th 2019 followed by two days of post-conference tours.

Paper proposals will be accepted until February 28th, 2019 and individual EABS units’ Calls can be found on their webpages. To browse the list of EABS research units, including several Qu’ran related panels, click here. Please direct any enquiries about the specific Calls directly to the relevant unit chairs; for questions concerning the technical aspects of submitting an abstract, please email abstracts@eabs.net.

To submit your paper proposal, click this link. Contributions both from established scholars and PhD students in the field of biblical and cognate studies are welcome, but in order to submit an abstract, you must be a member of the EABS. To join or renew your membership, go to the join section of the website.

We very much look forward to seeing you in Warsaw in August!

Details from Denver: 2018 Annual Meeting Conference Report

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The sixth Annual Meeting of the International Qur’anic Studies Association was held in Denver this year from November 16-19, concurrent with the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion and the Society for Biblical Literature. This year once again provided an opportunity for scholars from across the academic world to come together to exchange new ideas and continue ongoing conversations on the Qur’an, the milieu from which it emerged, and the exegetical discussions which it inspired.

Emran_Gab_RecepThe first panel of the weekend, chaired by Alba Fedeli, focused on the topics of accessibility and interpretation as they relate to Qur’anic manuscripts. The early history of the Qur’an, as indicated by manuscript evidence, was a recurring theme, including the import of the Sana‘a palimpsest, the role of orthography, and interlinguistic connections. Participants also considered the role of digital technology in opening up new paths for manuscript studies and the relevance of these tools for the Qur’an in particular. The day was capped off by a lively general reception for IQSA members.

reception

Saturday was the first full day of talks, beginning with a panel on linguistic and literary perspectives on the Qur’anic text. The ambit of this discussion ranged from specific words (Shawkat Toorawa on awtād) to broader concepts (Saqib Hussain on ḥikma) to linguistic context (Marijn van Putten on the lack of Syriac borrowing in the Qur’an) to theoretical frameworks (Joseph Lowry on a ‘nomochronic’ assessment of the Qur’an’s normativity). After a luncheon which brought together senior scholars and graduate students, the afternoon featured an important and lively panel discussion on the topic of bias, representation, and the importance of diverse perspectives in Qur’anic studies. The panel highlighted both the work already undertaken to widen the scope of the field and significant improvements that have yet to be made. The day closed with a panel on manuscripts and commentaries, which featured Iskandar Bcheiry’s consideration of the Arabic and Syriac manuscript resources of the St. Lazarus monastery in Venice, along with Hacı Osman Gündüz discussing the concept of ṣarfa in al-Nāshiʾ al-Akbar’s poetry and Sheza Alqera considering the importance of oral context in an understanding of manuscripts.

Eleonore_PalimspsestThe third day of the conference was again full of panels, kicking off with a morning session on ways of contextualizing the Qur’an. Sarah Schwarz and Tommaso Tesei focused on the relevance of a Jewish background, respectively discussing Solomonic power and 4 Ezra 7. David Powers revisited the question of Zayd, Zaynab, and Muhammad, and how to understand the historicity of the traditional story combining those three figures. Finally, Johanne Louise Christiansen presented a summary of Roy Rappaport’s contributions to system theory and considered its relevance to studying the Qur’an. The theme of the Qur’an’s place within the Biblical tradition continued in the afternoon, with talks focusing on Hārūt and Mārūt from a comparative perspective (Rachel Claire Dryden), the polemical understanding of accusations of God’s poverty in Q. 3:181 (Shari L. Lowen), the theme of prophetic protection and Satanic utterances (Holger Zellentin), and the connection of Joseph to the rhetoric of clothing in the Qur’an (Sarra Tlili). The evening session completed the day’s emphasis on placing the Qur’an in a Late Antique world of literary and religious influences. Stephen Burge considered the interreligious rhetoric of fasting, while David Vishanoff discussed the tradition of an Islamic psalter, and Stuart Langley compared Q. 7:179, Isaiah 6:10, and Matthew 13:15.

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Monday, the last day of talks, brought together themes ranging from hermeneutics to genre theory to the Arabian context of the rise of Islam. In the morning set of presentations, Gabriel Said Reynolds offered thoughts on the problem of Qur’anic insertions, followed by Thomas Hoffman reflecting on a materialist understanding of the Qur’an’s iconicity and Johanna Pink considering the evolution of the term ṣabr between medieval and modern exegesis. The afternoon featured IQSA’s annual session on Sūra Studies, which this year was dedicated to the group of sūras known collectively as the Musabbiḥāt (Q. 57, 59, 61, 62, and 64). Both Adam Flowers and Karim Samji focused on genre as a method of understanding this grouping, while Andrew J. O’Connor spoke about the function of prophetic authority within them. Finally, the weekend concluded with another set of talks looking at the Qur’an through the broad lens of Late Antiquity. Four discussants considered a wide-ranging set of topics, including the Greco-Roman image of Arabia (Karen L. Carducci), the topos of Trinitarian deities between Arabian religion and the Qur’an (Emran El-Badawi), the long history of camel sacrifice (Brannon Wheeler), and the attestations of earliest Islam extant in Anastasius of Sinai (Stephen J. Shoemaker).

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This year’s Annual Meeting was one of IQSA’s most outstanding yet, packed with excellent presentations across the board and consistently high attendance. It was exhilarating as always to see the flourishing of new perspectives within the world of Qur’anic scholarship as well as the always impressive level of academic rigor exemplified by all of this year’s speakers. We look forward to moving from the shadow of the Rocky Mountains this year to the sunny shoresof the Pacific for next year’s meeting, and hope to see faces both familiar and new there!

By Conor Dube (Ph.D. Candidate, Harvard University)

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.

Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize 2018-19

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Andrew Rippin was the inaugural president of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (2014). He is remembered as “an esteemed colleague, revered mentor, and scholarly inspiration to many members of the IQSA community.”

In honor of Andrew Rippin, the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) will award a prize to the best paper delivered at the 2018 Annual Meeting in Denver, CO by a graduate student or early career scholar (Ph.D. awarded 2013 or later).

The prize winner will receive $250. In addition, the award committee will provide him/her with detailed feedback and guidance enabling him/her to expand the paper into a scholarly article that qualifies for publication in the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (JIQSA), subject to peer review.

Interested scholars should submit a draft of the paper which they read at the 2018 Annual Meeting at Denver; this draft should be no longer than fifteen double-spaced pages (or 3750 words). Submissions should be sent to contact@iqsaweb.org by January 5, 2019. The prize winner will be announced by February 1, 2019. The winner should then be prepared to submit a fully revised version of the winning article by April 1, 2019. Publication of the final version is contingent upon review by the award committee and editorial staff of JIQSA.

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© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.

Promoting Scholarship & Building Bridges with IQSA #GivingTuesday

Dear Friends,

For over five years the International Qur’anic Studies Association has made fostering Qur’anic scholarship its mission. The Qur’an is an integral part of world literature, and it has shaped and continues to shape the world in which we live. By giving to IQSA you are promoting high quality scholarship and building bridges across the globe, which in turn has positive ripple effects on high quality education, journalism, publishing and public engagement.

 

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IQSA is the only non-profit learned society exclusively dedicated to convening regular Qur’an conferences in North America and in Muslim majority countries around the world, as well as to publishing rigorous cutting edge scholarship on the Qur’an. Within five short years IQSA has convened seven major conferences. These have included large scale conferences in throughout major US cities, Carthage, Tunisia and Jogjakarta, Indonesia, as well as co-sponsored panels in Berlin, Germany and St Andrews, Scotland. IQSA conferences showcase cutting edge research on manuscripts, historical documents, and high tech digital resources, as well as debate critical issues including methodology, hermeneutics and gender. This is possible because IQSA members include the very best scholars in the field.

The second issue of the bilingual Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (JIQSA) is in its final stages of production; and IQSA’s first publication in the Studies in the Qur’ān series, A Qur’ānic Apocalypse: A Reading of the Thirty-Three Last Sūras of the Qur’ān by Michel Cuypers, is now available from ISD. IQSA members receive free access to JIQSA, the Review of Qur’an Research (RQR), the exclusive member directory (including world renowned Qur’an specialists) and PhD students and recent graduates gain valuable professional development experience. Lifetime and Institutional members carry additional member benefits. IQSA also rewards junior scholars and international academics with the opportunity to learn from colleagues around the world and publish their research. By giving, you help IQSA keep membership dues low and you reward those members of our community who need it most.

Donate NOW

It goes without saying that the current political climate has made our task — especially critical scholarship and building bridges — more important than ever. As academics, professionals and philanthropists we have a duty to support the Humanities and Social Sciences at a time when they are under threat. This also means we have the opportunity to bring about a much more intellectual discussion of the Qur’an when the public needs it most.

IQSA was founded by a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, and is now funded through the generous support of its members, partners and friends.

Donate NOW

Most gratefully,

Emran El-Badawi, Executive Director

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.

Final Reminders & Denver Program PDF, Nov 16-19

Dear Friends,

We are now days away from the sixth Annual Meeting of the International Qur’anic Studies Association taking place in Denver, November 16-19 (one day before AAR & SBL). We are looking forward to another exciting meeting of scholars and friends. For a complete showcase of our events, participants and sponsors we are proud to present the official AM 2018 PROGRAM BOOK (PDF). Viewers are encouraged to further circulate the program book. (Program Book link: https://iqsaweb.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/2018-iqsa-programbook.pdf)

Reminders — Please make sure to attend the following events or perform the needed duties outlined here:

  1. If you want to gain access to all IQSA session in Boston as well as our exclusive member benefits please RENEW your 2018 IQSA MEMBERSHIP immediately here (http://members.iqsaweb.org/Sys/Login). It is not too late!
  2. The FRIDAY sessions are FREE and OPEN to the PUBLIC. There is no keynote address this year. Please RSVP to join our GENERAL RECEPTION with food and refreshments, Friday Nov 16, 6:30PM. See program for details.
  3. On Saturday Nov 17 Graduate students and recent graduates should attend the Graduate Student Reception, 11:30am-1pm, where they will enjoy lunch with leading scholars in the field and share their own research. See program for details. Only a handful of spots remain. RSVP now HERE or via contact@iqsaweb.org
  4. On Sunday Nov 18, I call upon all IQSA members to fulfill their duty by attending our Business Meeting at 11:30am-12:30pm. See program for details.
  5. Finally, the world’s political climate continues to change, making international travel and collaboration more challenging. Our work is now more important than ever. Please support IQSA and DONATE (http://members.iqsaweb.org/donate). Meanwhile do not forget to enjoy this VIDEO (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tg-W3Asj3R8) and share accordingly — thank you.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, Standing Committees and our partners we would like to express our deepest gratitude to all friends of IQSA, and we look forward to seeing you in Boston.

Sincerely,

Emran El-Badawi, Executive Director

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.

Suggestions for Presenting a Conference Paper at IQSA

With the IQSA Annual Meeting quickly approaching next month, there has never been a better time to catch up on Dr. Devin Stewart’s (Emory University) suggestions for effective presentations at academic conferences!


Attendance at many conferences over the years and observing the presentations of both neophytes and older scholars has proved to me that nearly no one is taught in explicit terms how to write or deliver a conference paper. For the most part scholars have learned by osmosis, watching examples, whether good, middling, or bad. It is my hope that the scholars who participate in IQSA will be able to rise above the sea of mediocrity and make excellent presentations. I have witnessed a number of papers at IQSA that fall short of that mark, and while such lapses are not more prevalent at IQSA than at other conferences, my hope for the performances at IQSA is that they will be exceptionally high.

[The following statements represent my own considered opinions. It does not represent the opinion of the IQSA board or any other identifiable body in academia. My intention in presenting these comments and guidelines is only to help improve the quality of papers at the annual conference and thus to improve the experience and edification of all conference attendees.]

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Alba Fedeli presents her work on the “Birmingham Qur’an” manuscript at the 2015 IQSA Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA.

Purpose:

The main purpose of a conference paper is to announce to the world a new result that you have discovered. In practical terms, it is also to force you to write something, or to finish writing something, that you will publish, and to get feedback from scholars in the field before you do so. If you are lucky, members of your audience may alert you to problems in your argument, plausible counter-arguments, sources you have overlooked, or relevant secondary studies you have not come across. They may push you to explain your argument better, more clearly, or more precisely. All of this will help improve the resulting publication and help ensure that you do not publish something that is unoriginal, incompletely documented, or badly argued.

Content:

A conference paper should be a report about completed research that 1) is new, 2) makes a solid argument and 3) emphasizes concrete results. Especially for this society, 4) concrete results primarily consist of concrete conclusions regarding the text of the Qur’an, its meaning, or its historical interpretation and use. This definition has several implications that may go against what young scholars have been told by their sophomoric graduate student peers or benighted advisors and what they have seen performed by droves of misguided conference-goers.

  • The content of your conference paper should not have been published before. It should be a new contribution to the field. You should not deliver a paper that is an info-mercial for your latest book. You should not present something that is an article already in press.
  • A conference paper is a report about research that you have completed. It is not a verbatim, blow-by-blow transcript of the publication you intend to complete. You do not have time to read the entire article or book chapter that you are working on. You are presenting the news story about the project you have completed. Emphasizing the results.
  • A conference paper should not be an interim progress report. While in many organizations, researchers and scholars present such reports as conference papers and lectures, doing so is akin to submitting one’s tax forms or an application for a business license. Many papers produced as part of a government-funded project or by scholars working in teams or for industry are presented as evidence that the project is moving forward and producing tangible results. However, unless the project has reached the point where there are actual results and conclusions can be drawn, it is not yet time to inflict it on the audience. It is acceptable to present something that is not 100% complete, or in which the conclusion is tentative or provisional. It is not acceptable to present something that has no identifiable conclusion yet. One should avoid presenting something that simply states that we have reached the middle of our work, this is the procedure that we are following, and this is where we stand. That is just shop-talk.
  • A conference report should not be a plan for or introduction to research that will be carried out in the future, a prolegomenon, the equivalent of the introduction to a dissertation, a book, or an article. Papers that do this are quite frequent, and leave one asking, “Where’s the beef?” Avoid presenting an introduction to a blank.
  • A conference paper must have a conclusion. Show and tell is not enough. No matter how fantastic the manuscripts you have to show are, it is insufficient merely to describe them. You must explain what they tell us that we did not know before about something greater: the historical transmission of the Qur’ān, its textual variants, patterns of copyists’ errors, and so on. A negative result is still a conclusion; it can make for a good presentation if it is interesting for some particular reason.
  • If you must present the theoretical background or describe a controversy in order to frame your results, do it quickly. An excessively long wind-up is one of the most common faults of conference papers in general. If you write an article or the introduction to your book or dissertation, you can take the time to write at length, but in a conference paper, a long introduction merely delays and in some cases completely displaces the concrete results, which is a disappointment for the audience.
  • Do not leave out the concrete results. Your colleagues in the field are most interested in these, and if you don’t get to specific results, you are robbing them. Include as many results as you can explain well in the time allotted. If you only have only a few examples, then you can spend some time. If you have many examples to choose from, select examples that are representative and can stand in for the others.  A long wind-up to a simple and small example is disappointing.
  • Your paper should take into account the relevant scholarship in the field. There may be too much for you to address in your presentation in any detail, but you should briefly indicate that you are aware of it. Especially in Qur’anic studies, there is a problem with reinventing the wheel. Do not assume that your idea has not been said before. Consult other scholars about the studies that might be relevant, especially studies in German and Arabic.

Structure:

  1. Problem or issue.
  2. Earlier scholarship on the issue, presented briefly.
  3. Your sources, method, approach, briefly
  4. Your results, conclusions [This should be the main part.]
  5. Implications

Presentation:

The single biggest problem with conference presentations in general is that presenters read a prepared text that was written as if it were a journal article or a book chapter.  If you read a prepared text, you must write it to be read aloud in the first place. Most scholars are not trained to do this type of writing. Doing so is a skill on its own, and it takes practice. An alternative is to prepare notes, a handout, or a power-point presentation, and to speak to the audience from these notes.

If you use power-point, do not read out paragraphs of text from the power-point slides—this is an insult to the audience, whom you are accusing of being inattentive or lazy.

Speaking to the audience directly is about ten times better and more engaging than reading, unless you can write like P.G. Wodehouse. Unfortunately, speaking directly to the audience is a road not taken by 80-90% of conference presenters in all fields, and not just ours.

-Dr. Devin Stewart, IQSA President Elect (Emory University)

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.

Workshop: The Senses in the Qur’an and in Early Islam | 26 October 2018, Utrech

The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Utrecht University, in collaboration with the SENSIS project, will host a workshop on the Quran’s and early Muslims’ conceptualization of the senses and sense perception. The workshop’s aim is two-fold: first, to unearth the roots of the qur’anic/early Islamic sensorium in Late Antique culture, and secondly, to examine the processes of sensory disambiguation of “Muslim” identity as distinct from other identities (Christian, Zoroastrian, etc.) in the formation of Islam. Sources considered include the Qur’an, sīra and Hadith (both Sunni and Shiʿi), as well as texts from the surrounding literary cultures, and potentially non-textual evidence. Prior to the meeting, but no later than 18 October, participants will circulate one or several short texts (in the format of a handout) for close reading in the workshop. Each paper will be 40 minutes long, and include a paper presentation (20 minutes); Q&A (10 min.); a.nd a joint reading and discussion of texts led by the presenter (10 min).

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Utrecht in the heart of the Netherlands

Programme

Location: Janskerkhof 13, 3512 BL Utrecht, room 0.06

Panel 1: Scriptural bases

9:00-9:40: Nora Schmid (Berlin), “Sense perception and the formation of ascetic knowledge in the Meccan surahs of the Qur’an”

9:40-10:20: Thomas Hoffmann (Copenhagen): “The Weltinnenraum of the Qur’an: Towards a visceral phenomenology”

10:20-11:00: Christian Lange (Utrecht): “Sensation in the canonical Sunni hadith corpus”

11:00-11:30: COFFEE BREAK

Panel 2: Sensations in early Islamic thought and sensory practices

11:30-12:10: Adam Bursi (Utrecht), “The old women of Quraysh did that: Touch and its contestations in early Islamic pilgrimage rituals”

12:10-12:50: Maroussia Bednarkiewicz (Oxford): “Diversity in the acoustic space: From the birth of the ādhān to the disappearance of the nāqūs

12:50-14:00: LUNCH

14:00-14:40: Youshaa Patel (Lafayette College): “Looking different: Some hadith traditions against imitation”

Panel 3: Sensory alterities

14:40-15:20: Eyad Abuali (Utrecht): “Voices and Visions in Early Sufi Qur’an commentaries”

15:20-15:50: COFFEE BREAK

15:50-16:30: Arash Ghajarjazi (Utrecht): “The senses in Nahj al-balāgha

16:30-17:10: Mary Thurlkill (University of Mississippi): “Muhammad’s sweet sweat:  Modeling ritual purity in early Islam”

17:10-17:30: Concluding session

18:30-: DINNER (for speakers and invited guests)

No registration is required for participation, but those interested in attending are kindly requested to contact the event’s co-organizer Dr. Adam Bursi at: a.c.bursi@uu.nl

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.