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 IQSA conferences showcase cutting edge research on manuscripts, historical documents, and high tech digital resources, as well as debate critical issues including methodology, hermeneutics and gender.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.

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.

NEW IQSA Membership Option – Automatic Renewal

The International Qur’anic Studies Association depends on its members’ continued commitment to fulfill its mission by actively participating and taking advantage of member benefits like Annual Meetings, professional networking, and more! In response to popular demand and feedback for ways to ease the processing of yearly registration, IQSA is delighted to introduce its new and improved Automatic Renewal option for Annual Membership!

Skip the hassle of manually logging in and renewing your IQSA membership every year by choosing to enable Recurring Payments for Automatic Membership Renewal! This feature processes annual subscriptions for individuals every calendar year from the member’s join date. Members must select an online payment method (PayPal or Credit Card) to enable this option, and all stored payment information is secured by Wild Apricot’s adherence to requirement 12.9 of PCI DSS v3.2 (click here for details).

Q: What if I need to change my membership level or other registration information?
Members can log in to their membership profile at https://members.iqsaweb.org to update any user information or change levels. Prices for Automatic Membership Renewal will be adjusted for recurring payments accordingly (see below).

Membership Prices (Annual)
Student/International | $25 
Mid-range Faculty/General | $50 *all non-student scholars, professionals, and mid-range faculty
Full Professor | $75 
Lifetime | $2,000 *one time-only installment
Institutional | $400

Q: What if I decide to cancel my Automatic Membership Renewal?
No Problem! Recurring Payments via Automatic Membership Renewal can be cancelled by logging in to a member’s user profile and selecting “Stop Recurring Payments” on both the Profile and Invoices and Payments tabs.

So don’t wait! Save the trouble of remembering to renew your IQSA Annual Membership by logging in to https://members.iqsaweb.org and enabling Automatic Membership Renewal today! This option guarantees continued access to member benefits including, but not limited to…

Discounted Annual Meeting Registration
Access to the membership directory

Review of Qur’anic Research
Professional development opportunities for graduate students and junior scholars, including volunteer, job postings, and employment networking
Bilingual English-Arabic Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (JIQSA)
Eligibility for Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize ($250 USD and potential publication in JIQSA)

Questions? Email contact@iqsaweb.org to get all the details on never letting your IQSA membership lapse again!

 

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

New IQSA Blog Coordinator: Meet Rachel!

The International Qur’anic Studies Association is pleased to welcome a fresh face to its Executive Office! This year, Rachel Dryden (University of Cambridge) joins the team as IQSA’s new Blog Coordinator. Rachel’s active commitment to IQSA’s mission and subject expertise make her a valuable addition to the IQSA community.

Rachel

Following an undergraduate degree in modern European languages (Durham, 2006), Rachel decided to learn a non-European language and chose Arabic, leading to a master’s in Near and Middle Eastern Studies at SOAS (2009). She was then awarded a DAAD (German State) scholarship to undertake a master’s in Jewish Studies at the Institute for Jewish Studies, at the University of Heidelberg, Germany and Karl-Franzens University in Graz, Austria, which she completed with distinction in 2011. Rachel then undertook an MPhil in Islamic Studies and History at Oxford (2016), focusing on qur’ānic exegesis and furthering her knowledge of the languages required for research on her chosen subject: Arabic, Hebrew, Syriac, Greek and Coptic. Her doctoral thesis will examine how angels are depicted in the Qur’ān and their use in the narrative structure of the stories in which they appear. Rachel was a critical part of last year’s Annual Meeting in Boston, MA, collaborating with Conor Dube (Ph.D. Candidate, Harvard University) to compose the yearly Conference Report.

IQSA welcomes its members and affiliates to contribute to its mission by submitting content for its weekly blog! Examples of past blog posts can be found HERE. Content can range from relevant event announcements to professional development opportunities to literature reviews and more. Submissions should be pertinent to the Qur’anic Studies, Late Antiquity, or Islam.

Submissions will be evaluated according to their relevance to IQSA and the interest of its members. Please send your submission to contact@iqsaweb.org to be considered. Questions? Email contact@iqsaweb.org for clarification.

Once again, a warm welcome to Rachel Dryden as IQSA’s newest member of the Executive Office!

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

How to Register for the 2018 Annual Meeting: Step by Step Instructions

Registration is NOW OPEN for the IQSA Annual Meeting held in conjunction with the SBL/AAR Annual Meetings in Denver, Colorado from November 16-19, 2017. You can save on the registration fee by joining IQSA and registering for the Annual Meetings as an Affiliate Member! Go HERE for Step by Step Instructions on Joining IQSA. Scroll down for Step by Strep Instructions on registering for the Annual Meeting.

Step 1: Open a web browser and go to SBL’s Meetings and Events page. Select “Register for the Annual Meeting” under the “Registration and Housing” heading.

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Step 2: Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “New Registration” under the “Affiliate Members” heading.

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Step 3: Click “New Registration.”

New Registration

Step 4: Fill in your Last Name and Email address (there is no identifier code for IQSA members). Click “Continue.”

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Step 5: Select “International Qur’anic Studies Organization” from the drop-down menu and fill in the rest of the required fields. Click “Continue.”

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Step 6: Select your Child Care, Visa Letter, and Program Book preferences and fill in your disability accommodations and emergency contact information. Click “Continue.”

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Step 7: Complete your preferences for events, tours, environmental options, and luncheons (noting the extra charge per item). Click “Continue.”

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Step 8: Select your housing and accommodation preferences and click “Continue.”

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Step 9: Fill in your arrival and departure dates, occupancy, special requests, and payment information. IQSA events will take place from November 17-20. Click “Continue.”

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Step 10: Choose if you will be registering as a guest, noting the additional price. Click “Continue.”

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Step 11: Complete method of payment information, noting the Terms and Conditions and Cancellation Policy. Click “Make Payment.”

 

Step 12: Print or email the confirmation and receipt/invoice for your own records, following the instructions in the dialog boxes.

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You are now finished registering for the IQSA Annual Meeting! We look forward to seeing you in Denver!

Please email contact@iqsaweb.org for any questions or concerns.

 

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

IQSA – Promoting Scholarship & Building Bridges #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.

GT-logo.jpg

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 first issue of the bilingual Journal of the International Qur’an Studies Association (JIQSA) is now in print and online; and IQSA’s first book is in production for 2018. 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 Membership and Institutional Membership will be available in early 2018, and 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, 2017. All rights reserved.

Urgent: New US Visa Restrictions before Nov 17 Boston Meeting

Dear Members of the International Qur’an Studies Association,

In advance of the 2017 Annual Meeting in Boston one month from today (November 17, 2017), certain dual US citizens and non-US citizens should note the urgent advice below. If you have not already you need to apply for a visa to enter the United States through the new Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) system.

Speakers at the Annual Meeting of SBL, AAR, and IQSA who do not hold a US passport and intend to travel as part of the Visa Waiver Program should note the following:

  1. According to current US Government advice, dual nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen are not anymore considered eligible to take part in the Visa Waiver Program even if they hold a first or second passport by a country that is part of the Visa Waiver Program.
  2. Furthermore, and this may be much less well known, anyone who has merely travelled to one of the above-mentioned countries after 1 March 2011 is also considered ineligible to take part in the Visa Waiver Program even if he/she does not hold dual nationality. An ESTA application submitted is likely to be declined.

(On both points, see e.g., https://nl.usembassy.gov/visas/visa-waiver-program/.)

Thus, any speaker to whom (1) or (2) applies will need to submit a full visa application in order to travel to the Annual Meeting. This is a complex, costly, and time-consuming process that ought to be commenced immediately in order to ensure that travel to the US will be possible in November.

Finally, it is advised that those already granted permission before the new ESTA regulations re-apply immediately. We apologize for any inconvenience this will cause you. IQSA is doing everything it can to help its members and ensure a safe and fruitful meeting in Boston. Should you have any further questions please write contact@iqsaweb.org.

Emran El-Badawi, Executive Director, International Qur’anic Studies Association

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2017. All rights reserved.