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Spring 2015

Wadad Kadi (Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Chicago)

ʿAbd al-Hamīd al-Kātib’s Use of the Qurʾān in His Religious Letters: 
Surprises and Explanations

Monday, April 6, 2015 / 4:00PM / HSSB 4080

Sponsored by the King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud Chair in Islamic Studies and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, UCSB


Abdallah Helmy Shehata (Political Science, American University in Cairo)

The Inside Story of the Egypt Revolution

Thursday, April 9 / 3824 Ellison Hall / 4:00PM

Helmy Shehata was an activist during the events and involved in organizing social protest. He is Vice Chairman, Programs Director, of the Sadat Association for Development and Social Welfare and has been involved in research projects on youth mobilization through social media, Al-Qaeda ideology, and the conflict lines between jihad and crusade. He will offer a unique opportunity to speak with an activist who participated in the events and was present during elite negotiations.

Sponsored by the IHC's Identity RFG, the Center for Middle East Studies, and the Department of Political Science


Daniel Gilman

Really Feeling It: Ambiguity and Sincerity in Egyptian Pop Music & Politics

Wednesday, April 15th / MCC Lounge / 4:00PM

The political music created during and after the 2011 uprising in Egypt is a dichotomy between the music industry's importance of attracting the widest audience possible by generating vague and superficial lyrics; and Egyptian youth's place an importance of sincere emotion as an aesthetic criteria for pop music. This talk will explore the nature of aesthetic conundrums and explain one of the major problems that activists face in trying to gain public support for systemic change. Daniel Gilman's research is based from his time in Cairo in which he was witness to the 2011 uprising.


Abbas Barzegar (Religious Studies, Georgia State University)

Not Quite Conquered: Identity Politics and Free Speech in a Secular Age

Thursday, April 16th, 6pm Discussion/MCC Lounge

From Chick-fil-A to Charlie Hebdo, the boundaries of freedom of speech and religion continue to provoke public debate. Although European social thought and practice divided the worlds of science, philosophy, and political organization over the course of its own Enlightenment experiment, similar efforts were rarely realized in the contact zones of Colonialism. Is it helpful to understand religious identity as an unconquered site of colonial modernity? This talk explores the historical and philosophical underpinnings of contemporary American and European debates on the limits of free speech and religious identity. Abbas Barzegar is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Georgia State University.



The Shi‘ī Origins of Sunnī Polemic:
Al-Dāraquṭnī's 4th/10th Century Image of the Sahaba and the Imāms

Nancy Khalek (Brown University)

April 17 at 4pm, McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB


Dr. Samy Ayoub (Visiting Professor - UCSB)

Rethinking Legal Authority and State Power: The Case of Early Modern Islamic Jurisprudence

Friday, May 1st / 4:00pm / HSSB 4080

At the intersection of religion, law, and the state lies the opportunity to explore the impact of the state on the legal order. This talk will shed light on such an impact through an examination of authoritative legal works from the 16th –19th  centuries CE, highlighting the understudied late Muslim jurists (al-mutaʾakhkhirūn) in the early modern period. I demonstrate how these late jurists develop their own identities, opinions, and consensus in relation to earlier opinions. This talk will also challenge the status quo of thinking about state power and legal authority in Islamic Studies by showing how late Muslim jurists assign probative value and authority to Ottoman state orders and edicts. This is reflected in the state’s ability to settle juristic disputes, to order specific opinions to be adopted in fatāwā (advisory legal opinions), and to establish its orders as authoritative and final reference points. The incorporation of state orders within authoritative legal commentaries, treatises, and fatāwā collections is made possible by what I identify as a turn in legal culture that embraced the indispensable nature of the state in the law-making process. 


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