UChicago Shi'i Studies Group Symposium: Sectarian Identity and Community Formation in Islam

The University of Chicago Shiʿi Studies Group
Franke Institue for the Humanities
1100 E 57th St, Chicago, IL 60637
Free and Open to the Public

Light Breakfast – (8:45-9:20)

Opening Remarks – (9:20-9:30)     

Mohammad Sagha (University of Chicago) and Zach Winters (University of Chicago)

Panel 1 – Shi’a-Sunni Dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean (9:30-11:30)

Chair: Orit Bashkin (University of Chicago)
1. Pascal Abidor (McGill University), Public Faces of Ottoman Shi’ism: The ʿĀmilī ʿUlamāʾ and the Matāwila Shaykhs
2. Abdul Rahman Latif (Columbia University), Ottoman Menakibnames and 'Alid Identity
3. Linda Sayed (Michigan State University), The Writing of Shiʿi History during the French Mandate

Coffee break (11:30-12:00)

Panel 2 – The Geopolitics of Shi’ism in the Middle East (12:00 – 1:30)

Chair: Zach Winters (University of Chicago)
1. Payam Mohseni (Harvard University), Iran and the Geopolitics of Regional Order
2. Hassan Ahmadian (Harvard University), Armed Movements and Religious Mobilization in the Middle East
3. Mohammad Sagha (University of Chicago), Shi’i Islam and Politics in the Middle East: State of the Field

Lunch – (1:30-2:30)

Panel 3 – Denominations, Sects, and Identity in the Islamic Tradition (2:30-4:30)

Chair: Ahmed El Shamsy (University of Chicago)
1. Aun Hasan Ali (University of Colorado, Boulder), Sunnī ḥadīth in Imāmī law
2. I-Wen Su (National Chengchi University), Moving towards the Four-Caliphs Thesis? The Early Kūfan Traditionists’ Views on the Rightly Guided Caliphs
3. Ahmad Chehab (University of Michigan), Alawites and the Syrian Civil War: Orthodoxy, Violence and the Concept of Islam

Keynote Lecture, Maria Dakake (Professor of Islamic Thought, George Mason University) – 4:30-6:30; Moderated by Orit Bashkin (University of Chicago)
Co-Sponsored with the University of Chicago Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) Friday Lecture Series
Saieh Hall for Economics -- 5757 S. University Ave. 

Dinner and Reception – 6:30 (Stuart Hall)


Saturday, Oct. 27

Panel 4 – Jewish-Shi’i Socio-Cultural History (9:00 – 10:30)

Chair: Paul Walker (University of Chicago)
1. Moshe Yagur (University of Michigan), Conversion as a non-issue: conversion to and from Judaism under the Fatimids
2. Miriam Frenkel (Hebrew University), Ritual Encounters in Fatimid Jerusalem
3. Orit Bashkin (University of Chicago), How the Jews of Hilla learned to hate Mu‘awaiya: Shi‘i Jewish relations in Hashemite Iraq

Coffee break (10:30-10:45)

Panel 5 – Isma’ili Origins and Problematizing Sectarian Identity (10:45-12:15)

Chair: Tahera Qutbuddin (University of Chicago)
1. Paul Walker (University of Chicago), The Origin, Earliest History and Doctrine of the Taʿlīmiyya
2. Rodrigo Adem (El Colegio de México), Ismāʿīlism as Original Shīʿism
3. Khalil Andani (Harvard University), “Ismailism”: The Sectarian Construction of a Scholarly Category

Lunch – (12:15-1:00)

Panel 6 – Shi’i Identity and Interpretation (1:00 – 3:00)

Chair: Franklin Lewis (University of Chicago)
1Ibrahim Kazerooni (University of Detroit), Construction of Muslim Identity via Shi’a Interpretive Practice
2Cameron Zargar (UCLA), Taqlīd 's Function in Creating a Community of Pious Imamis
3Louis Medoff (The Shi’ah Institute), What Makes a Modern Shiʿi Tafsīr Shiʿi?
4. Seyede Pouye Khoshkhoosani (Northwestern University), Shi‘ism in the Safavid Masnavīs: What Does a Shi‘i King Mean for the Safavid Poets?

Coffee break (3:00-3:15)

Panel 7 – Political Parties and Movements in Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan (3:15-5:15)

Chair: Payam Mohseni (Harvard University)
1. Marsin Almashary (MIT), The Ideological Transformation of the Da’wa Party (1958-2018)
2. Robert Riggs (University of Bridgeport), Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr’s Social Movement: Sectarian Formation?
3. Abed Kanaaneh (Columbia University), The New Lebanese Nationalism: The Muqawamah (Resistance) Nationalism
4. Krishna Kulkarni (University of Chicago), The Hazaras, Shi’ism, and Community Formation in Modern Afghanistan

Closing remarks

About the Symposium

The University of Chicago Shiʿi Studies Symposium is an endeavor of the Shiʿi Studies Group, established in 2010, to provide an interdisciplinary, non-area-specific forum for the discussion of research on Shiʿism by faculty and graduate students at the University and beyond. The annual symposium aims to strengthen the field of Shiʿi Studies by bringing together a group of both senior and early-career scholars to present research and to cultivate an environment for intellectual discussion and collaboration. At each symposium we aim to address a focused set of questions with cross-cutting relevance to scholars working on various periods and from various disciplinary perspectives.

The Shiʿi Studies Symposium is supported by the generosity of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Franke Institute for Humanities, the University of Chicago Graduate Council, the Department of Near Eastern Language and Civilization, the Department of History, and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. Organizers: Mohammad Sagha (msagha@uchicago.edu) and Zach Winters (zwinters@uchicago.edu). For any questions or assistance for persons with disabilities please contact the organizers.