Re-examining the place of textuality in Islamic Studies

Reading Muslims Launch Webinar

Anver Emon

,

Ruba Kana'an

,

Nada Moumtaz

,

Youcef Soufi

February 15, 2021

video

In this inaugural webinar, four scholars at the forefront of the Reading Muslims project explore the role of textuality in their studies of Islam across different disciplines. Dr. Anver Emon begins by introducing the origins, mandate, and scope of the Reading Muslim project as a Connaught Global Challenge recipient. Moderator Joud Alkorani proceeds to introduce the webinar’s panelists before asking them each to reflect upon what makes a text Islamic in their respective disciplines and research foci. What histories account for their use of these texts? How do they seek to critically interrogate their methods to become more attuned to questions of power? Their responses inspire conversation and Q&A from the audience in what follows.

Anver Emon

Anver Emon is the Director of Islamic Studies at the University of Toronto, where he serves as a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the Department of History. Dr. Emon is also the Canada Research Chair in Islamic Law and History, and one of the Principal Investigators in the Reading Muslims Project. Dr. Emon’s extensive research career focuses on premodern and modern Islamic legal history and theory; premodern modes of governance and adjudication; and the role of Shari’a both inside and outside the Muslim world.

Ruba Kana'an

Ruba Kana’an is Assistant Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture at the University of Toronto. Dr. Kana’an is interested in questions about the formation and meanings of mosque architecture, metalwork and civic space in pre-modern Muslim societies and contemporary contexts. Her most recent work explores the function and symbolism of the architecture of Friday mosques, examining the extensive legal debates concerning the construction, decoration, function and meaning of these mosques across Damascus, Baghdad, Cordova, Fez, Cairo, Isfahan, Istanbul and Muscat. This project will be the subject of a monograph entitled “The Friday Mosque: Law, Architecture, and Authority in Pre-Modern Muslim Societies”, to be published by Edinburgh University Press in 2022.

Nada Moumtaz

Nada Moumtaz is assistant professor for the Department for the Study of Religion and the Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations department. Her research stands at the intersection of Islamic legal studies, the anthropology of Islam, and studies of capitalism: spanning the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries in the Levant. She is one of the core members of the anthropology hub for the Reading Muslims project.

Youcef Soufi

Youcef Soufi is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Islamic Studies, where he is Co-Principal Investigator of the Reading Muslims Project. Trained in classical Islamic Law, Dr. Soufi has worked and published extensively on the history of legal theory (uṣūl al-fiqh) and the historical evolution of substantive law (furū‘ al-fiqh). Dr. Soufi is currently working on two forthcoming book projects. The first, based on his dissertation, traces the emergence of classical debate gatherings in Iraq and Persia between the 10th and 13th centuries. The second, inspired by his work at the Institute of Islamic Studies, analyzes Islamophobia and State Surveillance in the post 9/11 period by focusing on the case of three University of Manitoba students (two Canadians and one American) who left their promising lives in Canada in 2007 to join al-Qaeda in the mountains of Northern Pakistan.

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