by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCommentary on DECEMBER 17, 2015: 

We at the Duke Islamic Studies Center are pleased to announce that the work of the Carnegie Corporation of New York-supported Transcultural Islam Project (ISLAMiCommentary and TIRN) has been highlighted in a new report by the Social Science Research Council — “Religion, Media and the Digital Turn.” The report surveyed 160 digital projects and documents the effects that digital modes of research and publication have on the study of religion.

“While our primary goal is to chronicle emerging forms of intellectual production shaping the study of religion, we hope that a greater awareness of this new work will generate more recognition of the high quality and innovative work that already exists,” report authors Chris Cantwell (University of Missouri) and Hussein Rashid (New York University) write, explaining that “the most innovative digital projects are often those that creatively combine a number of these models or genres.”

ISLAMiCommentary was mentioned at the top of several subsections, for this reason, and a lengthy case study of ISLAMiCommentary and TIRN has been included in the report (in Appendix 1) because, as the report authors told us, they find the project “exemplary.” Other projects highlighted with lengthy case studies (in Appendix 1) include the Center for the Study of Material and Visual Cultures of Religion (MAVCOR) at Yale, the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project at the University of Loyola; and Mapping Ararat — a project of York University, the University of Toronto and Emerson College.

Appendix 2 lists the 160 projects surveyed.

The report can be downloaded HERE.


by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCommentary on DECEMBER 14, 2015:

Last month, the Duke Middle East Studies Center (DUMESC) had the honor of hosting Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk for a series of events at Duke University. With co-sponsorship from the Department of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Duke Global Education/Duke in Turkey, Franklin Humanities Institute, Arts of the Moving Image and Mellon Foundation’s Partnerships in a Global Age grant, Pamuk’s visit included a public conversation at the Nasher Museum of Art auditorium hosted by DUMESC Director Erdağ Göknar, and a faculty forum. He also sat down with Göknar for an interview at Duke Studios.

Göknar, who authored the 2013 book “Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Novel” (Routledge, 2013) and was the English translator for Pamuk’s Nobel Prize- winning “My Name is Red” (Knopf, 2001), said Pamuk’s work – nine novels to date — “embraces the idea of the novelist as archivist and curator.”

“Since winning the Nobel award in 2006, Pamuk’s work has continued to push the boundaries of literary form and content,” said Göknar, adding that it “brings together narrative strains such as Ottoman Turkish history, the confines of identity, double-ness, excavations of the city, conspiracy, Islamic art, Sufism, the power of the Middle Eastern nation state, the (1980) coup, obsession, mystical love, the archive, collecting, lament and the Istanbul melancholy known as khuzun.”

All of this plays out through the city of Istanbul that in Pamuk’s words, is a space that has become “the memory of his fiction.” Continue reading

by KRISTIAN PETERSEN for NEW BOOKS IN ISLAMIC STUDIES on APRIL 6, 2015: 

M. Brett Wilson
M. Brett Wilson

Muslim debates regarding the translation of the Qur’an are very old. However, during the modern period they became heated because local communities around the globe were rethinking their relationship to scripture in new social and political settings. M. Brett Wilson, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Macalester College, provides a rich history of how this conversation unfolding with the late Ottoman period and Republic of Turkey in Translating the Qur’an in an Age of Nationalism: Print Culture and Modern Islam in Turkey (Oxford University Press, 2014).

41hVbRuZO9L._SL160_The Qur’an’s translatability is contested from various perspectives (both old and new) but emerging print technologies, shifting political authority, and changing economies of knowledge production offer contemporary challenges that mark the demand for Turkish translations. Wilson narrates the production of vernacular interpretations and commentaries, unofficial translations, and a state-sponsored project. In many cases, translation was viewed as a tool of progress, modernization, and Turkish nationalism. For others, it led to vernacular ritual practice and the disharmony of the global Muslim community. Continue reading

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via TAYLOR & FRANCIS ONLINE on MARCH 8, 2015: 

Sunday 8th March 2015 is International Women’s Day (IWD). To mark the occasion, Routledge are delighted to offer you free online access to a wide range of articles exploring the role women play in a variety of industries. With access to over 200 articles, we know what you’ll be doing this IWD!

Continue reading

by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCommentary, on FEBRUARY 23, 2015 *Updated February 25 with Forum for Scholars & Publics video (above): 

February 21, 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of one of the most iconic leaders of the 20th century, Malcolm X El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. This weekend his life and legacy got widespread media attention.

There are many academic Malcolm X representations, readings, and interpretations, and with many great figures in human history, their legacy is more and something other than that great person’s biography.

Said Duke Islamic Studies Center Director Omid Safi:  “We are living through the 50th anniversary of many of the monumental events in the history of the civil rights movement. The protests in Ferguson, New York and elsewhere tell us that issues of racism, brutality, poverty and militarism are still with us.”

Over the weekend a national conference on “The Legacy of Malcolm X: Afro-American Visionary, Muslim Activist” was held at Duke and UNC — co-organized by Safi, UNC-Chapel Hill Islamic Studies professor Juliane Hammer, and African & African American Studies professor and host of Left of Black Mark Anthony Neal.

The conference (details here) was sponsored by the Duke Islamic Studies Center. Cosponsors included the Asian & Middle Eastern Studies (Duke University), Department of Religious Studies (Duke University), African and African American Studies (Duke University), and the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations (UNC-Chapel Hill).

Conference participants included Safi; HammerNeal; William Chafe (Emeritus, Duke); William “Sandy” Darity (Duke); Michael Muhammad Knight (UNC Chapel Hill); Hisham Aidi (Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs), Maytha Alhassen (University of Southern California), Zaheer Ali (CUNY, Columbia University, Malcolm X Project), Abbas Barzegar (Georgia State University), Sohail Daulatzai (University of California-Irvine), William “Bill” Hart (University of North Carolina-Greensboro), and Jamillah Karim (author).

Above featured video is a panel discussion “Malcolm X Now” co-sponsored by Duke’s Forum for Scholars and Publics and the Duke Islamic Studies Center featuring Alhassen, Ali, Hart, and Knight.

Below is a Twitter Storify of the event, as well as a selection of articles and interviews about Malcolm X that aired or were published over the past week by or about scholars who participated in our conference. Watch this space in the coming weeks for video features, including in-depth interviews. Continue reading