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.


LUISS School of Government in Italy presents the International Conference ‘Imams in Western Europe - Authority, Training, and Institutional Challenges’

November 5, 2014 - Aula Magna, Viale Pola, 12 Rome

Welcome by LUISS School of Government: Giovanni Orsina
Welcome by the conveners:
Mohammed Hashas, LUISS Guido Carli
Niels Valdemar Vinding, University of Copenhagen
Khalid Hajji, CEOM
Jan Jaap De Ruiter, NISIS
Chair: Francesca Corrao, LUISS Guido Carli

Mohammed Hashas, one of the conveners, is with LUISS University of Rome’s Center for Ethics and Global Politics

by ALI ALTAF MIAN for ISLAMiCommentary and TIRN on NOVEMBER 6, 2014:

Ali Mian
Ali Mian

Is Sigmund Freud a stranger to the robust intellectual scenes of the modern Middle East? Is there mutual ignorance between Islam and psychoanalysis? Do only secular Arab thinkers invoke Western discourses of suspicion, such as psychoanalysis?

In a forthcoming monograph, provisionally titled The Arabic Freud, UC-Davis historian Omnia El Shakry casts much-needed light on modern intellectual collaborations and interconnected webs of knowledge production between Egypt and Europe, especially with reference to psychoanalysis. She investigates the travels of psychoanalysis in post-WWII Egypt, primarily through an exploration of social scientific, religious, and legal writings about self and subjectivity. This important work will illuminate how Arab scholars in the 1940s and 1950s understood the emerging disciplinary space of psychology as a science of selfhood and the soul. The disciplines of psychology and psychoanalysis in this context were therefore not reduced to empirical studies of mental processes. In fact, mental health professionals and psychologists, but also Islamic thinkers and legal practitioners, creatively blended European discourses of self and psyche with local Islamicate knowledge traditions.

Omnia El Shakry
Omnia El Shakry

In a recent talk at Duke University, El Shakry discussed the emergence of the psychosexual subject in postwar Egyptian discourses, as evident in the Journal of Psychology (Majallat ‘ilm al-nafs). This journal was founded in 1945 by the Egyptian psychology professor Yusuf Murad and psychoanalyst Mustafa Ziywar. The postwar period witnessed an innovative discussion about human sexuality, shifting from the fin-de-siècle focus on biomedicine and psychiatric nosology to psychology, psychoanalysis, and Islamic mystical and ethical traditions. These intellectual overlaps between Europe and Egypt refute the claim that psychoanalysis and Islam are incompatible.

El Shakry also argued that in contradistinction to the crisis of masculinity in Egypt between WWI and WWII (as discussed by Middle Eastern studies specialists such as Hanan Kholoussy, Wilson Jacob, and Liat Kozma), postwar discourses increasingly started to analyze the female body and psyche. In this way, contributors to the Journal of Psychology asked fresh questions, extending the limits of the thinkable in Egyptian academic circles.

Gender and sexual formation were taken to be compelling questions, addressed by various authors who contributed to the Journal of Psychology. On the pages of this journal, Egyptian readership encountered theories that explained how heterosexual masculinity and femininity were nearly impossible norms of psychosexual development. At places, readers were even introduced to the desirability of homosocial romantic attachments as the quintessential model for ideal heterosexuality. Continue reading