AIS Seminars with Authors of New Books


Dr. Sean Anthony, NELC Ohio State University
Book Title: Muhammad and the Empires of Faith
When: Friday, February 5, 2021, 3:00 PM
Where: Via Zoom

Please join us for an enriching discussion with Sean W. Anthony, NELC Ohio State University. Dr. Anthony will be discussing his new book, Muhammad and the Empires of Faith, followed by discussion of a pre-circulated section of the book (chapter 2).

Book Synopsis:
In Muhammad and the Empires of Faith, Sean W. Anthony demonstrates how critical readings of non-Muslim and Muslim sources in tandem can breathe new life into the historical study of Muhammad and how his message transformed the world. By placing these sources within the intellectual and cultural world of Late Antiquity, Anthony offers a fresh assessment of the earliest sources for Muhammad’s life, taking readers on a grand tour of the available evidence, and suggests what new insights stand to be gained from the techniques and methods pioneered by countless scholars over the decades in a variety of fields. Muhammad and the Empires of Faith offers both an authoritative introduction to the multilayered traditions surrounding the life of Muhammad and a compelling exploration of how these traditions interacted with the broader landscape of Late Antiquity.

Chapter 2 of Muhammad and the Empires of Faith

Dr. Ahmed El Shamsy, NELC – University of Chicago
Book Title: Rediscovering the Islamic Classics
When: Friday, December 4, 2020, 4:00 PM
Where: Via Zoom

Please join us for an enriching discussion with Ahmed El Shamsy, associate professor of Islamic thought at NELC, the University Chicago. His exciting new book, Rediscovering the Islamic Classics will be of great interest for those interested in the reception history of classical Islamic texts and the intersection of manuscript and print cultures in modern Arabic intellectual history. Professor El Shamsy will discuss his book’s main contributions, followed by discussion of a pre-circulated section of the book (chapter 8, “Critique and Philology”).

Book Synopsis:
Islamic book culture dates back to late antiquity, when Muslim scholars began to write down their doctrines on parchment, papyrus, and paper and then to compose increasingly elaborate analyses of, and commentaries on, these ideas. Movable type was adopted in the Middle East only in the early nineteenth century, and it wasn’t until the second half of the century that the first works of classical Islamic religious scholarship were printed there. But from that moment on, Ahmed El Shamsy reveals, the technology of print transformed Islamic scholarship and Arabic literature.In the first wide-ranging account of the effects of print and the publishing industry on Islamic scholarship, El Shamsy tells the fascinating story of how a small group of editors and intellectuals brought forgotten works of Islamic literature into print and defined what became the classical canon of Islamic thought. Through the lens of the literary culture of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Arab cities—especially Cairo, a hot spot of the nascent publishing business—he explores the contributions of these individuals, who included some of the most important thinkers of the time. Through their efforts to find and publish classical literature, El Shamsy shows, many nearly lost works were recovered, disseminated, and harnessed for agendas of linguistic, ethical, and religious reform.Bringing to light the agents and events of the Islamic print revolution, Rediscovering the Islamic Classics is an absorbing examination of the central role printing and its advocates played in the intellectual history of the modern Arab world.

Chapter 8 of Rediscovering the Islamic Classics