2016 Conference Schedule

Final schedule. Click here to see the final program (PDF format) for MEHAT 2016. You can find all relevant information there. You will also find the list of panels below (but without venues). Should any discrepancies remain, give preference to the final program.

Abstracts. You can access the abstracts (and, if necessary, download them) by clicking on the panelists’s names below. Please note that all of the abstracts will be removed and discarded as soon as the conference is over. Out of respect for the presenters, please do not circulate them by email.

Day 1 (Friday May 6, 2016)

SESSION 1 | 10:30–11:50 a.m.

Panel 1

Rhetorical Questions: Reading Arabic Literature from the Jahiliyya to the Conquests

Tahera Qutbuddin (University of Chicago), Discussant

Rachel Schine (University of Chicago), “Dialogic Interactions in Shanfarā’s Lāmiyyat al-ʿArab

Richard Heffron (University of Chicago), “A Thematic Analysis of Early Arab-Islamic Battle Khuṭbas”

Tynan Kelly (University of Chicago), “The Rhetorical Strategies of the Muʿallaqāt of ʿAmr b. Kalthūm and al-Ḥārith b. Ḥilliza”

Nathaniel Miller (University of Chicago), “Qurʾānic Isrāʾ and Pre-Islamic Ḥijāzī Imagery of Rule”


Panel 2

Genealogies of Resistance: Algeria, Palestine, Sudan

Orit Bashkin (University of Chicago), Discussant

Nadia Sariahmed (Columbia University), “Modernizing Jihād in Algeria”

Hanine Hassan (Columbia University), “Surplus Populations in Palestine: Strategies of Colonisation and Resistance”

Henny Ziai (Columbia University), “From Mahdism to Communism: Tracing Anti-Imperial Resistance in Sudan”


Panel 3

Locating Kurdistan: Community and Sovereignty

İpek Yosmaoğlu (Northwestern University), Discussant

Uğur Bayraktar (Boğaziçi University), “Kurdish Emirs as Provincial Notables: Land, Politics, and Rule in the Early Nineteenth Century”

Foroogh Farhang (Northwestern University), “The Collapse of Time: Archaic Language and Authentic Community”

Patrick Lewis (University of Chicago), “Spaces of Contention: The Making and Unmaking of State Sovereignty in Southeastern Anatolia”


LUNCH | 12:00–1:20 p.m.


SESSION 2 | 1:30–2:50 p.m.

Panel 4

Perspectives on the Historiography of Early Islam

Fred Donner (University of Chicago), Discussant

Ilona Gerbakher (Columbia University), “The Jews Bewitch Muḥammad: A Study of Variations in Prophetic Biography”

Pamela Klasova (Georgetown University), “Eloquence and Authority: The Concept of Bayān in Early Islamic Culture”

Kyle Longworth (University of Chicago), “Dionysius of Telmaḥrē and Syriac Perspectives of the Early Islamic Period”

Jessica Mutter (University of Chicago), “Evolving Representations of Religious Conversion in Syrian Historical Writing, 640–850 CE”


Panel 5

Framing the Body Politic in the Modern Turkish State

Yaşar Tolga Cora (University of Chicago), Discussant

Atacan Atakan (University of Arizona), “Bodies within the Intimate Public Sphere: Children and Body Politics in the Late Ottoman Context (1913–1918)”

Burcu Sağlam (İstanbul Şehir University), “Negotiating the Legitimacy of Mevlevî Ceremonies in Modern Turkey (1950–1970)”

Alex Schweig (University of Arizona), “Bandits as Participants in Modernization along the Ottoman Anatolian Railroad”

Christin Zurbach (University of California, Berkeley), “Hemato-Nationalism: The Past, Present, and Future of Turkish Blood”


Panel 6

Arabs, Jews, and Arab Jews: Identities across Backgrounds and Borders

Naama Rokem (University of Chicago), Discussant

Hanna Alshaikh (University of Chicago), “Transnational Sephardi Identity in Late Ottoman Palestine”

Chelsie May (University of Chicago), “Girls of the Eastern Communities: The Intersectionality of Female Arab Jewish Immigrants, Israel-Palestine 1947–1960”

Marshall Watson (University of Chicago), “Nablus from Revolution to War: Ihsan al-Nimr and his Local History”


SESSION 3 | 3:00–4:20 p.m.

Panel 7

Discourses of Legitimation: Extremist Propaganda and Self-Representation

Thomas E. R. Maguire (University of Chicago), Discussant

Mohammad Ali (Stanford University), “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan: Understanding How the Taliban Understands Itself”

Joe Bradford (Prairie View A&M University), “Analyzing a Tool of IS Propaganda: Ibn ʿAbdul-Wahhāb’s Mufīd al-Mustafīd fī Kufr Tārik al-Tawḥīd

Lara Tarantini (University of Arizona), “The Imagined Moral Ummah: How Al-Qaeda’s Inspire Magazine Legitimizes Violence Through Moral Exclusion”


Panel 8

Regimes of Power: From Ottoman Cities to Turkish Wilds

Madeleine Elfenbein (University of Chicago), Discussant

Emine Öztaner Eskin (İstanbul Şehir University), “Şehremaneti as an Agent of Istanbul’s Electrification”

Stefan Peychev (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), “Water and the City: Constructing Communal Identity in Ottoman Sofia”

Caterina Scaramelli (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), “Emergent Wetland Wild: Water Buffaloes, Feral Horses, and Waterbirds in the Making and Unmaking of Wetlands’ Livable Nature”


Panel 9

South by East: Arabic Literary Exchanges

Kay Heikkinen (University of Chicago), Discussant

Levi Thompson (University of California, Los Angeles), “Badr Shākir al-Sayyāb’s Transnational Turn”

Ghada Mourad (University of California, Irvine), “Reorienting the Maghreb: The Case of Mohamed Leftah”

Suleiman Hodali (University of California, Los Angeles), “Shidyāq in Malta: Imperial Philology and the Future of Arabic”


KEYNOTE LECTURE | 5:00–6:30 p.m.

The Contested Terrain of Sufism: British India and Pakistan

Muhammad Qasim Zaman (Princeton University)



Day 2 (Saturday May 7, 2016)

BREAKFAST | 8:00–9:00 a.m.

SESSION 4 | 9:00–10:20 a.m.

Panel 10

Everyday Ottoman Life in the 16th and 17th Centuries

Helga Anetshofer (University of Chicago), Discussant

Sarah Furger (University of Chicago), “Rose-water, Coffee, Melons and Beautiful Youths: The Consumable Worlds of Sir Thomas Herbert and Evliya Çelebi”

Görkem Özizmirli (Boston College), “Challenging the Moral State: Azizi’s Shehrengiz and Depictions of Prostitutes”

Elif Sezer (İstanbul Şehir University), “Putting Flesh on the Bones of Ottoman Individuals: Twelve Heritage Inventories (Terekes) from Seventeenth-Century Istanbul”


Panel 11

Reform, Rights, and Religion in the Modern Maghreb

Alireza Doostdar (University of Chicago), Discussant

Fuzia Elkekli (University of Tripoli, Libya), “Urban Planning in the Medina of Tripoli, Libya: Perceptions of Residents in a Historic but Unstable Urban Space”

Hafsa Oubou (Northwestern Univeristy), “Religious Conversion in an Age of Transnational Human Rights”

Rachel Richman (University of Chicago), “The Appeal of Azouz Cohen: A 1933 Call for Moroccan Jews to Speak Arabic”


Panel 12

Reconstituting Authority: Islamic Law and Education in the Modern Period

Marcia Hermansen (Loyola University Chicago), Discussant

Tim Gutmann (University of Chicago), “Learning for All: Education and Minority Questions in Modern Egypt”

Omer Awass (American Islamic College), “Fatwa, Islamic Law, and Modernity”

Emad Hamdeh (Embry-Riddle University), “Shaykh Google as Ḥafiẓ al-ʿAṣr: The Internet’s Challenge to Islamic Education and Expertise”


SESSION 5 | 10:30–11:50 a.m.

Panel 13

On the Margins of Medieval Baghdad

Paul Walker (University of Chicago), Discussant

Mohammed Allehbi (Vanderbilt University), “The Economic Dimension of the ʿAyyārun in Early Middle Period Baghdad”

Mohammad Ansari (Columbia University), “Pythagoras in Baghdad: Tracing Al-Kindī’s Musical Theories in Ancient Greek Musical Writings”

Han Hsien Liew (Harvard University), “The Cursing of Yazīd and Ḥanbalī Political Thought”


Panel 14

Gender and the Public Sphere in Turkey and Iran

Ekin Enacar (University of Chicago), Discussant

Afsaneh Kalantary (City Colleges of Chicago), “The National Emblem of Authenticity in Iran and Its Daily Contestations”

Renee Pappous (Columbia University), “Great Expectations: Balancing Public and Private Demands on Identity and Identity Formation at Constantinople Woman’s College, 1920–1939”

Amina Tawasil (University of New Mexico), “The Work of Deliberation: Mrs. Tabesh and the Jang-e Narm (Soft War) against Iran”

Didem Ünal Abaday (Bilkent University), “Coalitional Feminist Politics and Women Columnists’ Positionality in the Public Sphere in Contemporary Turkey”


Panel 15

Persian Poetry: Between Gender, Sufism, and the Court

Franklin Lewis (University of Chicago), Discussant

Alexandra Hoffmann (University of Chicago), “Exceptional Boys and Mammoth Men: Masculine Nobility in the Shāhnāmeh

Austin O’Malley (University of Chicago), “Poet’s Orders: Homiletic Verse as Spiritual Medicine in the Work of ʿAttar”

Laurie Pierce (University of Chicago), “Tellers of Tales: Bahrāmshāh’s Court and the Ascendance of Fable in Persian Literature”


Panel 16

Sufism in Central Eurasia: Trends, Developments, and Challenges

John Woods (University of Chicago), Discussant

Farhad Dokhani (Harvard University), “Religious Trends in a Qajar Album”

Kwang Tae Lee (Indiana University), “Mapping the Sufi Dynamics of the 19th-Century Bukhara: Analysis of Risālah-i Amīr-Kulāl

Zach Winters (University of Chicago), “A Review of the Mushaʿshaʿ in Light of 15th-Century Religious Trends”


LUNCHTIME ROUNDTABLE | 12:00–1:20 p.m.

Whither Islamic Studies?

A discussion on the state and future of Islamic and Middle East studies

With panelists:  Orit Bashkin             Muhammad Qasim Zaman

                                 Alireza Doostdar     Franklin Lewis

Moderated by:  John Woods


SESSION 6 | 1:30–2:50 p.m.

Panel 17

Perspectives on Ottoman Social and Material Culture

Hakan Karateke (University of Chicago), Discussant

Arzu Atik (İstanbul 29 Mayıs University), “The Traces of Social Life in 19th-Century Divans”

Fatma Büyükkarcı Yılmaz (Boğaziçi University), “Ottoman Itinerary Narratives As City Portraits and Social and Material Culture Elements in These Works”

Handan Konar (Boğaziçi University), “Marginal Edge of the Ottoman Social and Cultural Life: Deviant Dervish Poets in the 16th-Century Tezkires”

Ayşegül Pomakoğlu (Boğaziçi University), “Elements of Material Culture in Ottoman Military Narratives and Festive Aspect of Military Campaigns”


Panel 18

Homeland, Exile, and Memory in Modern Arabic Literature

Ghenwa Hayek (University of Chicago), Discussant

Joseph Leidy (University of Texas, Austin), “Antun Saadeh in the Mahjar: Migration, Exile, and Syrian Nationalism Abroad”

Katherine Maddox (University of Texas, Austin), “A Place in Time and Space: Memory and Nostalgia at a Private Archive in Lebanon”

Ida Nitter (University of Chicago), “The Maqāma in al-Sāq ʿalā l-sāq fī mā huwa al-Fāriyāq (1855) and Ḥadīth ʿĪsā ibn Hishām aw Fatrah min al-zaman (1898–1902)”

Panel 19

Rationalist Engagement with Sufism: Moving Away from the Exoteric/Esoteric Binary

Michael Sells (University of Chicago), Discussant

Nora Jacobsen Ben Hammed (University of Chicago), “From Ibn Sīnā to Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī: Development of the Intellectual Miʿrāj”

Rosabel Ansari (Georgetown University), “Taftāzānī’s Refutation of Waḥdat al-Wujūd: A New Perspective on Intellectual History”

Mazen El Makkouk (University of Notre Dame), “Who Cares about Women? Sufism and the Continuity of Command in Biqāʿī’s Commentary on Sūrat al-Nisā’”

Relwan Onikoyi (Temple University), “Sirhindi’s Critique of Waḥdat al-Wujūd and the Ambiguous Status of Ibn al-ʿArabī in Medieval Sufism”


Panel 20

Negotiating Space in Egypt from the Colonial Era to the Future

Junaid Quadri (University of Illinois, Chicago), Discussant

Mitchell Bacci (University of Texas, Austin), “Smugglers and State-Builders: Heroin Trafficking and Institutional Development in Interwar Egypt”

Weston Bland (University of Wisconsin, Madison), “Re-Envisioning the Communal Sphere: Coptic Politics, 1943–1955”

Theodosia Rossi (University of Oxford), “As Hideous a Blot: Asylum Spaces in Colonial Egypt”

Sama Waly (School of the Art Institute of Chicago), “A Sociopolitical History of Downtown Cairo: 1919 to Cairo 2050”


SESSION 7 | 3:00–4:20 p.m.

Panel 21

20th-Century Islamic Reform in the Middle East and South Asia

Muhammad Qasim Zaman (Princeton University), Discussant

Andrew Hammond (University of Oxford), “Salafi Thought in Turkish Public Discourse since 1980”

Jawad Qureshi (University of Chicago), “The Sufi Influence on Salafi Reformers: Jamāl al-Dīn al-Qāsimī (d. 1914) and the Legal Theory of Ibn ʿArabī (d. 1240)”

Usama Rafi (University of Chicago), “Devout Believer and Secular Historian: Cheragh Ali’s The Proposed Political, Legal, and Social Reforms in the Ottoman Empire and Other Mahommadan States

Roy Bar Sadeh (Columbia University), “Producing a New Network of Belonging in the Indian Subcontinent: Al-Manar’s Milieu and Bombay’s Arab Mercantile Community (1898–1935)”


Panel 22

Visualizing the Nation: The Arts and Statehood in the Middle East

Noha Forster (University of Chicago), Discussant

Shaikha Almubaraki (University of California, Berkeley), “The Cinematic Cairene House and Its Context in Hasan Al Imam’s Cairo Trilogy

Ashley Miller (University of Michigan), “Constructing a History of Moroccan Art in France: The 1917 Exposition des Arts Marocains at the Pavillon de Marsan, Paris”

Kelly Houck (University of Texas, Austin), “Early Iranian Animation: Revolution Cartoons from the Kanun”

Somayeh Shirazi (University of Alberta), “Contemporary Art of Iran and Its Reception in the Western Context”


Panel 23

A Brave New World in the Middle East: Oil, Trade, and Imperial Interests

Carl Shook (University of Chicago), Discussant

Matthew Ghazarian (Columbia University), “Rethinking Oil and Imperial Logic: Britain in the Trans-Caspian and Transcaucasia, 1918–20”

Natasha Pesaran (Columbia University), “Aligning interests: The Iraq Petroleum Company and the Dispute over the Route of the Iraq-Mediterranean Oil Pipeline, 1928–31”

Julio Rivera (University of Chicago), “Syria on the Security Council, 1947–1948: An Assessment of the UN’s Strategic Role for Damascus”

Kevin Tang (University of Oxford), “The Structure of Trade in the Persian Gulf in the First Period of Globalisation, 1870 – 1914”


Panel 24

The View from the Edges: Muslim Spain and China

Jamal Abed-Rabbo (University of Chicago), Discussant

Mohamad Ballan (University of Chicago), “An Anṣārī Caliphate? Genealogy and Political Legitimacy in the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada”

Mariana Cruz-Fernandez (University of Notre Dame), “Toward a Morisco Muslim Eschatology: al-Firqa al-Najiya and the End of Times”

Yishu Deng (University of Chicago), “Mongol Religious Policy and the Spread of Islam in China”

Moain Sadeq (Qatar University), “Sino-Abbasid Relations and Trade in Light of Archaeological Record and Text”


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