Save the date: “What Is Islam?” symposium, 29 April

Dear colleagues,

You are invited to join us on the afternoon of Friday, 29 April for “What is Islam? A Symposium in Memory of Shahab Ahmed.” This symposium, which will begin with lunch from noon to 1 pm and continue with presentations until 6 pm or so, honors the memory of our friend, colleague, and teacher Shahab Ahmed. While Shahab’s too-early death robbed all of us of a brilliant scholar, the publication of his groundbreaking and challenging book What Is Islam? The Importance of Being Islamic (Princeton University Press) offers a wonderful opportunity to consider his intellectual legacy from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Those who will reflect on Shahab’s book and its impact include Michael Cook, Noah Feldman, Cemal Kafadar, Gülru Necipoğlu, Parimal Patil, and Nicholas Watson. We are waiting for final confirmation of the symposium’s location on the Harvard campus, and will send out this information under separate cover in the next week or so. In the meantime, please mark your calendars for this important event, which is sponsored by the Standing Committee on Medieval Studies, the Mahindra Humanities Center, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, the Committee on the Study of Religion, with support of the Rabbi Joseph S. Shubow Memorial Fund, the South Asia Initiative, the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, and the Islamic Legal Studies Program. Questions? Please contact Nora Lessersohn (

Nicholas Watson, Nora Lessersohn, and Sean Gilsdorf, symposium co-organizers

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