Middle East Forum

Kylan Jones-Huffman Lecture Series, 2006-2007

Fall 2006


21 September 2006
Photo of Bruce Lawrence Bruce Lawrence
"Osama bin Laden: The Man and the Myth"

An Islamicist and a comparativist, Bruce B. Lawrence is the Nancy and Jeffrey Marcus Humanities Professor of Religion at Duke University. His early books explored the intellectual and social history of Asian Muslims. Shahrastani on the Indian Religions (1976) was followed by Notes from a Distant Flute (1978), The Rose and the Rock (1979) and Ibn Khaldun and Islamic Ideology (1984). Since the mid-80s, he has been concerned with the interplay between religion and ideology. The test case of fundamentalism became the topic of his award-winning monograph, Defenders of God: The Fundamentalist Revolt against the Modern Age (1989/1995). A parallel but more limited enquiry informed his latest monograph, Shattering the Myth: Islam beyond Violence (1998/2000). It is the thorny issue of religious pluralism and diasporic communities that guides his monograph on Asian religions in America, New Faiths/Old Fears (2002)He has also written three collaborative works with colleagues from the Triangle area. The first, Beyond Turk and Hindu: Contesting Islamicate India (2002), was edited with Professor David Gilmartin of North Carolina State University. The other was co-written with Professor Carl Ernst of UNC-Chapel Hill: Sufi Martrys to Love: The Chishti Brotherhood in South Asia and Beyond, and published by Palgrave Press (2002). Most recently, with his Duke colleague and spouse, Dr. Miriam Cooke of Asian and African Languages and Literatures, he has co-edited Muslim Networks from Hajj to Hip Hop, published in March 2005 by UNC-CH Press in a series that he also co-edits, with Professor Ernst, on Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks.


13 October 2006
Photo of Mahdi Tourage Mahdi Tourage
"Muslims Imagining the West Imagining Muslims: Constructing the 'Other' across the Religious-Cultural Divide"

Dr. Mahdi Tourage is a Professor of Islam in the Department of Religion at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. He received his MA and PhD in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto where he wrote his dissertation on "Phallocentric Esotericism in the work of Jalal al-Din Rumi." In this work he combines postmodern theories of gender and semiotics to interpret Persian Islamic mystical hermeneutics and studies of Jewish Kabbalistic texts. His work focuses more broadly in Iranian literature and mysticism and Islamic philosophy and religious thought. Prof. Mahdi has published widely in comparative religion, Middle East studies, gender studies, comparative literature, and in the field of mysticism. This includes articles in the journal of Iranian Studies, the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Journal of Material Religion, and Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Prof. Mahdi is also at work on a number of articles in material culture, Lacan's psychoanalytical theories in relation to Muslim and Jewish esotericism, and is revising his doctoral thesis into a book-length monograph. He has given a large number of conference papers and invited lectures throughout North America and Europe on a wide array of subjects.

Spring 2007


11 January 2007
Ain Shams University Logo Mohamed al-Hawary
"King Sa'ud Bin Abd al-Aziz Al Sa'ud and his Role in the Arab-Israeli Conflict"

Professor of Religious Jewish Thought and Religions, Ain Shams University, Cairo, and Director of Center for Study of the Contemporary Civilizations, Ain Shams University. Prof. Hawary is the author of numerous books on Judaism in medieval Egypt with special attention to the study of the Geniza documents. He was a Senior Fulbright Fellow at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, and was the first Arab Muslim scholar to hold a fellowship at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

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