• Members of the audience listen to Angelika Neuwirth on "The Qur'an & the Discovery of writing: An Epistemic Turn in Late Antiquity."

Mellon Islamic Studies Initiative

The Mellon Islamic Studies Initiative is a three-year project, designed to support the expansion and enhancement of the study of Islam at the University of Chicago. Administered by the Divinity School, the initiative is a cross-divisional collaboration, intended to create a sustained campus conversation about the future of Islamic studies.

Please visit the MISI page for up-to-date info on visiting professors, workshops and lectures.

Funded by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the initiative will bring to the University distinguished visiting scholars representing a wide range of topics in Islamic Studies. Each visitor will bring to the community a unique area of expertise, which they will share with the campus by giving a public lecture, teaching a class, and organizing a conference or symposium on their topic of study.

With one visitor per quarter over the next three years, the result will be a substantive, sustained discussion about both specific topics in Islamic studies and the wider field of study. Our campus-wide program of visitors is a bold attempt to create a more seamlessly interdivisional and interdisciplinary context for Islamic Studies at the University of Chicago and, in so doing, to establish a model for academia more broadly.


Friday, April 18, 2014

4:30 pm, Swift Hall Common Room
Reception to follow
The introduction of the Internet in the Muslim world imposed new realities and dynamics, whether in the political, social, cultural or communication landscapes. It also opened the door for many new opportunities, posed new threats, and invited future prospects. This makes it especially important to tackle the complexities and implications of this new digital age, with all its multi-faceted dimensions.  It also necessitates discussing some of the most important debates, controversies, and deliberations being shared and exchanged between different groups of Muslims, as well as between Muslims and non-Muslims in cyberspace today, in an attempt to analyze the myriad of complex factors which could be conducive, or constraining, to digital dialogue. Likewise, it is also important to ask important questions, such as: How is the Internet contributing to shaping and redefining the notion of the "Virtual Umma?" How is it giving birth to new forms of "Online Fatwa?" How is it contributing to the creation of new "Islamic Public Spheres?" These are some of the questions which the co-author of the book: "Islam Dot Com: Contemporary Islamic Discourses in Cyberspace" Dr. Sahar Khamis tries to answer in her talk.
Sahar Khamis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is an expert on Arab and Middle Eastern media. She is the former Head of the Mass Communication and Information Science Department in Qatar University. Dr. Khamis holds a Ph.D. in Mass Media and Cultural Studies from the University of Manchester in England. She is the co-author of the books: “Islam Dot Com: Contemporary Islamic Discourses in Cyberspace” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and “Egyptian Revolution 2.0: Political Blogging, Civic Engagement and Citizen Journalism” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). Dr. Khamis has been appointed as a commissioner in the Human Rights Commission of Montgomery County, Maryland.