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MES Lecture Series: Ahmed El Shamsy

April 30 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm CDT

Ahmed El Shamsy

Title: “Islamic reform and print, 1880-1920” 

Half a century after the large-scale adoption of print in the Arab world, Muslim reformers began to make use of the new technology for their own purposes. They published journals, newspapers, and contemporary works, but they also resurrected classical books, which they used to critique and reform current practices and beliefs. The merger of the printing and reform movements gave rise to international networks of scholars striving to locate, edit, finance, and print classical works. These networks spanned and connected Europe, Turkey, the Arab lands, and India.

About the presenter:

Ahmed El Shamsy is an associate professor of Islamic thought in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on the evolution of the classical Islamic disciplines and scholarly culture within their broader historical context, addressing themes such as orality and literacy, the history of the book, and the theory and practice of Islamic law. His first book, The Canonization of Islamic Law: A Social and Intellectual History, traced the transformation of Islamic law from a primarily oral tradition to a systematic written discipline in the eighth and ninth centuries. He is now at work on his second book, a study of the reinvention of the Islamic scholarly tradition and its textual canon via the printing press in the early twentieth century.


April 30
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Middle East Studies Program
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