Islam in the Columbia Curriculum, 1886-2012: From Oriental Languages to Area Studies and Religious Studies

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Islam in the Columbia Curriculum, 1886-2012: From Oriental Languages to Area Studies and Religious Studies
01/31/2013 9:00 am
Dagmar Riedel; Hannah Barker
Faculty House
64 Morningside Drive, New York, NY, 10027, United States

Conference Website

The one-day conference will be held on Thursday, 31 January 2013, in the Faculty House of Columbia University, 400 West 117th Street, New York, N.Y. 10027 (for directions, click here).

The conference will explore the history of Islamic Studies in North America in general, and at Columbia University in particular.  Its starting point is the observation that Islamic Studies slipped into the Columbia curriculum when in the late 1880s Oriental languages were first added to the fledgling University’s course offerings.

The conference accompanies the exhibition Collecting Oriental Books for the Columbia Libraries, 1886–1936, which will be on display in the Chang Octagon of Columbia’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library from December 2012 to March 2013.   The exhibition is in honor of the 150th anniversary of Richard J. H. Gottheil (1862-1936) and A. V. Williams Jackson (1862-1937).  It comprises books and ephemera in Arabic, Armenian, Avestan, Persian, Sanskrit, Sumerian, and Turkish, exploring the interdependence between the development of library resources and the establishment of Columbia’s first Middle Eastern Studies programs.

Preliminary program:

9:00 am – Opening Remarks
Robert E. Pollack (Columbia University): Welcome
Dagmar A. Riedel (Columbia University): Introduction
Lila Abu-Lughod (Columbia University): Emergent Thinking about Islamic Studies at Columbia

9.30 am  – Oriental Studies and Islamwissenschaft, 1886-1969
Chair: Robert A. McCaughey (Barnard College)
Trudy S. Kawami (Arthur M. Sackler Foundation): In Its Own World: Ancient Near Eastern Art and Archeology at Columbia 
Dagmar A. Riedel (Columbia University): Oriental Languages in America of the Gilded Age: Richard Gottheil and A. V. Williams Jackson
Patrick J. Ryan, SJ (Fordham University): Arthur Jeffery and Missionary Islamic Studies
David S. Powers (Cornell University): Joseph Schacht and the Study of Hadith

noon – 1:30 pm – Lunch

1:30 pm – Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies since 1945
Chair: Timothy P. Mitchell (Columbia University)
Richard W. Bulliet (Columbia University)
Edward E. Curtis IV (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis): The Study/Ghettoization of African-American Islam
Carl W. Ernst (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill): Persianate Islamic Studies in the U.S.
David M. Freidenreich (Colby College): Islamic Studies and Jewish Studies: Differences in Context

3:30 – 4:00 pm – Coffee

4:00 pm – Islamic and Global Studies in the Twenty-First Century: A Round Table
Chair: David Johnston (Columbia University)
Amir Hussain (Loyola Marymount University)
Jerusha T. Lamptey (Union Theological Seminary)
Elias D. Mallon (Catholic Near East Welfare Association)
Burton L. Visotzky (Jewish Theological Seminary)

The conference is sponsored by the Columbia University Seminar on Religion and Writing and the American Institute of Iranian Studies.  It is open to the public, but registration is requested, as seating is limited; please RSVP to: