News & Events

Congratulations to Professors Malek Abisaab and Michelle Hartman!

A short piece about Professor Malek Abisaab and Professor Michelle Hartman’s “Women’s War Stories” research project has appeared in the most recent issue of the Canadian Historical Association’s journal, Intersections — “Resistance To/In War.” You can read and download it from the website. The article is titled, “Women and the Lebanese Civil War” Active Resistance, Organizing, and Solidarity Building.

New Publication by Professor Malek Abisaab 

Congratulations to Professor Malek Abisaab on his new publication, "Overview: Economics- Paid Domestic Labor: Arab States," which has appeared in the newest version of the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures (EWIC), General Editor: Suad Joseph, December 2022.

It can be accessed at the following link via the McGill system.

Dr Khalid Medani at George Washington University on January 27, 2023 in Panel on Arab Uprisings 

Professor Khalid Mustafa Medani will be part of a panel that will discuss a recent edited volume that commemorates the 11th anniversary of the Arab Uprisings: Struggles for Political Change in the Arab World: Regimes, Oppositions and External Actors.

The series of panels examining the findings from the volume are sponsored by the George Washington University’s Institute for Middle East Studies (IMES) and Stanford University’s Program on Arab Reform and Democracy (ARD).

Zahra Ayubi's talk: “Gender, Authority, and Epistemology in Islamic Medical Ethics” on January 31

Gender Performance in Islamicate Contexts Speakers Series Facebook

Gender, Authority and Epistemology in Medical Ethics 
Talk by Zahra Ayubi
January 31, 2023, 5:00 pm EST

Registration for the Zoom session

Poster of Event of Zahra Ayubi

In this talk I discuss the limitations of fiqh-based medical ethics in addressing gender concerns and argue that ethical epistemology of Islamic medical ethics ought to center women and non-binary Muslims’ experiences. I do a close reading of jurisprudential opinions (fatwas) and the queries that originate them and also present research from interviews that demonstrate a mismatch between the issues important to the questioners and jurists (muftis). Ultimately, I show that a gender contentious epistemology in Islamic medical ethics is achieved through centering women’s experiences and interpretive authority.

Celebrating Anne Farray and Her Years at McGill

Anne Farray, Administrative Officer for the Institute of Islamic Studies, retired in December 2022 from a career longer than 43 years.

Anne Farray

 She shares her thoughts and wisdom reflecting over her illustrious career with us in an interview, which could be read on Faculty of Arts' website.

Neveser Köker's  talk, “Translation as Modality of Belonging” on January 18th

MOTS (Montreal Ottoman and Turkish Studies) presents

Translation as Modality of Belonging: Cosmopolitan Nativeness in Ignatius Mouradgea d’Ohsson’s Tableau Général de l’Empire Othoman (1788-1794)”

Dr. Neveser Köker (Independent Scholar)

[A chapter from book manuscript Traveling Loyalties: Politics of Belonging Beyond Nation and Empire]

Discussant: Dr. Virginia Aksan (McMaster University)

January 18, 2023, 5:00 pm EST

Morrice Hall 328 and Zoom

Poster of January 18 Event of Dr Neveser Köker

Neveser Köker is a feminist political theorist currently based in Montréal, QC. She holds a PhD in Political Science and a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan. Prior to moving to Montréal, she worked as a lecturer at Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University. Her current book project, Traveling Loyalties: Politics of Belonging Beyond Nation and Empire, develops belonging as a key concept of modern and contemporary political thought using the rich archives of transnational encounter and exchange across the Mediterranean. Most recently, her work has been published in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.

This chapter explores translation as a modality of belonging. Focusing on Ignatius Mouradgea d’Ohsson’s Tableau Général de l’Empire Othoman published in 1794, it argues that as a modality of belonging, translation expresses an ambivalent and precarious sociopolitical relation between the individual and the political community. In this sense, translation requires the existence of a multilingual and multicultural subject who is linguistically anchored in at least two communities, a subject who can be called a “cosmopolitan native.” While d’Ohsson was one of the many non-Muslim and non-Turkish Ottoman natives who took on the task of explaining the Ottoman Empire to a European audience, what makes his life and his multi-volume Tableau Général stand out are how they illustrate the opportunities, dangers, and impossibilities of such a task in a time of global socio-political tumult. Having returned to Istanbul from a long sojourn in France almost immediately after the French Revolution, d’Ohsson could convince neither his connections in the capital of the Ottoman Empire nor his patrons in Stockholm of his loyalty to monarchy. Within the span of two decades, d’Ohsson was transformed from an Ottoman-Armenian-Catholic translator to an exiled (and later mostly forgotten) Swedish historian of the Ottoman Empire residing in Paris. This chapter interweaves d’Ohsson’s biography with close readings of the Tableau Général to show how translation offers a zealous yet pragmatic cosmopolitan modality for belonging. This modality strives for cross-cultural exchange and understanding despite the knowledge that some meaning will be lost, some words will remain untranslatable, and the sense of belonging articulated through one’s native language will be changed forever.

Montreal Ottoman Turkish Studies Group (MOTS), launched at McGill University, is an annual workshop series aimed at bringing together scholars working on the diverse peoples, cultures and environments of modern Turkey and the Ottoman Empire. While prioritizing graduate student work, the workshop is open to scholars at any stage of their careers.

If you are interested in joining our mailing list and discussions, please mots [at] (contact us by email)

Omar Kasmani’s talk, “Queer Companions: Religion, Public Intimacy and Saintly Affects in Pakistan” on January 17th

Gender Performance in Islamicate Contexts Speakers Series Facebook

Queer Companions: Religion, Public Intimacy and Saintly Affects in Pakistan
Talk by Omar Kasmani
January 17, 2023, 5:00 pm EST

Registration for the Zoom session.

Poster of Omar Kasmani Event on January 17, 2023

This presentation introduces the recently published monograph Queer Companions (Duke UP, 2022), which theorizes saintly intimacy and the construction of queer social relations at Sehwan, Pakistan’s most important site of Sufi pilgrimage. It will outline the book’s key conceptual threads across its various chapters. Focusing on the life-stories of ascetics known as fakirs in Pakistan, these illustrate the felt and enfleshed ways in which saintly affections bind individuals, society, and the state in Pakistan through a public architecture of intimacy. In the book’s framework, Islamic saints become lovers and queer companions just as a religious universe is made valuable to critical and queer forms of thinking. In this regard, the presentation will also include a discussion on the politics of reading ‘queer religiously’.

Winter 2023 Speakers’ Series

The IIS is honoured to welcome the following scholars in a series of talks, workshops, and performances around the topic of Gender Performance in Islamicate Contexts. We invite you to visit and follow the IIS Facebook page, which will be updated with Zoom registration links, details of locations, and individual talk posters as they become available. 

2023 Winter Speaker Series Poster

Gender Performance in Islamicate Contexts
Speakers Series

Omar Kasmani
Freie Universität
Queer Companions: Religion, Public Intimacy and Saintly Affects in Pakistan
Tue, Jan 17, 2023
5pm-7pm EST Zoom registration 

Zahra Ayubi
Dartmouth University
Gender, Authority, and Epistemology in Islamic Medical Ethics
Tue, Jan 31, 2023
5pm-7pm EST Zoom registration

Balbir Singh
Concordia University
Opacity as Method: Muslim Femme Print and Material Cultures
Tue, Feb 7, 2023
5pm-7pm EST

Sarah Ghabrial
Concordia University
State and Non-state Law in Colonial Algeria: Reflections on the Question of Gender and 'Agency'
Tue, Feb 28, 2023
5pm-7pm EST

Kareem Khubchandani
Tufts University
Dragging Borders: LaWhore Vagistan's Sonic Geographies
Tue, Mar 14, 2023
5pm-7pm EST

Lailatul Fitriyah
Claremont School of Theology
Communing with God in the Hideouts: Border Theology in the Lives of Indonesian Muslim MDWs (Migrant Domestic Workers) in Singapore
Tue, Apr 11, 2023
5pm-7pm EST


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