News & Events

Poster of the November 23 EventProfessor Waleed Ziad, UNC, on November 23

"The Extraordinary, Enchanted Journey of a Female Scholar Saint in the Afghan Empire"

Dr Waleed Ziad, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

Thursday, November 23, 6:00 pm, Morrice Hall 328

Part of the McGill Institute of Islamic Studies Fall 2024 Speaker's Series.

At the turn of the 19th century, Bibi Sahiba Kalan (d. 1803), Kabul's female Sufi master and scholar, was recognized as the "most exalted saint" of the age. Her network of thousands of disciples spanned the Arabian Sea to Central Asia. She was the spiritual guide of scholars, poets, and nobles, invited to Bukhara by the khan himself. She led a caravan to Mecca, and built colleges and shrines at Kandahar, Yemen, and Sindh. Bibi Sahiba's progeny defended Afghanistan in the Anglo-Afghan Wars, and expanded her spiritual network towards Rajasthan, appointing at least 15 female saints as their successors - each with Muslim and Hindu disciples in the thousands. These female saints are the subject of Ziad's forthcoming book Sufi Masters of the Afghan Empire (Harvard 2024), based on fieldwork in several dozen locales from the India-Pakistan to Uzbek-Afghan borders.

Poster of Golestaneh's Conference Dr Seema Golestaneh on December 4 and 5

The Old Women of Nishapur: an Initiative on Gender, Knowledge and Religion & the Institute of Islamic Studies & The Department of Anthropology


Unknowing of Body: Aesthetics, Knowledge, and the Dissolution of the Self in Sufi Iran

Dr Seema Golestaneh, Cornell University 

Monday, December 4, 12:30-14:30, Peterson Hall 116

"In this talk, I will examine how Sufi epistemologies influence modern understandings of the relationship between the body and the self in contemporary Iran. In particular, I will trace how the “classical” mystical concept of fana, or dissolution of the self, has been reinterpreted by lay Sufis, and how this radical destabilization of subjectivity is articulated in terms as varied as the fading away of gender and unemployment to the triumph of non-existence (nahboodi) over existence. The talk also argues that Sufi aesthetic theories within the zikrmusic ritual used to achieve fana should be understood as an epistemic practice, one where bodily and sensorial engagement might invoke a momentary alternative to the sociopolitical subject."


A conversation on the recently published book: Unkowning and the Everyday: Sufism and Knowledge in Iran

Dr Seema Golestaneh, Cornell University

Tuesday, December 5, 12:30-14:30, Peterson Hall 116

The seminar is open to anyone who is interested in reading the book.

Institute Students and Faculty at the MESA Conference

The annual conference of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) is taking place in Montreal, between November 2 and November 5, 2023. 

The conference is the largest of its kind, with an estimated 2,200 attendees, 370 sessions and around 50 exhibitors.

Some of our faculty and students will present and/or chair at the Conference.



Abisaab, Rula, Dr. (Professor), The Religion of the Old Women of Nishapur, RoundTable XIII-2, Sunday, November 5, 1:30 pm Abisaab, Malek, Dr. (Associate Professor), Microhistories of Arab Internationalism: The Lebanese National Movement, Panel VIII-22, Saturday, November 4, 11:00 am

Behzad, Borhan, Dr. (PhD Student), Writings in Afghanistan and Persia, Panel XII-28, Sunday, November 5, 11:00 am

Behzad, Borhan, Dr. (PhD Student), Comparative Insights on Uprisings and Protests, Panel V-31, Friday, November 3, 1:30 pm

Es, Omer, Mr. (MA Student), Language and Libraries, Panel IX-26, Saturday, November 4, 3:00 pm

Hartman, Michelle, Dr. (Professor), Arab Faces, American Places, Panel IX-8, Saturday, November 4, 3:00 pm - also Discussant

Sponsored by Arab American Studies Association

Manoukian, Setrag, Dr. (Assistant Professor), The Religion of the Old Women of NishapurRoundTable XIII-2, Sunday, November 5, 1:30 pm -  also Organizer

Manoukian, Setrag, Dr. (Assistant Professor), Indigenous Theories and Contemporary SWANA Studies, RoundTable XI-4, Sunday, November 5, 8:30 am

Medani, Khalid Mustafa, Dr. (Assistant Professor), Centering Sudan: The Revolution, the War, the Future, Special Session IX-1, Saturday, November 4, 3:00 pm

Sponsored by Committee on Blackness, Indigeneity, and Racial Justice (CBIRJ)

Simsek, Veysel, Dr. (Faculty Lecturer), Teaching Turkish in North America on the Centennial of the Republic, RoundTable, Friday, November 3, 4:00 pm

Sponsored by American Association of Teachers of Turkic Languages (AATT)

Pezhman, Saleh, Mr. (PhD Student), Textual Innovation and Transgression from Iberia to Iran, Panel VIII-24, Saturday, November 4, 11:00 am


Porter Abu Deiab, Heather, Ms. (PhD Student), Slavery and Its Legacies in the Modern Arabic Novel, Panel III-15, Friday, November 3, 8:30 am


Ridwan, Muhammad K., Mr. (MA Student), Rumi, Panel XIII-26, Sunday, November 5, 1:30 pm


Sanei, Taraneh, Dr. (Faculty Lecturer), Performance and Communication in Turkey and Iran, Panel XIII-22, Sunday, November 5, 1:30 pm  

Shaaban, Salma, Ms. (PhD Student), Gender and Artistic Expression in Protest Movements, Panel XIII-27, Sunday, November 5, 1:30 pm


Simsek, Veysel, Dr. (Faculty Lecturer), After the Armageddon: Ottoman Military, Intellectuals and Press, 1918-1923, Panel III-17, Friday, November 3, 8:30 am - also Organizer  


Poster to the Sertac Sehlikoglu EventGenealogy, Critique, and Decolonization: Ibn Khaldun and Moving Beyond Filling the Gaps

Dr Sertaç Sehlikoglu, University College London 

TUESDAY, November 7, 5-7pm Morrice Hall, Room 328.

The aim of this talk is to locate critique at the intersections of the genealogy of knowledge in anthropological thinking and decolonizing movements. The paper approaches the decolonizing movement as one of the most crucial points in anthropological thinking, as it can go beyond filling the gaps in genealogies by engaging with non-Eurocentric scholarship and, additionally, by carrying the critical angles to the ways it engages with those non-Eurocentric scholarships. To illustrate, it uses the case of Ibn Khaldun, an Arab scholar of social sciences and historical analysis from the 14th Century - who is often referred to as the first sociologist. On the one hand, his influence on classical Western thinking is largely dismissed. On the other hand, as a counter-response to this dismissal, the new Islamic revivalist intelligentsia in the Muslim right engages with him in a selective manner that rejects that central critical thinking and, even worse, sanctions the local regimes of power, including that local canon. By locating his scholarship to multiple tropes in anthropological theory and reading his evolutionist thinking vis-à-vis the post-colonial literature in anthropology and sociology, I question the limits and possibilities of critical thinking within and beyond the decolonizing movement.

Dr Sertaç Sehlikoglu is a social anthropologist and an associate professor at University College London’s Institute of Global Prosperity. Her work focuses on intangible aspects of human subjectivity that enable humans to change and transform social life. She is the recipient of a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant (2019), the author of “Working Our Desire: Women, Sport and Self-Making in Istanbul” (2021) and the co-editor of several journal issues, including “The Everyday Makings of Heteronormativity: Cross-Cultural Explorations of Sex, Gender and Sexuality” (2020). She is also the editor of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies’ Reviews Section.

Organized by: The Old Women of Nishapur: an Initiative on Gender, Knowledge and Religion & the Institute of Islamic Studies & The Department of Anthropology

Poster of October 31 EventProfessor Khalid Medani Speaks at UCSB

Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California Santa Barbara

In 2019, a popular uprising brought down the regime of former President Omar Al Bashir of Sudan. This webinar will explore the dynamics that led to th 2019 revolution, while also unpacking the range of factors (national and international) that have contributed to the coup and the current civil war. It will also consider the opportunities and constraints for transnational solidarity, as variously positioned activists inside and outside Sudan navigate their relationship to the struggle while making connections to other movements across the world.


Professor Khalid Medani, McGill University

Professor Nisrin Elamin, University of Toronto

Ms. Reem Aljeally, Sudanese Visual Artist and Curator

Ms. Waad Husein, Sudanese-American Artist and Designer

Special Guests: Ms. Marine Alneel and Ms. Maryam AlFaki

Co-Sponsors: The African Studies Program at McGill University & The Department of Anthropology at University of California Irvine

Tuesday, October 31, 12 PM EST

Link to webinar

Congratulations to Sarah Abou-Bakr!

Congratulations to Sarah Abou-Bakr on the successful completion of her MA thesis: Code of Conduct to Law : Islam, Nationalism and Laïcité in Québec. Her supervisor was Professor Michelle Hartman.

A Conversation with Daisy Rockwell CANCELLED

The Rang Collective 🌈 and Montréal Serai present:

A Conversation with Daisy Rockwell 

Translator of the 2022 Booker Prize-winning Hindi novel, Tomb of Sand (Ret kī samādhī), by Geetanjali Shree

Oct. 28, 11:30 AM @ Maison ChaïShaï, 2005 Bishop St.

Supported by McGill University’s Department of English, Institute of Islamic Studies, and South Asian Studies.

Join us at ChaïShaï for snacks and an informal conversation with Daisy Rockwell!

Poster of Daisy Rockwell Event

Daisy Rockwell is a painter and award-winning translator of Hindi and Urdu literature, living in Vermont. She has published numerous translations from Hindi and Urdu, including Ashk’s Falling Walls (2015), Bhisham Sahni’s Tamas (2016), and Khadija Mastur’s The Women’s Courtyard. Her translation of Krishna Sobti’s final novel, A Gujarat here, a Gujarat there (Penguin, 2019) was awarded the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work in 2019. Her translation of Geetanjali Shree’s Tomb of Sand (Tilted Axis Press, 2021; HarperVia, 2022) won the 2022 International Booker Prize and the 2022 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation.

For more information, please contact the rangcollective [at] (Rang Collective: Arts for Solidarity).

Avaz Celebration PosterShe’r o Āvāz: a Night of Iranian Traditional/Folklore Songs

Join us for an evening of poetry and music intertwined beautifully in the traditional and folklore āvāz (literal translation: singing/song – Persian: آواز سنتی و محلی) performed live by a talented artist from Iran. Participate in this event, organized by the Persian program, to get acquainted with the basic tenets of Iranian traditional music, the dialectal/linguistic diversity of Iran, and the essential role of classical poetry in Iranian traditional music. Some Persian sweets will be offered to complete your enjoyment! This event is open to the public.

Time: Monday October 16th, 5:30-6:30 pm; Place: Morrice Hall, Room 017

Poster of MENA Conflict and DisplacementProfessor Khalid Medani Speaks at University of Gothenburg

Governance and Local Development Institute (GLD) at University of Gothenburg is organizing a Policy Roundtable on the Local Responses to Conflict and Displacement in the MENA Region, on October 16, between 4-5 CEST (Central European Summer Time). 

What are the links between the humanitarian crises in Sudan, Palestine and Syria? Why is it important to address these conflicts from a regional perspective? Join GLD in a policy roundtable discussion on local responses to conflict and displacement in Syria, Sudan, and Palestine. Professor Khalid Mustafa Medani will be joining Dina Melham, Shibley Telhami and Marwa Shalaby to discuss the nuances of these conflicts’ impact on various communities, shedding light on the social, economic, and humanitarian challenges it generates. This webinar provides a dynamic platform for academics, researchers, and policymakers to engage in meaningful dialogue, fostering a deeper understanding of the MENA region's political landscape.

Join via zoom on October 16th.

Truth in Translation PosterProfessor Michelle Hartman Speaks at Trinity College

On September 27, 2023, Dr Michelle Hartman will give a talk on, Truth in Translation: Telling Stories of Women and the Lebanese Civil War, as part of the 2023 Distinguished Scholar Lecture at Trinity College, Department of Language and Culture Studies, Arabic Section.

A co-author (with Professor Malek Abisaab) of the book, Women's War Stories: The Lebanese Civil War, Women's Labor, and the Creative Arts, Professor Hartman will use several specific examples to explore where "truth" can be located and created in translation.

“Unpacking the Complex Situation in Sudan" Forum

Recently, IIS Director, Dr. Khalid Mustafa Medani participated in a public forum in association with the Australian National University’s Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies entitled, “Unpacking the Complex Situation in Sudan.” The video recording of the event can be found on ANU's website.

Other guest speakers included: 

  • Dr Nisrin Elamin, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto 
  • Dr Adil Abbas, Head of Higher Education at the Australian Industrial Systems Institute and community leader for the Sudanese Diaspora in Australia 
  • Hamid Khalafallah, Development practitioner, researcher and policy analyst based in Khartoum, Sudan 

Dr Rula Jurdi Abisaab Receives Praise for Her Novel

Professor Rula Jurdi's novel, Miʾat Raʿsha (One Hundred Flutters), published by al-Adab Press, Beirut, 2021, received four reviews from distinguished writers and literary critics. PDF icon Miʾat Raʿsha (One Hundred Flutters) Reviews.

Congratulations to Farid Attar! 

Congratulations to IIS student Farid Attar on successfully defending his PhD thesis entitled: "Avicenna and Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī on the Cosmic System: The Rule of One, Efficient Causality, and Celestial Mediation". His supervisor was Professor Robert Wisnovsky.

 Farid Attar with Professors Khalid Medani and Rula AbisaabFarid Attar and his family

Congratulations to Abeer Almahdi!

Congratulations to Abeer Almahdi on the successful completion of her MA thesis: ’Meilleur Souvenir!’: Cultural Mythologies of Egyptian Womanhood in the Colonial Postcard. Her supervisor was Professor Michelle Hartman.

Dr Khalid Medani on Sudan in McGill Reporter

For a McGill Reporter article presenting insights from Professor Khalid Medani on the intensifying crisis in Sudan, please check the McGill Reporter.

Lecture by IIS Researcher Walter Young

The Institute of Islamic Studies invites you to attend Dr. Walter Edward Young's lecture on June 8 at 3:00 pm EST.

The lecture is organized by Philosmus and the title is: Prelude to a History of Naqḍ (Inconsistency and Untenable Entailment) in Islamicate Dialectics.

You could follow the lecture on Philosmus' page on Facebook.

Congratulations to Ghania Javed!

Ghania Javed, Valedictorian


The Institute of Islamic Studies is proud to announce that undergraduate student Ghania Javed (Joint Honors in World Islamic and Middle East Studies and Political Science and Minor in South Asian Studies) has been named valedictorian in the Faculty of Arts. 

Congratulations! For an interview with Ghania, please consult the McGill Reporter.

Congratulations to PhD Student Sumaira Nawaz!

Institute of Islamic Studies doctoral student Sumaira Nawaz is one of the fourteen recipients of a 2023 grant from the Center for Islam in the Contemporary World at Shenandoah University. The grants have been awarded under, "Islam on the Edges" or "Islamic Education" research programs.

Professor Laila Parsons is featured in the first episode of the al-Araby TV documentary series “Archive of the Nakba”

The TV documentary series was made for the 75th anniversary of the Nakba. You can watch the episode by clicking on this link.

The episode is based on the two-part article Professor Parsons published in the Journal of Palestine Studies on the secret testimony to the Peel Commission, available (open access) by selecting this link and this link as well.

Congratulations to Professor Aslıhan Gürbüzel!

The Institute of Islamic Studies extends its warmest congratulations to Professor Aslıhan Gürbüzel on her attainment of tenure and her promotion to the rank of Associate Professor.

Sudan in Crisis Webcast Episode - Dr Khalid Medani

For a conversation on the sudden eruption of violence in Sudan and how it could impact peace and democracy in Africa, the Middle East and beyond, please check out this special Made by McGill alumni webcast, featuring a conversation with the head of McGill’s African Studies program and leading Sudanese scholar, Dr Khalid Medani (Institute of Islamic Studies and Department of Political Science).

A glimpse back at Persian program’s Nowruz 1402 event (نوروز ۱۴۰۲)

Spring is finally here in Montreal so let us take a look back at this year’s Nowruz event (Nowruz 1402) held this semester by the Persian program.

Nowruz (literally meaning ‘New Day’ in Persian) marks the beginning of Spring and the new year for Iranians and is also celebrated in many other countries and regions such as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

In a night rich with poetry, music, and culture, we gathered to learn about this important cultural celebration, have Iranian food and sweets, and enjoy incredible performances!

Haftsin TableTable with foodParticipants MinglingProfessor Prashant Keshavmurthy presentingParticipants mingling with the haftsin table in the foreground Instrument playingInstrument playing and recitation

Poster of April 18 EventWorld Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies Student Association (WIMESSA) Research Panel and Fast-Breaking on April 18

Tuesday, April 18, at 6:00 pm; in Arts 150

Poster of the MIISSC Symposium EventMcGill Institute of Islamic Studies Student Council (MIISSC) Graduate Symposium on April 27-28

The MIISSC Symposium is just around the corner and we are thrilled to share the program with you, which could be located on the MIISSC website. The symposium will take place on April 27th and 28th in the Leacock Building, Room 232.

We have an exceptional group of speakers who will be discussing a variety of topics related to this year's theme, "Continuity and Change in the Islamicate World," across eight panels chaired by our esteemed faculty at the Institute. We cordially invite you all to join us for this exciting event and engage in the lively discussions that will take place over the course of these two days.

We are excited to share that we have made the symposium a hybrid event this year to accommodate those who are unable to attend in person for any reason. We have provided a Zoom link for remote attendance for both days:

Day 1 and Day 2

Poster of the Film Screening Event"Every Angel is Terrifying" - Film Screening and Discussion on April 23

Sunday 23 April, 2:30 PM

Cinema du Musée

1379 Sherbrooke W.

Montreal, QC H3G 1K3

A special Screening of Every Angel is Terrifying

a film by Shahin Parhami

Organized in collaboration with Magazine Spirale and the online magazine Hors Champ.

This screening, initially scheduled for September 2020, accompanies the publication of an issue of the journal Spirale (No. 272) whose dossier, edited by Claudia Polledri, is devoted to Iranian art.

Every Angel is Terrifying-Rilke is a poetic cinematic expression that narrates a day of Hossein, a German literature professor and an expert on Rilke’s poetry, as well as a mathematician in Tehran. The highlight of our protagonist’s day is a recording of his recitation of selected Rilke’s translated poems in a prestigious sound studio. But the mood of the day suddenly and drastically changes as he receives a few phone calls that bear life changing news.

Post-screening discussion with Katrie Chagnon (Spirale), Setrag Manoukian (Institute of Islamic Studies), Claudia Polledri (Université de Montréal) and Chantal Partamian (Hors Champ).

Poster of the Daniel Majchrowicz eventA lecture by Daniel Majchrowicz on Friday April 14, 12pm, ARTS 150

“Translating Travel: Reading South Asian History Through the South Asian Travelogue”

Daniel Majchrowicz (Ph.D. Harvard University, 2015) is Assistant Professor of South Asian Literature and Culture at Northwestern University. His work is committed to thinking about South Asia and its place in the world as it is envisaged, imagined, and expressed through the medium of Urdu language and literature. More broadly, his teaching and research considers the history and culture of Muslims and Islam in South Asia, with a special emphasis on Urdu literature, travel writing, popular culture, and language politics. He is a translator from Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, and Persian, and currently the director of the South Asia Research Forum. He is the author of The World in Words: Travel Writing and the Global Imagination in Muslim South Asia (2023) and co-edited Three Centuries of Travel Writing by Muslim Women (2022).

Sponsored by the Texts, Traditions, and Translations workshop and Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

The Commemoration for the Late Prof. Üner Turgay

On Friday, March 24, the Institute of Islamic Studies organized a commemoration for the late Prof. Üner Turgay, who passed away on March 18, 2022. Professor Turgay was a professor of Ottoman History at McGill University’s Institute of Islamic Studies from 1976 until 2010, the date of his retirement. During approximately half of his long tenure, Prof. Turgay acted as the director of the IIS.  

The commemoration at McGill was attended by Prof. Turgay’s family, former colleagues, and former students. His Ph.D. advisees Anton Minkov, Ahmet Seyhun, and Faika Çelik gave speeches about Prof. Turgay as a mentor and friend. The talks were followed by a public speech by Cemal Kafadar, Vehbi Koç Professor of Ottoman History at Harvard University, entitled "Green Reading: Books and Outdoors in the Early Modern Ottoman World." This is the link for the Zoom recording of the hybrid event.

PhD Alumna : Faika Çelik with Professor Cemal Kafadar (Harvard University) Former advisees of Prof. Turgay who spoke at the memorial: Anton Minkov, Michael Ferguson, Ahmet Seyhun, Hasher Majoka, and Faika ÇelikConference organizersProf. Gershon Hundert (Jewish Studies & History), speaking about his friendship with Prof. Turgay.

Congratulations to Professor Pasha M. Khan!

Institute Associate Professor Pasha M. Khan has won a "Most Outstanding Professor" teaching award from the McGill Arts Undergraduate Society!

Click here to see a list of all the recipients.

Dr Hudson's Talk on Toussaint's Dream on April 11

Poster of EventOn behalf of African Studies Program's Speaker Series, the Department of History and Classical Studies and the Institute of Islamic Studies, you are cordially invited to attend:

Toussaint's Dream, or, Capitalism, Slavery, and the Debts of Haiti

Dr Peter James Hudson, UCLA

Tuesday, April 11

5:30-7:00 pm, Leacock 232

Publication by IIS Alumnus Brian Wright

Book Cover of Brian Wright's Book

Congratulations to PhD alumnus Brian Wright on the release of his book, A Continuity of Shari‘a: Political Authority and Homicide in the Nineteenth Century, published by the AUC Press. This book will be of interest to scholars and students of Islamic Studies, Islamic Law, and Islamic Legal History.

After Türkiye-Syria Earthquakes Panel on April 5

MOTS (Montreal Ottoman and Turkish Studies) presents:

After Türkiye-Syria Earthquakes: Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Healing and Recovery

Please join us for a transdisciplinary discussion on post-disaster urban reconstruction, social justice, and cultural heritage considerations in the aftermath of the earthquakes that devastated Türkiye and Syria on February 6, 2023.

Date: Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Time: 2-4 pm

Location: Room 202, 2nd floor, University Centre (formerly,  the SSMU Building)

Please register for online participation.

Poster of MOTS Event on April 5

Congratulations to Đồng Bảo Ngân Hà!

Congratulations to Đồng Bảo Ngân Hà on the successful completion of their MA thesis: "Al-Haraka Baraka": Palestinian Sportswomen’s Boycott as Movement-Building for Liberation. Their supervisor was Professor Michelle Hartman.

New Publication by Prof. Michelle Hartman

Congratulations to Professor Michelle Hartman on her book chapter, “From Arabic to English, What is a Classic?” published in the newly released, This is a Classic: Translators on Making Writers Global, edited by Regina Galasso (Bloomsbury, 2023). History and Classical Studies Professor Lynn Kozak from the Department of History and Classical Studies published an article in the same volume, “Happy Hour Homer: On Translating and Performing the Illiad Live in a Bar.” You can access the volume at the McGill library or buy it here.

Mezna Qato's Talk: Education in Exile on April 4

“Education in Exile: Palestinians and Postwar Regeneration, 1948 – 1967"
April 4, 3:30-5:00
Morrice Hall 017

What is education without a state, and what do the stateless make of it? In the aftermath of the Nakba, a massive infrastructure was built out for Palestinians. This study enters classrooms in the West Bank and Jordan in the early years of expulsion, and weaves everyday stories of students, teachers, administrators and bureaucrats, to show how the dispossessed navigate class mobility and anticolonial possibility. Mitigating both the poison and promise of a pedagogy that aims to erase them, this is a history of how postwar Palestinians reconfigured self and community, and generated new forms of social and political capital from desperate material conditions.

Poster of the April 4 Event

Mezna Qato is Margaret Anstee Fellow at Newnham College, and affiliated lecturer in history at the University of Cambridge. She is a recipient of a Spencer Fellowship, and is completing a book on the history of education for Palestinians.

Sponsored by the Research Group on Transitions and Global Modernities (Yan P. Lin Centre), the Institute of Islamic Studies, and the McGill Refugee Research Group

Lailatul Fitriyah: Communing with God in the Hideouts on April 11

Communing with God in the Hideouts: Border Theology in the Lives of Indonesian Muslim MDWs (Migrant Domestic Workers) in Singapore
Talk by Lailatul Fitriyah
Apr 11, 2023, 5:00 PM EDT
Gender Performance in Islamicate Contexts Speakers Series

Registration for the Zoom session

Poster of the April 11 Event

Anne Janice Farray's Retirement Celebration - March 9th

Anne Janice Farray with Faculty Members Robert Wisnovsky and Michelle Hartman

View photos of Anne Janice Farray's Retirement Celebration at the Faculty Club

For an article on Anne Janice's life of service to McGill and her community, please check out Contact: Montreal Community

Dean Accardi's Talk on March 21: "Thereby accounts of non-Muslims are confirmed", Kashmiri Sufis and the legitimacy of local tradition

Please join us to this talk in hybrid mode, part of the McGill Institute of Islamic Studies' Persianate Studies Colloquia.
"Thereby accounts of non-Muslims are confirmed", Kashmiri Sufis and the legitimacy of local tradition
Talk by Dr Dean Accardi, Connecticut College
Mar 21, 2023, 3:00 PM EDT - Morrice Hall 328
This is the link for the Zoom talk registration.

Poster of Dean Accardi Event on March 21, 2023

During the Kashmiri Sultanate (1320-1586), Kashmiri Sufis evaluated pre-Muslim Kashmiri pasts, narratives, practices, figures, and tropes and incorporated what was legitimate into Kashmiri Islamic traditions without falling into bid'at or "syncretism." This talk will disentangle the nuanced understandings of early modern Kashmir in which the past, the natural world, religious identities, bodily practices, and religious and political authority are configured quite differently and along different axes than how distinct religious traditions are typically understood today.

Hybrid in Memoriam in Honor of Prof. Uner Turgay 

The Institute of Islamic Studies invites you to a commemoration in honor of the late Professor Ali Üner Turgay. We invite Professor Turgay's former students, colleagues, and the members of our community to come together in order to honor his service to the field of Ottoman and Turkish Studies at McGill University from 1976 to his retirement in 2010.

The event is hybrid. Please remember to register if participating remotely.

Poster of Uner Turguay Commemoration Events on March 24, 2023

Date: March 24, 2023

Venue: McGill University Arts 150 and online

Session I: 2.30 pm-4.30 pm: In Memoriam: Üner Turgay

Talks in honor of Prof. Turgay by: Faika Çelik, Anton Minkov, Ahmet Seyhun and and Members of the Community


Session II: 5.30 pm: Public Talk by Cemal Kafadar (Harvard University)

"Green Reading: Books and Outdoors in the Early Modern Ottoman World"


Professor Siba N’Zatioula Grovogui: African Political Thought: On the Limits of the Vernacular, on March 17

You are cordially invited to a talk and discussion by Professor Siba N’Zatioula Grovogui. For information on his work and philosophy, please see this very short video.

Poster of the March 17 Talk of Professor Siba N'Zatioula Grovogui

African Political Thought: On the Limits of the Vernacular

A Lecture and Discussion with Professor Siba N’Zatioula Grovogui
Professor of International Relations Theory and Law
African Studies and Research Center
Cornell University

Friday, March 17, 2023
5:30 to 7pm
Leacock 232

Sponsored and hosted by African Studies Program Speaker Series & Institute of Islamic Studies

Talk by Guangtian Ha, “The Sound of Salvation” on March 24

The Sound of Salvation: Voice, Gender, and the Sufi Mediascape in China
Talk by Guangtian Ha, Assistant Professor of Religion, Haverford College
March 24, 2023, 1:30-3:30 PM EDT
IGSF Seminar Room, 3487 Peel
McGill University

Poster of March 24 Event on Sound of Salvation by Professor Guangtian Ha

This talk is sponsored by the Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies (IGSF), Department of East Asian Studies (EAS), Department of History (HIST), Institute of Islamic Studies (ISLA), Institute for the Study of International Development (ISID), Department of English (ENGL) and SSHRC-Connection Grants. 

Talk by Kareem Khubchandani, “Dragging Borders: LaWhore Vagistan’s Sonic Geographies” on March 14

Please join us to this talk online, part of the McGill Institute of Islamic Studies Winter 2023 Speaker’s Series.
Dragging Borders: LaWhore Vagistan’s Sonic Geographies
Talk by Kareem Khubchandani
Mar 14, 2023, 5:00 PM EDT
Gender Performance in Islamicate Contexts Speakers Series
Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University

This is the link for the Zoom talk registration

This artist/research talk uses my drag persona LaWhore’s mythological home of Vagistan to map unruly formations of subcontinent and diaspora that more capaciously hold queer and trans histories. Bringing together my contemporary drag performance with that of the Sindhi aunties that raised me Ghana in the eighties and nineties, I explore our common interests in queering gender and cultivating collective erotics.

Congratulations to Dr Wadha AlZuair!

Congratulations to IIS student Wadha AlZuair on successfully completing her PhD on the topic of Saudi women's creative expressions of protest. Her supervisor was Professor Michelle Hartman.

Interview in Jadaliyya: Profs Abisaab and Hartman

Professors Malek Abisaab and Michelle Hartman’s book Women’s War Stories is featured in a NEWTON interview in the online journal Jadaliyya

Cover of the Book, Women's War Stories

Celebration (Event) of Nowruz 1402

Spring is around the corner and so is Nowruz (نوروز), the new year celebrated by Iranians and several other nations and ethnicities! Continuing a long-lasting tradition, the Persian program at McGill is holding a Nowruz celebration event.

Come learn about Nowruz, see our Haftsin (هفت سین) table, enjoy live music, and have some Persian food and pastries! Join us for a glimpse of بهار (bahār, ‘Spring’ in Persian) on an ever-so-cold Montreal evening!

Time and place: Monday March 13th , 5-7 pm – Morrice Hall, Room 017

Nowruz Table

Lilyana Yordanova's talk, “Christian Art and Privileges under the First Ottoman Sultans” on February 22nd

MOTS (Montreal Ottoman and Turkish Studies) presents

“Christian Art and Privileges under the First Ottoman Sultans

Dr.  Lilyana Yordanova, École française d’Athènes

Discussant: Dr. Cecily Hilsdale (McGill University)

February 22, 2023, 5:00 pm EST

Morrice Hall 328 and Zoom

This workshop is based on a pre-circulated workshop paper. Please make sure to register via the Zoom link [Meeting ID: 882 0551 8539] in order to receive the draft paper and join the talk remotely.

Poster of the February 22 Talk


Lilyana Yordanova is a research fellow at the École française d’Athènes in Greece. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History and Archeology of the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine world from the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris. Since 2020, she is conducting a project about cross-cultural and interconfessional relations in the long 15th century based on the analysis of Christian and Muslim architecture and its impact on urban morphology in the Central Balkans. As of 2022, Yordanova also co-ordinates a five-year research program with Olivier Delouis (Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Maison française d’Oxford) which aims to promote the study of the interim period of the 14th-16th century in South-Eastern Europe as an emerging field through a series of workshops and seminars that read across disciplinary divides as well as linguistic and ethnic limits. Her book, entitled À la gloire de Dieu ! Commande et donation pieuses en Bulgarie médiévale (XIIe-XVe s.), will be published by the Éditions de l’École française d’Athènes in 2023. 


Since the early 1360s, the Ottoman state gradually asserted control over Western Thrace and Eastern Macedonia by reducing local lords to vassals and by conducting several successful military campaigns. With the halt of attempts by Christian rulers to reclaim lost territories about a century later, the two above-mentioned regions became the firm core of the Rumelia beylerbeylik, with the city of Sofia as its capital. Once divided among the Byzantine, Serbian, and Bulgarian medieval states as well as Albanian potentates, the area retained over time the attention of Ottoman rulers because of the Via Egnatia and Via Diagonalis, two strategic routes not only from an economic but also from a military standpoint. It is again this area that witnessed intense building activity and artistic effervescence since the second half of the 15th century, shedding light on cultural contacts not evidenced by other sources.

Reaching beyond current national borders to embrace the material in its interconnectedness, this presentation shall address three aspects pertaining to the history and art history of Western Thrace and Eastern Macedonia in the long 15th century: 1) the patronage of Ottoman sultans over Christian monastic foundations and the reception of their image by the Christian community; 2) the emergence of new artistic networks after the reconfiguration of political and ecclesiastic borders, and 3) the incorporation of “Ottoman aesthetics” in Christian iconography and monumental decoration.

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).

The Montreal Ottoman and Turkish Studies Welcomes You to Its 2022-2023 Events

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 contact us mots [at] (by email).

Poster of the Montreal Ottoman and Turkish Studies Workshops in 2022-2023

Sarah Ghabrial's talk, State and Non-state Law in Colonial Algeria, on February 23-CANCELLED

Gender Performance in Islamicate Contexts Speakers Series Facebook

State and Non-state Law in Colonial Algeria: Reflections on the Question of Gender and ‘Agency’
Talk by Sarah Ghabrial

February 23, 2023, 12:00 pm EST
688 Sherbrooke, Room 1041

Poster of Sarah Ghabrial Event

This talk presents methodological reflections on the enduring problem of finding/articulating the ‘agency’ of subaltern subjects, which has long animated the study and historiography of sexuality and gender, particularly in relation to questions of law, shari’a modernization, and colonialism. Based on both archival and oral history research on the legal strategies of Algerian women and girls under French colonial rule, the main aim of this talk is to propose alternative approaches, rooted in an acceptance of otherwise unsettling ‘gaps’ and heterogeneities, to the subaltern remnants and ‘voices’ found in judicial records. In turn, the coordinates of accommodation and resistance (reflecting a hegemony-domination duality) are revealed as ‘actors' categories,’ ultimately incongruent with the registers and ontologies that structured Algerian women and girls’ engagements with colonial law.

Balbir Singh's talk: “Opacity as Method: Muslim Femme Print and Material Cultures” on February 7

Gender Performance in Islamicate Contexts Speakers Series Facebook

Opacity as Method: Muslim Femme Print and Material Cultures
Talk by Balbir Singh

February 7, 2023, 5:00 pm EST
Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University
Morrice Hall, Room 017
3485 McTavish, Montreal, QC H3A 0E1

Poster of February 7, 2023 Event

In this piece, I center the possibility of opacity as method as a way of situating contemporary Muslim femme print and material cultures. I situate the racial and colonial fascination of Muslim femininity and femme-ness as, on the one hand, heavily defined by practices of veiling or unveiling, and on the other hand, policed on quotidian, embodied, and statist levels through forms of surveillance. As a response to such forms of fixation and harm, I theorize opacity and forms of cover—from privacy to redaction, from illegibility to counterveillance—as part of what I name the evasion of racial and colonial capture. Specifically, I read the work of contemporary Muslim femme artists, including Assia Boundaoui, Baseera Khan, and Kameelah Janan Rasheed, to describe the anti-colonial creative methods that deploy forms of opacity as vital to their respective practices. Following the lead of scholars in surveillance studies, Black feminisms, Asian and Arab diasporic cultural studies, and feminist and queer of color critique, I study this artistic work as crucial to reorganizing both aesthetic and political strategies of seeing and sensing writ large.

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).

Congratulations to Seyed Saleh Pezhman!

Congratulations to IIS PhD Student, Seyed Saleh Pezhman, on receiving the McGill-Glasgow Travel Award for his short-term research stay at the University of Glasgow, UK.

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.

Congratulations to Abeer Almahdi!

Congratulations to MA student Abeer Almahdi on receiving a 2022 SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship, for her project entitled, “‘Meilleur Souvenir!’ Cultural Mythologies and the Colonial Postcard”. Her supervisor is Professor Michelle Hartman.

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 - CANCELLED
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


Back to top