About Princeton Islamic Studies Colloquium

Fall 2016 Events



Next Event: Wednesday, October 19
Of Created Human Nature, Custom, and Reform: Fitra in Shah Wali Allah's Hujjat Allah al-Baligha

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Jones 102
Presenter: Raissa von Doetinchem de Rande (REL)
Prof. Daniel Sheffield (NES)

A light lunch will be served.


This paper argues that the concept of created human nature (fitra) in Shah Wali Allah´s (d. 1762) Hujjat Allah al-Baligha is highly complex: although affirming the particularity of divine laws and the efficacy of local customs, Wali Allāh still holds on to a unified concept of human flourishing. While established practices can become second nature to a community, enter the divine system of requital and thus help a particular people develop the necessary virtues through highly contingent means, this does not mean original nature itself undergoes change. With recourse to some of his other works and potential influences, I conclude that Wali Allah´s conception of fitra holds traditional theological assertions and the potential for legal reform together, and maybe even in the service of each other.


About the PISC

The Princeton Islamic Studies Colloquium is a forum for discussion and peer review of graduate students' research projects and guest scholars' works-in-progress in the field of Islamic Studies. The Islamic Studies Colloquium formed in the spring of 2009 with the hope of encouraging an interdepartmental discussion and circulation of ideas among graduate students and professors with an interest in Islamic Studies.

The colloquium meets once or twice a month over lunch to discuss a pre-circulated paper, and all attendees are expected to have read and reflected on the paper beforehand. A discussant initiates the conversation with a summary of the work in progress' main argument, taking care to identify what the piece contributes to current scholarship as well as the potential for further development. Following the author's response, a moderator conducts an hour of mediated discussion. The forum is led and organized by graduate students.

PISC is supported by the generosity of Princeton University's Department of Religion, the Department and Program of Near Eastern Studies and the Center for the Study of Religion.

Please contact pisc@princeton.edu for more information.


Fall Schedule 2016

              All meetings will take place in Jones 102 at 12pm unless otherwise noted. A light lunch will be served.

Wednesday, September 28: Varak Ketsemanian (NES)

"The Hunchakian Revolutionary Party and the Pattern of Violence in Sasun, 1890–1894"

Discussant: Alexander E. Balistreri (NES)

Wednesday, October 19:  Onur Gunay (ANT)

"Islamist Movements and Ethnic Politics"

Discussant: Prof. Julia Elyachar (ANT)

Wednesday, November 16: Raissa von Doetinchem de Rande (REL)

"Of Created Human Nature, Custom, and Reform: Fitra in Shah Wali Allah's Hujjat Allah al-Baligha"

Discussant: Prof. Daniel Sheffield (NES)

Wednesday, December 14: Kyle C. Clark (NES)

"Gendering the Eastern Question, 1875–1878"

Discussant: TBA