About Princeton Islamic Studies Colloquium

Fall 2014 Events



Next Event: Thursday, 10/23
"How Could We Be Idolaters?"

Thursday, October 23, 2014
12.00-1.20 pm
Jones 102
Presenter: Cecilia Palombo (NES)
Paper title: "How Could We Be Idolaters?" Representing Christians as Pagans Between Byzantium and Islam (6th-7th Centuries)
Discussant: Jack Tannous (HIS)

A light lunch will be served

Sixth- and seventh-century sources from Byzantium and the Near East are witness to an increasing controversy on the saints’ cult, the worship of relics, and the means of intercession between God and humankind. This debate and its doctrinal implications often involved the use of idolatry as a polemical category and the representation of the adversaries as polytheists. Somehow starting from Gerald Hawting's fundamental work, this paper aims at showing how the ‘idea of idolatry’ in that period was not only a stereotyped form of inter-religious diatribe, but above all a traditional weapon functional to a new, specific controversy. Contemporary sources will be put side by side, so as to highlight, on the one hand, their different perspectives on the saints’ cult and on the intercession attributed to holy figures; on the other, their sharing common images, arguments and concerns. This analysis will include Jewish and Christian polemical materials from the 6th and the 7th centuries, written in Jewish Aramaic and Greek, as well as few specific Qur’ānic passages, which will be re-contextualized in the light of the contemporary debate.


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 of Near Eastern Studies and the Center for the Study of Religion.

Please contact pisc@princeton.edu for more information.


Fall Schedule 2014

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

9/18 - Aaron Rock-Singer (NES)
Transmitting a Revival: The Negotiation of Mass Religious Education in Egypt, 1976-1981

10/2 - Emily Goshey (REL)
Saudi Islamic Universities and their Exclusive Salafi Networks

10/16 - Nebil Husayn (NES)
Enmity for Ali and His Family: The Discourse between Anti-Alid and Anti-Shī‘ī Sentiments

10/23 - Cecilia Palombo (NES)
“How Could We Be Idolaters?” Representing Christians as Pagans Between Byzantium and Islam (6th-7th centuries)

11/6 - Megan Brankley Abbas (HIS)
The Struggle Against Intellectual Dualism: Western Education and Islamic Religious Authority in late Colonial Indonesia

12/4 - Brahim El Gualbi (COM)
The “Self” and the “Other” in the Prison Poetry of Abū Firās al-Hamadani (al-Rumiyyāt) and al-Mu‘tamid ibn ‘Abbād (al-Aghmatiyyāt)


Last updated: October 2014.