Call for Papers: International Congress for Medieval Studies

Screen Shot 2021-08-30 at 9.22.54 AMThe Great Lakes Adiban Society (GLAS) is the sponsor of two events at the upcoming International Congress for Medieval Studies, to convene on May 9–14, 2022. This event includes two panels relating to medieval Islam:

  1. Sociability between Justice and Tyranny
  2. Medieval Islamicate Paratexts in Contexts

To submit a paper to either of these events, go to, select the respective title for which you would like to apply under the dropdown menu “Session Selection,” or follow the hyperlinks noted below.

The due-date for all submissions is September 15, 2021. We will inform you of our decision within a week, and per ICMS guidelines, any papers not accepted will be passed on to the Medieval Institute to be considered for inclusion in the General Sessions.

For any questions, please contact Nathan Tabor,

Please read below for the full descriptions of these panels; for more information about our group, and to join our mailing list, visit

Panel 1. Sociability between Justice and Tyranny

This panel explores the question of how Islamicate texts from a wide variety of traditions ambivalently consider the role of sociability within pre-modern settings, whether lauded as ethical conduct or condemned as unjust tyranny. Muslim majority and Muslim-ruled societies dwelling in lands between the western reaches of the Mediterranean Sea and the eastern Indian Ocean shared notions of association and political order informed by connected multi-lingual literatures and widely accepted notions of proper comportment. Among these varied settings, friendship could be a deeply existential and often a political endeavor, and noble enmities were often grounded in conversation and intellectual exchange. So too, pre-modern Islamicate texts occasionally valorized characters, settings, and scenarios that unseated the social order, as tricksters (ʿayyarun) and conspirators (khuwwan) interrupted friendships or overturned proper governance.

This tension between maintaining social order and overturning it can be witnessed in Islamicate literary manuals, works on ethical guidance, and didactic stories that portray sociability as accommodating both conviviality and competition; while treatises on political instruction and governance dwell on the just and companionable charisma of absolutist rulers. In the marketplace, Sufi brotherhoods and professional guilds cultivated values that appeared to overturn accepted norms on sociability and centralized rule, witnessed among the ideas of qalandar, khaksar, and luti orders; on the political front, accusations of conspiracy or heretical practices served to legitimate conquests that often began under similarly questionable circumstances; and within the private realm family relationships were often fraught to the point that go-betweens and servants became singular trustworthy intimates. Potential questions that could be addressed within this panel include:

  • How does a military leader comport with a victorious or defeated adversary?
  • What is the proper way to rejoin a party after being sick from imbibing too much alcohol?
  • What are the rules of conduct in literary, physical, and martial competitions?
  • What are the gracious ways to defer confrontation with kings and other social superiors?
  • What are the rules of ethical seduction?
  • How do certain texts obfuscate their counter arguments against social cohesion?
  • What are the ways in which mirrors for princes perhaps distract rulers from tyranny?

We hope that by considering a wide variety of texts from across Islamicate traditions this panel can illuminate subtle ambivalences toward sociability and despotism to better understand the competitive nature of friendship and the seductive pull of absolutist rule. Click here to apply.

Panel 2. Medieval Islamicate Paratexts in Contexts

In recent years, the study of paratexts in modern and premodern contexts has received increased critical attention, with scholars examining how features of a book or manuscript outside of its primary textual content contribute to the work’s overall meaning, reception, and interpretation. Oftentimes, modern editions of premodern works obscure or entirely erase such features, significantly altering the reading or perusing experience. In an effort to heighten sensitivities to the dynamics of such phenomena, this panel will explore the nature of the paratext in the lettered traditions of the medieval Islamicate world and ask how developments in textual technology (manuscript, lithograph, print, digital) as well as practices of reading and editing have changed how such works are understood and valorized.

As the existence of detailed style guides for premodern Muslim scribes and secretaries demonstrates, how one decided to present a text on the page and in a book was not just an aesthetic choice, but one of profound social importance. The medieval Islamicate paratext was therefore often subject to careful consideration and possessed of a certain shared semiotics. In the context of premodern Islamicate manuscript culture, aspects of the paratext may be thought to include (though are not limited to): prefaces and prologues, marginalia, illustrations, illuminations, calligraphic choices, colophons, doodles, page layout, and binding. In order to understand the complicated ways in which these elements imbued meaning, the panel might consider the following questions:

  • What role have paratexts played in a work’s reception and canonicity?
  • How stable are paratexts across different manuscript editions?
  • How did paratexts work in different textual genres (literary works, history, biography, law etc.)?
  • What do paratexts communicate about genre, authority, and textual community?
  • What, if anything, distinguishes the paratext from the text in the medieval Islamicate context?
  • How does paratextuality complicate understandings of Islamicate authorship?
  • How have new textual technologies shifted the borders between text and paratext, and what are the implications of these shifts?
  • What possibilities and problems does the digitization of manuscripts present for retrieving the premodern paratext?
  • What do secretarial style guides (inshaʾ treatises) reveal about premodern attitudes to the paratext?
  • How does paratextuality in the Islamicate world contribute to or complicate Eurocentric theories of the paratext and the history of the book?

In exploring these and related questions, we hope to illuminate historically contingent and yet expansive ways of reading and interpreting Islamicate written works, stimulate comparative discussion between scholars of diverse lettered traditions, and highlight especially problematic examples and trends of what we might call paratextual erasure. Click here to apply.


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.

New Publication–The Quran: Keyword Collocations (Gorgias Press, 2021)

Gorgias Press recently published The Quran: Keyword Collocations by Elie Wardini. IQSA readers can find more information and purchase the book here.

collocationsPublisher’s Description: This bundle brings together the 16 volumes of Elie Wardini’s The Quran: Key Word Collocations. The aim of these volumes is to present the Quran as raw data with as little interpretation as possible. The digital text used for this purpose is the Uthmani text of the Tanzil Quran Text. In the present series, Collocation is defined as a Key Word, here adjectives, nouns, proper nouns and verbs, forming the center of a cluster with four co-occurring Key Words (1° and 2° of proximity), the first two to the left and to the right, where available. Every Collocation of each Key Word in the Quran is presented in context, as a rule with six words to the right and six to the left of it, where available or where the formatting permits. The central Key Words have been grouped by root > lemma. Classical dictionaries and Quran commentaries, as well as modern Quran dictionaries have been consulted.

Elie Wardini is professor of Arabic at Stockholm University, Sweden. His research has focused on Semitic languages, especially Aramaic-Arabic contact from a diachronic and sociolinguistic perspective.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.

New Publication: Jews and the Qur’an (Princeton U. Press, 2021)

Princeton University Press recently published Jews and the Qur’an by Meir Bar-Asher (2021). Interested readers can purchase the book here at the publisher’s website. 

jewsPublisher’s Description: In this panoramic and multifaceted book, Meir Bar-Asher examines how Jews and Judaism are depicted in the Qur’an and later Islamic literature, providing needed context to those passages critical of Jews that are most often invoked to divide Muslims and Jews or to promote Islamophobia. He traces the Qur’anic origins of the protection of Jews and other minorities living under the rule of Islam, and shows how attitudes toward Jews in Shi‘i Islam are substantially different from those in Sunni Islam. Bar-Asher sheds light on the extraordinary contribution of Jewish tradition to the Muslim exegesis of the Qur’an, and draws important parallels between Jewish religious law, or halakha, and shari‘a law.

An illuminating work on a topic of vital relevance today, Jews and the Qur’an offers a nuanced understanding of Islam’s engagement with Judaism in the time of Muhammad and his followers, and serves as a needed corrective to common misperceptions about Islam.


$24.95 / £20.00
Published (US):
Nov 30, 2021
Published (UK):
Jan 4, 2022

Meir M. Bar-Asher is the Max Schloessinger Professor of Islamic Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His books include Scripture and Exegesis in Early Imāmī Shiism and The Nusayrī-‘Alawī Religion: An Enquiry into Its Theology and Liturgy. He lives in Jerusalem.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.

Upcoming Publication: Christian-Muslim Relations, 600-1500 (Bloomsbury, 2022)

Bloomsbury is set to release a new anthology in January, 2022, The Bloomsbury Reader in Christian-Muslim Relations, 600-1500, edited by David Thomas. Interested readers can pre-order here.


Description: This reader brings together 50 extracts from the major works left by Christians and Muslims that reflect their reciprocal knowledge and attitudes. It spans the early 7th century, when Islam originated, to 1500. The general introduction provides a historical and geographical summary of Christian-Muslim encounters in the period and a short account of the religious, intellectual and social circumstances in which encounters took place and works were written. Nearly all the translations are new, and a map is provided. On the Christian side topics include: condemnations of the Qur’an as a fake and Muhammad as a fraud, depictions of Islam as a sign of the final judgement, and proofs that it was a Christian heresy. On the Muslim side they include: demonstrations of the Bible as corrupt, proofs that Christian doctrines were illogical, comments on the inferior status of Christians, and accounts of Christian and Muslim scholars in collaboration together.

Table of Contents

General Introduction, David Thomas (University of Birmingham, UK)
1. Muslim Arabic works
Introduction, David Thomas (University of Birmingham, UK)
2. Christian Arabic works
Introduction, David Thomas (University of Birmingham, UK)
3. Andalusian Arabic works
Introduction, Juan Pedro Monferrer Sala (University of Cordoba, Spain)
4. Syriac, Persian and other Eastern language works
Introduction, Thomas Carlson (Oklahoma State University, USA)
5. Greek works
Introduction, Johannes Pahlitzsch (University of Mainz, Germany)
6. Latin and European vernacular works
Introduction, Graham Barrett (University of Lincoln, UK)
7. Table of themes
8. List of contributors

Product details

Published Jan 13 2022
Format Hardback
Edition 1st
Extent 272
ISBN 9781350214101
Imprint Bloomsbury Academic
Dimensions 9 x 6 inches
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.

Annual Meeting Updates: Letter from the SBL Executive Director

Friends of IQSA—please find a message from the Executive Director of our affiliate organization, the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), with important updates regarding this year’s Annual Meeting to be held in San Antonio, Texas.


6 August 2021

Dear Colleagues,

SBL recognizes that the coronavirus continues to impact your planning for the Annual Meeting, and comfort levels, health constraints, and accessibility will vary from person to person. We have worked hard to be able to offer both in-person and virtual-only options. We thank all who are currently registered for the upcoming SBL Annual Meeting 2021 and offer a brief update to those registered or planning to register.

The continuing uncertainty is a source of anxiety for everyone. At the same time, we are being careful not to rush into decisions in the midst of a rapidly changing situation.

Your health and safety are key to our planning. We are closely monitoring governmental and medical recommendations regarding COVID-19 and the Delta variant in order to follow best practices to help reduce your exposure and risk. As we get closer to the meeting, we will issue protocols appropriate to the situation.

We will be as flexible as possible to accommodate the varying needs of members. Already we are taking the following steps:

  •  The change date for registrations, including full refunds or change in registration types, has been extended to 21 October 2021. You can register now and alter your plans as you see fit through that date with no penalty.
  • We will continue to work with program unit chairs to adapt sessions according to the changing needs of presenters.
  • As guidance changes, we will continue to keep the Annual Meetings website up-to-date with meeting requirements, recommendations, and best practices. The challenge of planning for the 2021 Annual Meetings is one that exceeds even that of 2020. We ask for your continued patience as we work to provide the best and safest experience that meets your needs.

Please feel free to write to with any questions you may have about registration, and bookmark the SBL Annual Meeting Website for updates.


John F. Kutsko
Executive Director

JIQSA Volume 5 (2020) Now Available!

cover_issue_39_en_USIQSA is thrilled to announce that the fifth volume of the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (founding editors: Michael Pregill and Vanessa De Gifis) has now been published online, with print copies due to ship soon (see also 

The issue’s contents include:

  • an obituary of the historian F. E. Peters by Reuven Firestone;
  • an exploration of Qur’anic doublets, drawing on studies of doublets in the New Testament, and the implication of such doublets for the history of the Qur’an’s origin and composition, by Gabriel Said Reynolds;
  • a close examination of a Copto-Qur’anic palimpsest by Éléonore Cellard and Catherine Louis, inspecting both the Qur’anic upper text and the biblical Coptic lower text, and considering the implications of the palimpsest for early Qur’anic scribal practices;
  • a study of the opening oath and the Prophet’s visions in Sūrat al-Najm by Saqib Hussain, in light of pre-Islamic astral concerns in the Qur’anic milieu as recoverable from early Islamic literature and Safaitic inscriptions;
  • an analysis of the regionality of early Qur’an manuscripts by Hythem Sidky, based on a comparison between variants in regional codices as recorded by Muslim scholars and regionality data recoverable from surviving Qur’an manuscripts;
  • and an Arabic article by Nadeen Alsulaimi on the structure of Sūrat al-Insān and on whether it should be classified as Meccan or Medinan.

Editor of Volume 5, Dr. Nicolai Sinai (Oxford University), notes that many thanks are owed for the hard work and commitment that went into the publication of this volume: to all authors for contributing such a rich selection of pioneering research; to our anonymous peer reviewers for making available their expertise and for offering many constructive and learned comments on those submissions that did make it into the issue; to the journal’s associate editor Saqib Hussain (who is still blissfully ignorant of the reviewers of his own submission); and to Billie Jean Collins of Lockwood Press for unfailing professional standards. It is especially gratifying that the issue includes revised and extended versions of two past winners of IQSA’s Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize (namely, the contributions by Cellard/Louis and Hussain).

Member Access

Full online access to the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association is available by signing in to the member portal at HERE. Use the top menu to navigate to “JIQSA” and select the desired volume via the drop-down menu. Online access to JIQSA is NOT  available via Lockwood Press’ website.

If you experience trouble logging in, please email to reset your password or confirm your membership.

Renew or sign up for IQSA membership HERE for full access to JIQSA, RQR, and more!

Institutional Access

Institutions wishing to subscribe for print and/or online access should fill out the form HERE. Print subscriptions are also available for individual subscribers via THIS FORM.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.