Third USPPIP Workshop: “Maṣlaḥa, Siyāsa and Good Governance: Sharīʿa and Society”, 18th-20th April 2018, University of Bergen

The USPPIP team gathered in sunny Bergen for the third USPPIP workshop and were joined by an international collection of researchers to examine notions of public benefit (maṣlaḥa) and good governance.  

The programme of the workshop is available here and included key note lectures from Professors Mohammad Fadel and Felicitas Opwis.  

On Saturday 21st April, the USPPIP team gathered to develop its research agenda further with presentations on the project’s impact work and the progress of the teams in the four participating centres.

USPPIP Panel: British Association for Islamic Studies (BRAIS) conference 9-11 April 2018

The Understanding Shari’a project convened a very well-attended panel at the 2018 BRAIS conference, which was held at the University of Exeter.  Rob Gleave chaired the panel, with papers from Omar Anchassi, Mahmood Kooria and Nijmi Edres– here is the programme extract:

Uses of the Past, A Panel on the HERA-Funded Project Understanding Sharī`a: Past Perfect Imperfect Present (USPPIP)

Chair: Robert Gleave (University of Exeter)

Omar Anchassi (University of Exeter) Al-Khaḍkhaḍa fī Jald `Umayra: Or, Towards a History of Onanism in Islamic Thought

Mahmood Kooria (Leiden University) Using the Past and Bridging the Gap: Premodern Islamic Legal Texts in New Media

Nijmi Edres (University of Göttingen) Uses of the Past: Gender and Shari`a in contemporary Muslim practice in Israel and Palestine

Writing Retreat in Vienna, 14th – 20th March, 2018

All four postdoctoral fellows of the USPPIP project attended the mid-term conference of HERA, held in Vienna. The conference evaluated the developments in individual projects thus far and suggested guidelines to increase the impact for the ongoing researches.

In the following days, we sat together to discuss a collaborative project and we all zoomed into the idea of writing a book together on the uses of the past in the contemporary Sharia discourses. Consequently, we​ talked about the overall frame and focus of the book, along with its central questions and arguments.

It was a very challenging but exciting exercise to find common threads and themes between our individual researches on violence, gender, custom and governance. The intensive discussions with the historical beauty of Vienna in the background proved to be quite refreshing. We explored different nuances and lacunae through more and more conversations. The spacious and vibrant cafes of Vienna provided a quite friendly and warm ambience for work and we carried out many of our discussions in such cafes, along with restaurants, trams, and buses. I very much enjoyed our continuous conversations outside ​the ​usual academic platforms.

The book we have in mind will be unique for its rarest combinations of sources, disciplines, areas, themes of Islamic law together with its fusion of four authors’ ideas and words in each and every ​sentence.

Eirik Hovden, who had lived in Vienna for four years as a fellow at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, took us through several parts of the city. Through his guidance we could immediately feel at home in this spectacular city. Apart from numerous fascinating monuments, we also visited the magnificent State Hall (Prunksaal) of the National Library of Austria and the Weltmuseum Wien, two most vivid spots of the Austrian imperial extravaganzas of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The city as such is an open visual treat for visitors and there is something or the other that always surprises you from small roadside attractions to monumental churches.

I am very happy that we could start working on this book in such a beautiful atmosphere at the bank of the Danube River where the past of Habsburgs, Ottomans, Communists, Nazis, Soviets, Americans, French and British flows through the veins of its presence in different forms and levels of everyday life.