Shii Studies: The State of the Art


About The Event

On December 7-9, the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) held an International Conference entitled “Shii Studies: The State of the Art” organized by Hassan Ansari (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton) and Sabine Schmidtke (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton).

The conference was part of a larger endeavor aimed at fostering the scholarly exploration of all aspects of Shiism: the “Shii Studies Research Program”, made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Selected papers of the conference will be published in a special issue of the peer-reviewed Shii Studies Review (Brill, Leiden), vol. 3, devoted to the topic “Shii Studies: The State of the Art”.

Conference Program


  • Mushegh Asatryan (University of Calgary, Canada), A Medieval Nusayri Shaykh’s Disputations and the Study of the Nusayris in Western Academia
  • Samer Traboulsi (University of North Carolina at Asheville), The Past, Present, and Future of Druze Studies
  • Shafique N. Virani (University of Toronto), Pir Sabzali and the Missing Sources of Ismaili History
  • Jo‐Ann Gross (The College of New Jersey), Documentary Sources on Ismailism in Badakhshan: Genealogical History and the Construction of Confessional Identity in Badakhshan
  • Matthew Melvin‐Koushki (University of South Carolina), Occultist Imamophilia in Timurid‐Safavid Iran
  • Yaacov Lev (Bar Ilan University), The Uniqueness of the Fatimid State
  • Soroush Dabbagh (Unversity of Toronto), Islamic Reform in Contemporary Iran: The Shiite Legacy
  • Anne Regourd (University of Copenhagen, ERC Project ‘Islam in the Horn of Africa’), Between the lines: reading the history of papers from early manuscripts in the Glaser collection held in Berlin
  • Brinkley Messick (Columbia University), Imamic Governance and Sharīʿa Justice in 20th century Yemen
  • Nebil A. Husayn (University of Miami), From Kūfa to Yemen to Baghdad: The Evolution of Zaydī Dialectics on the Imamate
  • Deborah Tor (University of Notre Dame), The Parting of Ways Between ʿAlid Shiʿism and ʿAbbāsid Shiʿism in the Wake of the ʿAbbāsid Revolution: A Re‐Examination
  • Ulrich Marzolph (Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Göttingen), The Visual Culture of Iranian Twelver‐Shiism in the Qajar Period  


  • Dennis Halft (Ben‐Gurion University of the Negev), New Evidence for the History of Iranian Jewry and Imāmī‐Jewish Relations from Shīʿī Manuscript Repositories in Iran
  • Ehud Krinis, Ben‐Gurion University of the Negev), Jewish‐Shii Studies: Past Contributions and Future Prospects
  • Roy Vilozny (University of Haifa), Levy Billig (1897‐1936): an understudied episode in the history of Shīʽī studies
  • Amin Ehteshami (University of California, Berkeley), Al‐Maʾmūn’s Translators: Sectarian Genealogies of the Greco‐ Arabic Translation Movement
  • Mathieu Terrier (CNRS, Paris), Historicisation of Shiʿism and Shiʿitisation of History. Forty years of Imami Studies from Henry Corbin to Mohammad Ali Amir‐Moezzi
  • Seyed Amir Hossein Asghari (Indiana University), The Contemporary Shīʿa Seminary in Iran: Opponents and Adherents of Philosophy and Sufism
  • Torsten Hylén (Dalarna University, Falun, Sweden), Dating versions of the Karbalāʾ story
  • Ali Rida Rizek (Georg‐August‐Universität Göttingen), “The disciples of al‐Shaykh”: Imāmī Legal Scholarship after al‐ Ṭūsī (d. 460/1067)
  • Aun Hasan Ali (University of Colorado Boulder), The ijāza of al‐ʿAllāma al‐Ḥillī to the Banū Zuhra: Sources for the History of the School of Ḥilla
  • Devin Stewart (Emory College), Notes on the Life and Legacy of al‐Shahīd al‐Thānī, Zayn al‐Dīn al‐ʿĀmilī
  • Edmund Hayes (Leiden University), How do we deal with Imamic hadith? The case of the historical development in the Imams’ statements of khums
  • Robert Gleave (Exeter University), Early Shīʿī law: Limitations and Possibilities of Current Scholarship


  • Carmela Baffioni (Institute for Ismaili Studies, London), The Problem of Additions in the Manuscript Tradition of the Ikhwān al‐Ṣafāʾ
  • Daniella Talmon‐Heller (Ben‐Gurion University of the Negev), Fatimid Ritual: from Mamluk to Modern Scholarship
  • Rodrigo Adem, Ismāʿīlism as Shīʿism: The Construction of a Historical Category of Analysis
  • George Warner (SOAS, University of London), Shīʿism as Epic in the ʿAlī Nāmah
  • Michael Dann (College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana), The Origins, Usage and Indeterminacy of Sectarian Labels: “Batris” and “Rafidis” as Case Studies
  • Mohammad Sagha (University of Chicago), Early Shīʿī Discourse on Religious Leadership: Penitence, Revolution and Eschatology after Imam Ḥusayn
  • Hussein Abdulsater (University of Notre Dame), Mu’tazilism ignored, espoused and negotiated: Imami interpretations of the Covenant Verse
  • Walid Saleh (University of Toronto), Shiite anti‐Sunni Polemics and the Sunni Tafsir Tradition


  • Cost: Free
  • Total Slot: 0
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Institute for Advanced Study

Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

Our Speakers

Ali Rida Rizek
Amin Ehteshami
Aun Hasan Ali
Carmela Baffioni
Daniella Talmon‐Heller
Dennis Halft
Devin Stewart
Edmund Hayes
Ehud Krinis
George Warner
Hussein Abdulsater
Mathieu Terrier
Michael Dann
Mohammad Sagha
Robert Gleave
Rodrigo Adem
Roy Vilozny
Seyed Amir Hossein Asghari
Torsten Hylén
Walid Saleh
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