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Humanities Research Fellowship Publications
My book proposal revolves around the theme of Gender and Cultural Change in UAE Society as reflected by modern and contemporary works of drama written by prominent Emirati playwrights. A maximum of ten plays will be chosen from modern and contemporary Emirati theater that reflect emerging problems related to gender and cultural tension within the Emirati social scene. I will be professionally translating all plays from Arabic into English as few translations have been undertaken and there is little significant or substantial material in this area available in English for readers or scholars. The book will include an introduction surveying the rise of Emirati theater from the early beginnings even preceding the formation of the UAE, showing how theater was, and continues to be, an important educational tool within Emirati society from as early as the 1960’s. The book will also include critical analysis of the works of drama; interviews (when possible) will be conducted with some of the major playwrights and actors/actresses. Works selected are by prominent Emirati authors who consistently focus on gender and social problems found in their contemporary social environment.
The plays chosen cover a wide range of topics that currently challenge, if not threaten, present day Emirati cultural and gender identity. The book will show the effect of the modern globalized image of the nation on its people over the past four decades. The main theme of the book will revolve around important socio-political and cultural crises that face Emiratis today including: crises of identity, nostalgia for a lost past, disruption of traditions, and the uprooting of firmly established cultural habits to make room for modern "progress."
The most important theme tackled is the struggle to redefine gender roles, whereby women face the dichotomy of having to move on in a seemingly male-oriented society that offers them work and education but insists on confining them to a subjugated mental and physical space. The plays show that men themselves appear torn between allowing women to advance and change or locking them up in worn out traditions of the past. The book will show a division of opinion among rising generations of Emirati youth as some writers embrace change as part of progress and join the globalization process while others have misgivings about what they see as a purely "Westernizing" conspiracy that threatens the ethos of their culture and traditions.
The book targets an important historical and cultural phase of transition in the life of UAE society and constitutes a vital resource for understanding modern issues that disturb the youth and plague the elder generations in contemporary UAE life.
The project of a pictorial history of falconry has been largely neglected by art historians and cultural historians alike. In its truly global aspects it has a great potential. Already Friedrich the Second wrote in the 13th century (in his De Arte Venandi cum Avibus based heavily on Arab sources) that he gathered different falconers from four continents to practice this noble sport in his court. This shows the combination of political power or the cura publica and falconry as a metaphor that is being reflected in a number of emblems and images in the Early Modern period, which will be the frame of the present investigation.
The crucial role of the Mediterranean world in transferring knowledge, images, practices and the instruments of falconry from Persia, Mughal India, and the Arab Peninsula to medieval and early modern Europe will be highlighted. The afterlife of falconry in the longue duree reaches into our days. In reverse, the use of certain pictorial modi and traditions flow again from Europe to the Arab Peninsula today.
To study the transmission of functions, motives, and meanings of falconry and the physical movement of objects, including the falcons (often exchanged as diplomatic gifts), Aby Warburg´s notion of Bilderfahrzeuge (image vehicles) offers a fruitful methodological tool for the present investigation. The interaction of nature and culture reveals itself in the interaction of the bird of prey and the falconer, between untamed and tamed. The different techniques of learning this art and training the falcon as well as transferring its knowledge as an intangible heritage will be of central importance for the present study.
- Pre-OPEC (1900-1960)
- Active OPEC (1960-1986)
- Passive OPEC (1986-)
- OPEC and its Role in the Global Economy
- International Cooperation and Transnational Cultural Trends (UNCTAD, OPEC)
- International Law and its Changing Paradigms (rise and fall of “permanent sovereignty)
- Workers in Oil-Producing Countries (...)
- Oil Policies/Oil Myths (conservation, modernisation, consumerism, oil curse, and the like)
- Nation-Building in OPEC countries (architecture, infrastructures, welfare, economic trends)
- Imagining the Oil Nation (novels, movies and art imagining the oil nation)
Dag Harald Claes
Dag Harald Claes is professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Oslo. He is also adjunct professor at Molde University College. He holds a doctoral degree in Political Science from the University of Oslo.
He specializes in international energy relations, in particular studies of oil-producer cooperation, the energy relations between Norway and the EU, the role of oil in Middle East conflicts, and Arctic oil and gas. At present he is head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Oslo.
His publications include: The Politics of Oil-Producer Cooperation. Westview Press 2001. Governing the Global Economy - Politics, Institutions and Economic Development. Routledge 2011 (edited with Carl Henrik Knutsen). “Arctic Petroleum Resources in a Regional and Global Perspective”, in Rolf Tamnes & Kristine Offerdal (ed.), Geopolitics and Security in the Arctic. Regional Dynamics in a Global World. Routledge 2014, with Arild Moe. “Cooperation and Conflict in Oil and Gas Markets”, in Andreas Glodthau (ed.), The Handbook of Global Energy Policy. Wiley-Blackwell 2014.“The interdependence of European–Russian energy relations” in Energy Policy (59)2013, with Øistein Harsem.
Duccio Basosi is Assistant Professor in History of International Relations at the Ca' Foscari University of Venice. In 2011 Dr. Basosi obtained a FIRB National Research Grant from the Italian Ministry of Scientific Research, for the project "The engines of growth: for a global history of the conflict between renewable, fossil, and fissile energies, 1972-1992." He specializes in international relations from the 1960s to the present, with a focus on monetary and financial affairs and international energy politics.
He has written extensively on the international political economy of the 1970s and 1980s. Recent publications are "The European Community and International Reaganomics, 1981-85," in K. Patel, K. Weisbrode (eds.), European Integration and Atlantic Community in the 1980s, Cambridge University Press, 2013; "The 2015 Countershock and the Prospects for a Low-carbon Energy Transition", in IAEE Energy Forum, no. 3, vol. 24, 2015 (with R. Basosi); and the volume Countershock/Counterrevolution. Energy and Politics in the 1980s, IB Tauris, 2016 (co-edited with G. Garavini and M. Trentin). He teaches History of International Relations at the MA-level program in International Relations at Ca' Foscari University, and International Oil Politics from the 1970s to the Present at the Ca' Foscari-Harvard Summer School.
Einar Lie is a professor of Economic History at the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History at the University of Oslo. He served as a Vice Dean at the Faculty of Humanities from 2010 to 2014 (on sabbatical fall 2013), and Board Chairman of The Norwegian University Center in St. Petersburg and of the interfaculty research area Kultrans.
Lie (b. 1965) holds a Master degree in Economics and a PhD in Economic History (1996). He has published widely on economic planning and policy making in the Nordic countries. Over the last two decades, Lie has been engaged in a number of business history projects, as a researcher and academic advisor. Main research interests have been the development of state-business relations especially in banking, manufacturing industry, and the oil sector. Currently, he is commissioned on a part time basis as a project manager for the history of the Central Bank of Norway 1816-2016. Lie is also a regular op-ed columnist in the Norwegian daily Aftenposten.
Giuliano Garavini is Senior Research Fellow in the Humanities at NYU Abu Dhabi and Assistant Professor of International History at the University of Padua.
He headed the Padua unit of the FIRB National Research Grant from the Italian Ministry of Scientific Research, for the project "The engines of growth: for a global history of the conflict between renewable, fossil, and fissile energies, 1972-1992."
His last book is After Empires: European Integration, Decolonization and the Challenge from the Global South 1957-1986. He is writing a book provisionally titled OPEC. A History of Oil.
Gopalan Balachandran is Professor of International History and Politics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. He studied Economics to graduate level before completing a PhD in economic history from the University of London.
His research engages South Asia and the Indian Ocean in a global frame and spans labor, capital, entrepreneurship, and development. He is also interested in histories of colonialism and decolonisation, and their continuing significance for the present. Professor Balachandran’s current research focusses on cultures of commerce in the Indian Ocean and Atlantic worlds. His books include John Bullion’s Empire: British Gold Problems and India between the Wars (1996, 2013, 2015); Globalizing Labour? Indian Seafarers and World Shipping, c. 1870-1945 (2012); and the Reserve Bank of India, 1951-1967 (1998). He is also a Managing Editor of the Indian Economic and Social History Review.
Juan Carlos Boué
Juan Carlos Boué was born in Mexico City and was educated at El Colegio de México. Upon graduating from university in 1990, he started working at the international trading arm of Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), the Mexican national state oil company. Ever since, his professional activities have been focused primarily on the political economy, industrial economics, and international governance structure of petroleum, alternating between academia and the oil industry proper.
From 2005 to 2009, he was special advisor to the Venezuelan Minister of Energy and Petroleum, the president of the Venezuelan state oil company (Petróleos de Venezuela, PDVSA) and the Venezuelan Vice-Minister for Hydrocarbons. In 2010, Boué returned to the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies as a research associate.
Boué has written widely on the industrial economics of the oil and gas exploration and production, and petroleum refining industries, as well as on auction design for oil and gas bidding rounds and the taxation and political economy of oil in general. Among his recent monographs: La internacionalización de PDVSA. Una costosa ilusión. Caracas, Ediciones del Ministerio de Energía y Minas de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela (Fondo Editorial Darío Ramírez), 2004. (The Internationalisation of PDVSA. A Costly Illusion)
Majid A. Al-Moneef is the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco). He was previously Secretary General of the Supreme Economic Council of Saudi Arabia and a member of the Majlis Ash-Shura of Saudi Arabia. He formerly served as Saudi Arabia’s Governor to OPEC. He is the President of the Executive Committee of the Arab Energy Club, a member of the Economic Research Forum, the Oxford Energy Policy Club, and the editorial Board of OPEC Energy Review.
Dr. Al-Moneef earned his PhD from the University of Oregon (US) and was Professor of Economics and Vice Dean at King Saud University in Riyadh and President of the Saudi Economics Association. He was a lead author of the second and third assessment reports on climate change of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Vice President of the World Energy Council. He was also advisor to the Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, and representative of Saudi Arabia to the OPEC Economic Commission Board.
Dr. Al-Moneef has published extensively on energy economics, international finance, and public policy.
Robin Mills, CEO of Qamar Energy (Dubai), is an expert on Middle East energy strategy and economics, described by Foreign Policy as “one of the energy world’s great minds.” He is the author of two books: The Myth of the Oil Crisis and Capturing Carbon, columnist on energy and environmental issues at The National, and comments widely on energy issues in the media, including the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, Atlantic, CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, and others. He worked for a decade for Shell, concentrating on new business development in the Middle East, followed by six years with Dubai Holding and the Emirates National Oil Company. He is Non-Resident Fellow for Energy at the Brookings Doha Center, holds a first-class degree in Geology from the University of Cambridge, and speaks five languages including Arabic and Farsi.
Sophia is Global Distinguished Professor, Environmental Studies and Public Policy at NYU and NYUAD. She holds a BA from Yale University; an MA from Columbia University, and a PhD from the UOP in Greece. Sophia Kalantzakos spent ten years as a policy maker, an elected Member of Parliament and Member of the Greek Government until the end of 2009. In 2010, she entered Academia as Global Distinguished Professor in Environmental Studies and Public Policy at NYU. Her interdisciplinary research has drawn upon international affairs (her area of study) and climate change as the threat that is reshaping power politics across the globe. Her research focuses on resource competition, the challenges of a new energy mix and the potential of an EU-China partnership for the Anthropocene. She is focusing her attention on EU-GCC relations. She most recently co-edited a book entitled Energy and Environmental Transformations in a Globalizing World: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue.
Middle East Energy and OPEC Correspondent, The Wall Street Journal
Touraj Atabaki is Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the International Institute of Social History and Emeritus Professor of Social History of the Middle East and Central Asia at Leiden University. Touraj studied first theoretical physics and then history.
Touraj has written extensively on Iranian history. His latest publications include: Oil and Beyond Expanding British Imperial Aspirations, Emerging Oil Capitalism, and the Challenge of Social Questions in the First World War, co-author Kaveh Ehsani, in Helmut Bley and Anorthe Kremers (eds), The World During the First World War (Essen: Klartext Verlag, 2014); “Far from Home, But at Home: Indian Migrant Workers in the Iranian Oil Industry,” Studies in History, 31(1), 2015; Editing the issue of “Writing the Social History of Labor in the Iranian Oil Industry,” for the International Labor and Working-Class History, 84 (Fall), 2013. And: “From ‘Amaleh (Labor) to Kargar (Worker): Recruitment, Work Discipline and Making of the Working Class in the Persian/Iranian Oil Industry,” International Labor and Working-Class History, 84 (Fall), 2013. Touraj Atabaki has been the coordinator of a research project on the hundred years social history of labour in the Iranian oil industry, funded by the Netherlands for Scientific Research.
Victor McFarland is an assistant professor of history at the University of Missouri. He received his doctorate in history from Yale University and has served as a Miller Center Fellow at the University of Virginia and a Dickey Center Fellow at Dartmouth College. Dr. McFarland studies the history of the energy industry, US-Middle East relations, and the United States in the late 20th century. His current book project focuses onthe oil crisis of the 1970s.
Bassam Fattouh is Director of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies and professor at SOAS.
Matthew Leimgruber is a professor at the University of Zurich.
Walid Khadduri is former MEES Editor in Chief.
Modernity imparted a new theoretical significance to the issue of gender reform in the Muslim world. This dissertation examines the impact of modernity on the hermeneutical approaches and interpretations of three modern exegetes on significant gender issues in the Qurʾan. It compares the tafsīr works of Muḥammad ʿAbduh, Sayyid Quṭb, and Muḥammad al-Ṭāhir ibn ʿĀshūr with those of pre-modern exegetes concerning three Qurʾanic verses: 2:228, 4:3, and 4:34. These verses, among others, gained significance in modern exegetes’ quest to articulate Islam’s position on gender, a debate that was tied to the larger ideological question on whether or not Islam was fit for modern times. By situating the exegeses of ʿAbduh, Quṭb, and Ibn ʿĀshūr within their broader historical and intellectual contexts, this dissertation demonstrates how their tafsīr on gender reflects their engagement with the broader contemporaneous debates on gender and Islam in late-nineteenth- and mid-twentieth century Egypt and Tunisia. The interpretations of all three modern exegetes evince a heightened gender-consciousness that is absent from the interpretations of pre-modern exegetes on the same verses. This underscores the particularity of an exegetical gender-consciousness to the modern period.
The tension between continuity and change in modern Islamic intellectual thought demonstrates that interpretive differences between modern and pre-modern exegetes are not black and white. While ʿAbduh, Quṭb, and Ibn ʿĀshūr reach significantly new conclusions on certain verses, they also echo many of the pre-modern interpretations on gender. As such, the exegetical tradition on gender reflects a variety of interpretations that defies existing generalizations of this tradition as consistently patriarchal.
While the works of all three exegetes reflect full engagement with modernity, their approaches are grounded in very different methodologies, traditions, and orientations. This dissertation argues that ʿAbduh and Riḍā’s Tasfīr al-Manār and Quṭb’s Fī Ẓilāl al-Qurʾān both signal a departure from the classical methodologies of the pre-modern exegetical tradition, whereas Ibn ʿĀshūr’s al-Taḥrīr wal-Tanwīr revives the methodologies of the pre-modern, philological exegetical tradition. As such, Ibn ʿĀshūr represents the classical Sunni practice of renewal based on pre-existing scholarly norms.
Although there are a number of key writers who belong to the twelfth century, none is arguably as important as ʿAyn alQuḍāt Hamadānī, who hailed from the western Iranian city of Hamadān. This figure is famous for having been the student of Aḥmad alGhazālī (the younger brother of the famous Ghazālī), and for having been put to death by the Seljuq government, ostensibly on charges of heresy, at the age of thirty three. However, as Omid Safi has convincingly argued, the real cause for ʿAyn alQuḍāt’s death was his unrelenting critique of the Seljuq government’s corrupt administrative practices.1
ʿAyn alQuḍāt left behind a number of key books in both Arabic and Persian. He also wrote two works in Arabic. One of these is a kind of apology penned in prison while awaiting state execution.2 The other work in Arabic, which is by far ʿAyn alQuḍāt’s most important theoretical work, is his treatise entitled Zubdat alḥaqā ʾiq (The Quintessence of Reality).3 This treatise is perhaps the first theoretical exposition in Arabic of a number of the major themes that would come to occupy writers in the later tradition of Islamic intellectual history. It is only one hundred pages long, and is written in a terse but highly technical style. It is remarkable that ʿAyn alQuḍāt, by his own admission, wrote the Zubdat at the age of twenty one, and in a matter of just a few days. It is a very mature text, and a number of its key themes find their way into ʿAyn alQuḍāt’s other writings.
My research into ʿAyn alQuḍāt has revealed that there are essentially two intellectual spheres in which his writings have had a lasting influence:
- the Islamic intellectual tradition, on the one hand, and
- the poetic tradition on the other. Scholars have often attempted to situate ʿAyn alQuḍāt within this second sphere.
But, very little sense can be made of his contributions to this second sphere without first accounting for his contributions to the first sphere.
One example shall suffice. A key feature of twelfth century Muslim writings is the emergence of a central mystical concept known as imagination (khayāl) or imaginalization (tamaththul). In medieval Islamic thought, the imaginal realm eventually came to refer to a world which brings together opposites, and this allowed Muslim thinkers of various intellectual persuasions to offer new solutions to age old theological problems. Although imagination is a concept which can be traced back to a number of earlier Islamic sources, it is commonly acknowledged that, as a technical expression, it came to the forefront of the discussion largely due to Ibn ʿArabī’s influence. Ibn ʿArabī’s treatment of imagination certainly influenced the later Sufi tradition. Yet prior to Ibn ʿArabī, this concept was also employed as a technical term by a number of authors. Where this idea comes from has puzzled scholars for the past several decades. But, when we turn to ʿAyn alQuḍāt’s writings, the missing link clearly emerges. Indeed, he was the first Sufi to discuss the concept of imagination at length, and this in a manner which would leave an indelible mark upon the later tradition.4
This singular concept of imagination is developed by ʿAyn alQuḍāt and integrated into his unique understanding of faith (īmān) and infidelity (kufr). Through the function of imagination ʿAyn alQuḍāt attempts to show how these two seemingly antithetical concepts are intimately related to one another by virtue of their being linked to the two principles responsible for the emergence of the cosmic order and the human condition: the light of the Prophet Muhammad, and the darkness of Satan or Iblīs, as he is so named in the Islamic tradition. This latter point is closely tied to what can be called ʿAyn alQuḍāt’s “Satanology.” Although some scholarship has been dedicated to this aspect of his thought,5 a more comprehensive approach to this problem, within the context of his treatment of key Sufi themes, reveals a much more coherent picture of this important feature of ʿAyn alQuḍāt’s writings. We have here a metaphysics of light and darkness that is of the first order, and one in which the devil is seen not only as a tragic, fallen lover,6 but as someone who forms a vital piece to the puzzle of a cosmic plan which necessitates that his darkness offset and complement the light of the Prophet Muhammad. In this vein, ʿAyn alQuḍāt is also the first author to theoretically formulate the well known doctrine in Islamic thought of the Muhammadan reality (alḥaqīqa alMuḥammadiyya). Both of these ideas, the tragic role of Satan and the metaphysical nature of the light of the Prophet of Islam, would go on to infuse much of the literary and intellectual creativity of Islamic civilization for over the next five hundred years.
Yet all of these discussions in ʿAyn alQuḍāt’s Persian works are informed by discussions in the Arabic Zubdat. In this work, it would not be an understatement to maintain that Ayn alQuḍāt conscientiously changes the course of the direction of the Islamic intellectual traditions of philosophy, theology, and theoretical mysticism for good. As Frank Griffel and Nasrollah Pourjavady have shown, ʿAyn alQuḍāt is largely indebted to the work of alGhazālī.7 In fact, it can even be said that many of his positions in the Zubdat are a hybrid of Ghazālī and, to some extent, Avicenna. At the same time, in the Zubdat ʿAyn alQuḍāt presents us with a careful synthesis between philosophy, theology, and mysticism in a manner which is more explicit than Ghazālī’s Mishkāt alanwār (The Niche of Lights) in terms of his reliance on philosophy, but which conscientiously seeks to address certain perceived limitations in Avicenna because of his unclear stance on mysticism.8
There are indeed a number of discussions in the Zubdat which inform not only ʿAyn alQuḍāt’s other works, but also the later Islamic intellectual tradition associated with the school of Ibn ʿArabī. There are certain passages in the Zubdat which seem to indicate, for example, the idea that the divine names are relational (iḍāfī) and not actual ontological entities.9 This is a characteristic doctrine of Ibn ʿArabī, and one which allowed him and generations of his followers to avoid a number of the pitfalls inherent in the Kalam insistence on the divine names as somehow inhering in God’s Essence (qāʾma bidhātihi), but not being superadded to It. What makes this possible link between ʿAyn alQuḍāt and Ibn ʿArabī even more plausible is that Ibn ʿArabī even mentions ʿAyn alQuḍāt in one of his works.10 Given the context in which this reference occurs, it is clear that Ibn ʿArabī was familiar with ʿAyn alQuḍāt’s writings. And since Ibn ʿArabī did not read Persian, the only other text of ʿAyn alQuḍāt that he could have had in mind was the Zubdat.
The Zubdat indeed theoretically exposits a number of philosophical and theological doctrines that are characteristic of the later Islamic intellectual tradition. It contains, amongst other things, remarkably lucid expositions of the problem of the eternity of the world; the fact that there is a discernable order of causation in creation, but that God is the only real cause; the manner in which concepts such as “before” and “after” are accidents of time; and how existentiation (ījād) is a process of continuity, and results from divine self-intellection. All of these discussions are then seamlessly tied into ʿAyn alQuḍāt’s underlying argument in the Zubdat, namely that the knowledge of the realized Sufi (ʿārif) is beyond the scope of the intellect (mā warāʾ ṭawr al ʿaql). This point is developed in highly symbolic terms where the author draws upon, amongst things, the notion that mirrors at once reveal and conceal the identity of the objects placed before them.
There is no doubt in my mind that a proper, thoroughly annotated English translation and study of the Zubdat will be a great boon to both students and scholars. It will pave the way for a clearer understanding of ʿAyn alQuḍāt’s other writings, while also giving readers a window into how he helps change the course of later Islamic intellectual history through a reevaluation of several major theological and philosophical problems bequeathed to him by his illustrious predecessors.11
Given the innovative work being done by the humanities faculty and other researchers at NYUAD, along with the University’s Ancient World multidisciplinary concentration, I have no doubt that the residential fellowship at the NYUAD Institute will provide me with a creative and intellectually stimulating space in which I can carry out my research. Since my project is squarely situated in the discipline of medieval Arabic/Islamic philosophy and theology, this fellowship would also allow me to benefit from the expertise of some of the world’s best scholars of Islamic thought who work full time at NYUAD, such as Professor Taneli Kukkonen.
1 See Safi, The Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006), chap. 4. The record of ʿAyn alQuḍāt’s criticisms of the Seljuq government is enshrined in his collection of letters to his students. See ʿAyn alQuḍāt, Nāmahā, ed. ʿAfīf ʿUsayrān and ʿAlī Naqī Munzawī (Tehran: Bunyādi Farhangi Īrān, 1983).
2 This work has been translated into French and English. See, respectively, “La Shakwā,” ed. and trans. Mohammed Ben Abd ElJalil, Journal Asiatique 216 (1930): 176; 193297; A Sufi Martyr, trans. A.J. Arberry (London: Keagan and Paul, 1969).
3 ʿAyn alQuḍāt Hamadānī, Zubdat alḥaqā ʾiq, in ʿAyn alQuḍāt, Zubdat alḥaqā ʾiq, edited by ʿAfīf ʿUsayrān (Tehran: Intishārāti Dānishgāhi Tehrān, 1961), 1101.
4 For an inquiry into the nature of imaginalization as it relates specifically to death in ʿAyn alQuḍāt’s writings, see Leonard Lewisohn, “In Quest of Annihilation: Imaginalization and Mystical Death in the Tamhīdāt of ʿAyn alQuḍāt Hamadhānī,” in The Heritage of Sufism, ed. Leonard Lewisohn (Oxford: Oneworld, 2000), 1:285336. Although I follow Lewisohn in terms of the broad outlines of his presentation, I argue that imaginalization in ʿAyn alQuḍāt’s writings is related to a much wider range of his teachings (if not all of them).
5 See Peter Awn, Satan’s Tragedy and Redemption: Iblīs in Sufi Psychology (Leiden: Brill, 1981), 134150. A more recent inquiry into the complex figure of Satan in the Quran and its exegetical traditions can be found in Whitney Bodman, The Poetics of Iblīs: Narrative Theology in the Qur’ān (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011).
6 This idea was first introduced by the other famous martyrmystic alḤallaj (d. 922). See Michael Sells, Early Islamic Mysticism (Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1996), chap. 9.
7 See Frank Griffel, AlGhazālī’s Philosophical Theology (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), chap. 1; Nasrollah Pourjavady, “ʿAyn alQuḍāt waImām Muḥammad Ghazālī,” Maʿārif 3 (1984): 3366. See also Pourjavady, ʿAyn alQuḍāt wa ustādāni ū (Tehran: Intishārāti Aṣāṭīr, 1995), 135179.
8 For which, see Avicenna, Ibn Sīnā on Mysticism: Remarks and Admonitions, Part 4, trans. Shams Inati (London: Keagan Paul, 1996).
9 See also the observations in Hermann Landolt (which points to a possible Ismaili influence on ʿAyn alQuḍāt): “Early Evidence for Nāṣiri Khusraw’s Poetry in Sufism: ʿAyn alQuḍāt’s Letter on the Taʿlīmīs,” in Fortresses of the Intellect: Ismaili and Other Islamic Studies in Honour of Farhad Daftary, edited by Omar AlídeUnzaga (London: I.B. Tauris in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2011), 369386.
10 Ibn ʿArabī, Sharḥ Kitāb Khalʿ alna ʿlayn, edited by Muḥammad alAmrānī (Marrakesh: Muʾassasat Āfāq lilDirāsāt walNashr walIttiṣāl, 2013), 229. See also Bakri Aladdin, “Šuǧūn almasǧūn une oeuvre de jeunesse d’Ibn ‘Arabī? Problèmes d’attribution,” Bulletin d'études orientales 51 (1999): 1540 (particularly the suggestion at n. 44).
11 ʿAyn alQuḍāt’s influence extends right up to the seventeenth century—for example, in the writings of Mullā Ṣadrā. See the discussion in my book, The Triumph of Mercy: Philosophy and Scripture in Mullā Ṣadrā (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2012), 3031.
Of all the major Islamic Studies subfields, the Qur’an commentary tradition (Tafsir) remains a discipline without a historical narrative of its development or a history of the hermeneutical theories that were developed across the centuries. For the past 15 years I have been working incrementally to write such a history. The building blocks of this history are now complete and what is needed is a book-length narrative to frame and present this genre and its development from its inception to the modern period. The book will be both a history of the development of the genre of Qur’an commentary (both classical and modern) and an introduction to the field. More significantly, it will be an analytical intellectual history of the hermeneutical theories developed by Muslim exegetes. The book is based on an extensive survey of the literature of Tafsir (Qur’an commentary), both published and in manuscript collections in the world.
The book has three different methodological approaches: historical, regional histories, and hermeneutical discussions. The historical analysis will chart where and how the craft of Qur’an commentary developed and who were the major players in this history. The regional approach will highlight the importance of certain centers for the story of Tafsir: Nishapur, Cairo, Tabriz and Istanbul, and then back to Cairo (with the printing age), and now the Gulf States with the rise of research centers in these regions. This is not only a novel way of looking at the history of Tafsir, but a new lens for examining how the genre developed. It is also a history that leads directly to printing and the introduction of the print in the Islamic world. The book will also have chapters on the theoretical hermeneutical debates, and an analysis of the theories of commentary that were developed by exegetes. It will make original contributions even to the most studied periods of Tafsir. For the formative period it will enshrine al-Maturidi as an exegete of equal significance to al-Tabari; it will also position the Mu`tazilite tradition as an essential component of the early period of Tafsir. The work will also document the slow rise of Madrasa Qur’an commentaries and the relocation of the genre into the Ottoman madrasa system. By introducing the Ottoman heritage, it will break the Arabo-centric narrative that has dominated the field so far. For the modern period, attention will be paid to non-Arabic centers in the Islamic world, and the presentation will be universal, from Turkey to Malaysia and Indonesia.
The book will have an extensive bibliography. This is itself a fundamental part of the book, to have an exhaustive bibliography of published Tafsir works.