Arab World Festival of Montreal 2016 – 17th edition

Looking for something to do this weekend, and in the coming days? Good News: the 17th edition of the Arab World Festival of Montreal starts tomorrow!

The Arab World Festival of Montreal (Festival du Monde Arabe de Montréal or FMA) is an event aiming at giving an opportunity to Arab and Western cultures to meet and exchange. The FMA proposes a myriad of events ranging from dance, music and theater productions to debates, conferences, lectures and films. Every year, the FMA invites artists, filmmakers and intellectuals from all cultural horizons, local and international broadcasters, and producers, in order to build a space dedicated to cultural exchange.

Check out the program, and enjoy!Festival du Monde Arabe 2016 - Homepage

 

New exhibition: illuminated Qur’ans from the McGill collections

MS RBD Arabic 29

MS RBD Arabic 29 – Rare Books and Special Collections

The Arabic writing used for setting down the sacred text of the Qur’an went under a diffusion corresponding to the expansion of the Islamic faith and to the development of the Islamic civilization. It belongs to the family of Semitic scripts, which are consonantal scripts vocalized by means of accents. The conditions of use and development of the Arabic writing were therefore determined by its association with the language it expressed. Although Arabic became a major academic and literary language, it experienced divergences of articulation and pronunciation in the colloquial use which affected the way in which it was written.

MS RBD Arabic 18 - Rare Books and Special Collections

MS RBD Arabic 18 – Rare Books and Special Collections

The archaic or primitive Arabic writing was used in Arabia at the beginning of Islam, from the Prophet Muhammad’s lifetime and during the caliphates of his immediate successors (632-660). From the very beginning, the Arabic script was associated with the religion of Islam, and became instrumental in the materialization and transmission of the divine message. In the 7th century, the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik imposed the use of Arabic to the central and provincial administration, and for the legends on coinage with calligraphic designs. This, in turn, led to two distinct paths in the development of the Arabic writing:

  • a utilitarian cursive script marked primarily by the requirements of legibility and speed, known as Naskh was used for state documents and correspondence
  • a dignified angular form purely aimed at the requirements of prestige, known as Kufic, was used for ornamental purposes (architecture and coinage) as well as for the copy of the divine message.
MS RBD Arabic 20 - Rare Books and Special Collections

MS RBD Arabic 20 – Rare Books and Special Collections

Until the 10th century, Qur’an were mainly written in Kufic script. This exhibition intends to show the influence of other scripts, such as Syriac, Turkish and Persian, on the Kufic calligraphic style, as well as a variety of styles and decorative techniques used in different periods of time and regions of the Muslim World.

The Qur’an exhibition was curated by Anaïs Salamon, Head Librarian, and Dr. Eliza Tasbihi, Senior Library Clerk at the Islamic Studies Library. It will be accessible in the Islamic Studies Library, Morrice Hall, 1st floor, during opening hours, from June 1st to December 31st, 2016.

New exhibition: Creative Dissent, 1-26 Feb. 2016

CREATIVE DISSENT: ARTS OF THE ARAB WORLD UPRISINGSCreativeDissent_Poster_smallExhibition:

February 1 – February 26, 2016

School of Architecture

Exhibition Room

McGill University
Macdonald-Harrington Building
815 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal

Opening Reception:

Tuesday, February 2, 2016, 5 pm – 6 pm

Curators:

Christiane Gruber, Associate Professor of Islamic Art and Visual Culture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Nama Khalil. Artist and cultural anthropologist, Ph.D. Candidate,  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

The exhibit is a collaboration between the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and the Arab American National Museum, Dearborn. Support for the McGill University, School of Architecture installation is provided by the Yan P. Lin Centre’s Research Group on Democracy, Space, and Technology, the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill Libraries, and Gilgamesh Society.

http://artsofthearabworlduprisings.com

Susan Sheikh and the Calligraphy Workshop: Pictures

Hi friends, on Wednesday the 28th day of July 2015 the ISL hosted a workshop led by Persian calligrapher, Susan Sheikh. 20 participants were fortunate to attend this workshop which was divided into 3 sections.

Susan_calligraphySusan led a short lecture on the history of calligraphy from it’s beginning through to the present. This was followed by a hands-on experience in which the participants were guided through the basic steps of writing nastaʿlīq and shikaste.Susan_calligraphy2 Finally, a question and answer period in which participants were free to ask any and all questions.

If you’re interested in learning more about calligraphy and, especially seeing some examples McGill has many exquisite calligraphic panels, manuscripts and related materials. Further information is provided on the Islamic Manuscripts subject guide.

Many thanks to everyone for attending and a special thanks to Susan Sheikh.

Photos courtesy of Sean E. Swanick, 2015.

Workshop with Sussan Sheikh

On Wednesday, 29th of July 2015 the Islamic Studies Library will host a workshop with Sussan Sheikh.

Calligraphy- Sussan Sheikh_ISL_2015“Susan Sheikh was born in the city of Hamedan, Iran in 1961. She started practicing Iranian calligraphy in 1982 under Iranian calligraphy masters Abdollah Foradi and Yadollah Kaboli. In 1988, Ms. Sheikh obtained the rank of “excellent calligrapher” from the Iran’s Association of Calligraphers and started her career as an art instructor. In years, she has trained several calligraphy apprentices who are in turn disseminating this revered form of Iranian art throughout the country. Ms. Sheikh has participated in more than twenty solo and group exhibitions and her artworks have been published in multiple calligraphy collections. She received an honorary excellence art award in 2007.”

The workshop is free and open to the public. If you are interested in joining us, please contact me (sean.swanick [at] mcgill . ca) to reserve a spot for space is limited.

 

Tri-Agencies Open Access Policies

In recent news, the Canadian Tri-Agencies granting programs have introduced a new policy for researchers: Open Access. What does this mean for you? McGill Library has created a FAQ section to help with the details of the implementation and meaning of this change in policy. The policy, it should be noted is effective 15 May 2015. Below is the official announcement.

“On February 27, 2015, Canada’s three major research funding agencies – the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) – announced a new harmonized “Open Access Policy on Publications” that requires research publications supported by public funds to be made openly available for the benefit of the community at large.”

The policy requires that “any peer-reviewed journal publications arising from Agency-supported research are freely accessible within 12 months of publication.” It applies to NSERC and SSHRC grants awarded May 1, 2015 and onward, and continues the pre-existing open access requirement for CIHR grants awarded January 1, 2008 and later. Researchers holding grants awarded before May 1, 2015 are also encouraged to follow the policy. NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR grant recipients must ensure that any peer-reviewed journal articles be freely accessible within 12 months of publication through one of the following options:

  1. Online Repositories: Grant recipients can deposit their final, peer-reviewed manuscript into an institutional or disciplinary repository that will make the manuscript freely accessible within 12 months of publication.
  2. Open Access (OA) Journals: Grant recipients can publish in an open access journal. For journals that use Article Processing Charges (APCs) as a means to fund open access, these APCs are allowable expenses for Tri-Agency grants.

Through services and resources like the eScholarship@McGill repository and research consultations, McGill Library & Archives will continue to support researchers as the open access movement evolves. For more information regarding the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy, compliance information, and how the Library & Archives can help to make your work open access please visit: https://www.mcgill.ca/library/services/open-access.

On McGill Library’s Open Access page. there is an array of further information for quick answers. Perhaps the most burning question for this new policy is: How to comply with the OA policy? In the section from the above link entitled “How to make your research open access” one particular paragraph will prove extremely useful:

“Standard publishing agreements for many journals already allow repository deposit of the publisher’s PDF or of the final manuscript after peer review. However, not all do. Carefully review your publishing agreement or learn about a given publisher’s standard policies in the SHERPA/RoMEO database to determine what rights you are signing over to the publisher and how these affect your ability to deposit your work in a repository. If you would like to deposit your published work in a disciplinary or institutional repository, and the standard agreement from your preferred publisher does not allow this, you can negotiate the details of your publishing agreement.”

For the fields of Islamic and Middle East Studies there are many different OA journals already available whose publishing agreements comply with this new Tri-agencies policy. One source, in particular for OA journals pertaining to Islamic and Middle East Studies is AMIR (Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources). It provides a complete list of all Open Access journals pertaining to these fields of inquiry.

Remember also to be aware of predatory OA journals. These journals can be quite convincing and aggressive in striving to obtain your manuscript. If you have any doubt, Jeffrey Beall of the University of Colorado maintains an impressive blog on known predatory journals. On the same blog, he also lists questionable publishers.

Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

Film screening: the Dupes (1972)

The Islamic Studies Library will hold its last film screening of the academic year on Friday April 10th, 2015 at 5 p.m. in the Tuesday Night Cafe (Morrice Hall, room 017).

the_dupesThe Dupes is a stark, beautifully photographed black and white film tracing the destinies of three palestinian refugees brought together by dispossession, despair and hope for a better future.

The setting is Iraq in the 1950s and the protagonists,concealed in the steel tank of a truck, are trying to make their way across the border into Kuwait, the “promised land.”

The Dupes is considered a masterful adaptation of Ghassan Kanafani’s acclaimed novella, Men Under the Sun, The Dupes is also one of the first Arab films to address the Palestinian predicament.

Professor Malek Abisaab, McGill History Department and Institute of Islamic Studies, will moderate the post screening discussion.

Come on come all!

Issues Around Representations of the Prophet: IIS upcoming event

In anticipation of next week’s public discussion “Issues Around Representations of the Prophet” hosted by the Institute of Islamic Studies, there are some recent writings worth your time to read in advance. Many of these are found online (I’ve included the links) while others are found in the ISL—come for a visit.

Choix discutable, choix discuté Quelques voix apportent une perspective musulmane sur la publication des unes: http://www.delitfrancais.com/2015/01/20/choix-discutable-choix-discute/. Interview with Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim of the IIS.

The History and Philosophy of Representational Art in Islam: http://harvardpress.typepad.com/hup_publicity/2012/10/the-history-and-philosophy-of-representational-art-in-islam.html

The Prophet Muhammad Was Once Glorified In Art: http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/01/16/quran-prophet-images

Ways of Looking at the Prophet: http://www.wsj.com/articles/book-review-the-lives-of-muhammad-by-kecia-ali-1420841587

Drawing the prophet: Islam’s hidden history of Muhammad images: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/10/drawing-prophet-islam-muhammad-images

The Koran Does Not Forbid Images of the Prophet: http://www.newsweek.com/koran-does-not-forbid-images-prophet-298298

There are of course a number of worthwhile academic books, articles, etc. some of which include the following:

Khalidi, Tarif. 2009. Images of Muhammad: narratives of the prophet in Islam across the centuries. New York: Doubleday.: http://mcgill.worldcat.org/oclc/243960546

Hillenbrand, Robert, and B. W. Robinson. 2000. Persian painting: from the Mongols to the Qajars : studies in honour of Basil W. Robinson. London: I.B. Tauris in association with the Centre of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge.: http://mcgill.worldcat.org/oclc/46642670

Asani, Ali S., Kamal Abdel-Malek, and Annemarie Schimmel. 1995. Celebrating Muḥammad: images of the prophet in popular Muslim poetry. Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press.: http://mcgill.worldcat.org/oclc/32201887

The Story of Portraits of the Prophet Muhammad Oleg Grabar Studia Islamica No. 96, Écriture, Calligraphie et Peinture (2003), pp. 19-38+VI-IX http://www.jstor.org/stable/1596240?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Gruber, Christiane. 2009. Between Logos (Kalima) and Light (Nur): Representations of the Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Painting. In Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World XXVI. 229-262.: Available as Open Access via Archnet, http://archnet.org/publications/6805.

Gruber, Christiane. 2009. MEʿRĀJ ii. Illustrations. From the turn of the 14th century onward, depictions of the Prophet Moḥammad’s night journey (esrāʾ) and heavenly ascent (meʿrāj) were integrated into illustrated world histories and biographies.http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/meraj-ii-illustrations

One Book, Many Communities: Mornings in Jenin reading group

9781608190461Join us on Thursday January 29th, at 5:30 pm in the Octagon room (Islamic Studies Library, Morrice Hall) as we discuss -for the second time- the novel Mornings in Jenin, the acclaimed novel by Palestinian-American author and activist Susan Abulhawa.

The One Book, Many Communities: Mornings in Jenin reading campaign was initiated by Librarians and Archivists with Palestine, a network of self-defined librarians, archivists, and information workers in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.

To access this event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1515299365406523/

Book launch: The Herbal of al-Ghafiqi. A Facsimile Edition of MS 7508 in the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University

Hi friends!

Next Wednesday, 14 January, a book launch and manuscript viewing will be held in the Osler Library of the History of Medicine at 5pm.

McGill-Queen’s University Press has just published The Herbal of al-Ghafiqi. A Facsimile Edition of MS 7508 in the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University, with Critical Essays, edited by F. Jamil Ragep (Director of McGill’s Institute for Islamic Studies) and Faith Wallis (McGill, History and Classical Studies/Social Studies of Medicine).

The manuscript in question is exceptional: a 13th-century illustrated copy of the treatise on materia medica by a physician and scholar from al-Andalus (Muslim Iberia), Abū Jaʿfar al-Ghāfiqī (d. ca. 1165 CE).The Osler manuscript has 468 primary entries for mainly herbal, but also mineral and animal, drugs. It also includes around 2200 secondary entries that provide synonyms in a staggering assortment of languages, including Greek, Sanskrit, Syriac, Persian, Berber, Old Spanish, Latin, Coptic, and Armenian, reflecting the international character of medicine and pharmacy at the time. Complementing the facsimile edition are six essays by eminent scholars who deal with the physical features and history of the manuscript, the philological complexity of the text, Ghāfiqī’s sources, the Andalusian as well as the larger global context of the herbal, and the illustrations accompanying the text.

The production and dissemination of the Ghafiqi facsimile would not have been possible without the support and generosity of McGill’s Class of Medicine of 1961. Thank you.

Ghafiqi_book