Newsletter — August 2020

Dear friends,

For many of us, the new academic year may be further disrupted by the Covid-19 epidemic. However, I hope you had a good summer, in Dahab (photo) or elsewhere. Here is a quick overview of the latest news of the IDEO, for those who may have missed some episodes: Emmanuel Pisani, OP was appointed director last June, but Jean Druel, OP will serve as interim director for one year, until Emmanuel arrives in Cairo; Ms. Sana Bou Antoun, PhD student at Sorbonne-Université joined us in Cairo for one year as part of our joint fellowship with the IFAO; the publication of volume 35 of MIDEO, dedicated to the interactions between Shiites and Christians, is expected to be out in the next few weeks; a new call for papers was launched on the topic of “Islamic Theologies of Disasters”; the conference on reciting initially supposed to be held in Cairo in July will finally take place online in October; the other activities of the project “Adawāt: Tools for Critical Thinking in Islamic Studies” are proceeding well, French classes at al-Azhar University due to the work of the French Institute, which provides all classes online, and the cataloguing of manuscripts in AlKindi due to the work of the Institute of Arabic Manuscripts; the library finally reopened its doors to researchers after a five-month closure and research seminars should resume in the coming weeks.

Thank you all for your patience, your encouragement, and your generous support!


On July 23rd, Jean Druel, OP gave a lecture on YouTube at the invitation of the Arabic Manuscripts Institute about “Sībawayh’s Kitāb: the oriental and Andalusian versions contained in the manuscript Ambrosiana X 56 Sup”. Click here to watch the lecture online (in arabic) ….

Research project

On July 14th, The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) at the University of Toronto announced the launch of a new five-year project (2020‒2025) entitled “Practices of Commentary”. Fourteen academics collaborate in this project, coordinated by Walid Saleh, a member of the IDEO. The project seeks to develop a global perspective on practices of commentary, de-siloing regionally focused work while simultaneously offering fine-grained and nuanced accounts of the function of commentary in cultures and communities of the premodern world.


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