Events in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies: ‘ISLAMIC STUDIES IN SCOTLAND: RETROSPECT AND PROSPECT’, 23-24 October 2015

In October IMES, in conjunction with the Alwaleed Centre, will be marking the 50th anniversary of W. Montgomery Watt’s inaugural address as the first Chair of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Scotland with an evening and day of events.

This promises to be a most memorable occasion and will provide an opportunity not only to assess the state of the field since Professor Watt’s pioneering work but will also emphasise the continuing strength of Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

Both events will be held in the Playfair Library at the University of Edinburgh and are open to the public.

For booking and more detailed information about the speakers, please see here:

The programme:

Friday, 23 October, 6-8pm

On Friday evening, we will feature two celebrated scholars of early Islam.

Professor Carole Hillenbrand of the University of Edinburgh will begin proceedings with a presentation on ‘Montgomery Watt, the man and the scholar’.

Professor Fred Donner of the University of Chicago will follow with a lecture on ‘The Study of Islam’s Origins since W. Montgomery Watt’s Publications’.

To conclude the evening’s programme, Dr Richard Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh, will offer a short talk on Professor Watt’s religious life.

Saturday, 24 October, 9.30-5.30pm

The following day, Saturday, 24 October, we will be holding an academic colloquium titled, ‘Representations of Muhammad’. This will bring together scholars from both Edinburgh and abroad.

Chair: Dr Andrew Marsham, University of Edinburgh



Professor Wilferd Madelung, Institute of Ismaili Studies

Muhammad, Khadija and ‘Umar


Coffee: 10:15-10:45am



Dr Nicolai Sinai, University of Oxford

Muhammad and the Prophetology of the Medinan Qur’an



Dr Andreas Goerke, University of Edinburgh

Muhammad and Zaynab bint Jahsh: Between History and Exegesis


Lunch (12:15pm-1:30pm)



Dr Christiane Gruber, University of Michigan

Muhammad among the Great Men of the World: Enlightenment, Nationhood, and Early 20th-Century Iranian Carpets



Dr Nacim Pak-Shiraz, University of Edinburgh

Representing Muhammad on Screen


Coffee (3:00-3:30pm)



Dr John Tolan, University of Nantes

The Ecumenical Turn: Massignon, Watt, and 20th-century European Scholarship on Muhammad

Roundtable with all Participants: 4:15-5:15pm



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