International Symposium on Ottoman Kalam: Call for Papers

Kalam Research and Media (KRM) and the Istanbul Foundation for Research and Education (ISAR) are holding an international symposium on Ottoman Kalam scholarship and its impact on the Islamic and human sciences. The symposium is titled “Ottoman Kalam: Scholars, Works and Problems”.

For nearly a century, the intellectual decline in post-classical Islamic Civilization has been a central theme for Islamic Studies both in the West and the East. One consequence of this assumption has been that virtually no intellectual progress has been made in the Islamic sciences during the entirety of the Ottoman period. In other words, the Ottoman intellectual tradition has been generally understood to be a period in which uncritical repetition was formalized and enforced. The purpose of this symposium is to approach the Ottoman intellectual tradition in a more diligent, multi-faceted, and inter-disciplinary manner in order to introduce the international academic community to the contributions of the Ottoman intellectual tradition to the Islamic and human sciences. This will be the first in a series of future conferences that will focus primarily on the science of kalam.

The dominant view in academia today states that the Ottoman kalam tradition was a period of uncritical repetition and lack of originality characterized most notably with the rise of the sharh and hashiye literature. More recent studies, however, have demonstrated that the glosses produced on the books of kalam and logic were not mere repetitions. Indeed, glosses from the kalam and logic traditions in the late Ottoman era indicate that there was a great deal of innovation and development in these fields by Ottoman scholars. Nevertheless, the scholars, texts, and central problems of the tradition remain understudied. Another goal of this symposium is to demonstrate the relevance of the Ottoman kalam tradition to contemporary problems in philosophy and science. In addition, work in this area is especially needed to shed new, critical light on dominant narratives in the history of Islamic law and theology, the history of religion, the history of philosophy and science, and other relevant disciplines. Papers should address the following topics, but other topics will also be considered:

– Ottoman Kalam scholars, their careers, works, and legacies.
– Kalam in Madrasah curriculum
– Kalam and society: schools of thought, identity, and politics
– The relationship of Kalam to philosophy, logic, literature, and other religious sciences
– Kalam literature: the shuruh, hawashi, rasail
– Late Ottoman Kalam tradition and the introduction of journals
– The Mawaqif tradition in the Ottoman Period
– Being and Existence in Ottoman Kalam tradition
– Kalam and its relevance to contemporary philosophy, science, and ethics
– Ottoman contributions to Kalam literature

All the papers submitted to the conferences will be collected, edited, and published together under the title “The Ottoman Intellectual Tradition Symposia Series.”

The conference will be held in Istanbul, Turkey. Papers and presentations will be conducted in Turkish, English, and Arabic. We ask interested participants to send us abstracts with your contact information  no longer than 250 words to the following email address:

Important Dates:
Deadline for Submission of Abstracts: 3 July 2015
Notification to Participants: 10 July 2015
Deadline to Deliver Final Papers: 15 November 2015
Symposium Dates: 25-26 December 2015

Contact Information
Address: Aziz Mahmut Hudai Mah., Aziz Efendi Mektebi Sok, No:4, Üsküdar İstanbul, Turkey. Tel: +90 (216) – 310 9920
Fax: +90 (216)- 391 2633


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