Dr. Ahmed El-Shamsy presented a paper in relation to his recent book, Rediscovering the Islamic Classics: How Editors and Print Culture Transformed an Intellectual Tradition (2020; Princeton). His paper sketches the whys and hows of the ‘Arabo-Islamic Renaissance’, with a focus on the rediscovery and popularization of classical works of Arabo-Islamic thought and literature in the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century through the adoption of print technology.
Dr. Omar Anchassi (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies) and Dr. Alex Thurston (Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Cincinnati) responded, followed by open floor discussion.
Dr. Ahmed El Shamsy is Professor of Islamic Thought and Department Chair of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. He studies the intellectual history of Islam, focusing on the evolution of the classical Islamic disciplines and scholarly culture within their broader historical context. His first book, The Canonization of Islamic Law: A Social and Intellectual History (2013) traces the transformation of Islamic law from a primarily oral tradition to a systematic written discipline.