CfP: al-Sanūsī Symposium in Morocco, Jan. 2023

Proposed papers are welcome for an international symposium on the Ashʿarite theologian, Muḥammad b. Yūsuf al-Sanūsī (d. 895/1490) of Tlemcen, in present-day Algeria. Al-Sanūsī was an important pedagogue and thinker. His more popularly oriented creeds became widely taught, widely translated, and widely commented upon in the centuries after his death, while his longer creeds and works on logic made sophisticated contributions to their respective fields. Today, al-Sanūsī's writings have become an object of study in Euro-American institutes and online; such teaching and learning may be interest to sociologists. Indeed, the aim of this symposium is to bring together the most up-to-date studies on al-Sanūsī in both Islamic Studies and the Social Sciences. Proposed papers are therefore welcome in the following areas:

1. Al-Sanūsī's Theological Thought
• Al-Sanūsī’s theological writings as a turning point in Maghrebi Ashʿarism, or not
• Al-Sanūsī’s thought in relation to earlier regional trends
• Al-Sanūsī's place in narratives of Ashʿarī history and Islamic intellectual history
• Al-Sanūsī’s relationship to falsafa and falsafī kalām
• Al-Sanūsī and logic (al-manṭiq)
• New editions of his texts

2. The reception of al-Sanūsī’s writings in the Maghreb and beyond
• Maghrebi and non-Maghrebi commentaries on al-Sanūsī's works
• Influence of al-Sanūsī on later Ashʿarite thought (10th/16th century to present)
• Role of al-Sanūsī’s creeds in the teaching of Ashʿarism, from Africa to Europe to Southeast Asia
• Translations of the creeds into vernacular languages: history of this process, its relationship to Arabic, use of vernacular languages to express intellectual discourse
• Materiality of al-Sanūsī’s creeds: circulation of manuscripts, spiritual function (baraka), popular uses
• Teaching of the creeds as a vehicle for a “Middle Way Islam” in Muslim societies today, or as a symbol of a return to a “Madhhabic Islam” for Muslim communities in the West
• Modalities of these teachings (at the mosque in Europe or the U.S., via online institutes, training abroad)

3. Al-Sanūsī and his time (9th/15th century)
• How did the social, political, and intellectual climate of Tlemcen impact al-Sanūsī’s thought?
• What was al-Sanūsī’s status, and the status of his writings, in his own moment, compared to later?
• What relation, if any, did he have to scholars, texts, and ideas from the Mashriq?

The symposium will be held over two days, Jan. 31 2023 at the Centre Jacques Berque and Feb. 1 2023 at the NIMAR Institute, both located in Rabat, Morocco. Each presentation will last twenty minutes, plus ten minutes of discussion with the audience. The languages used will be Arabic, French, and English. The participants' flight and accommodation expenses will be covered.

Timeline for participation
- Submission of summaries: September 20, 2022
- Announcement of the selected proposals: November 20, 2022
- Symposium: January 31 and February 1, 2023
- Submission of the final version of the articles: June 20, 2023

The summary (1 page maximum, which should include the applicant’s and institution), as well as any questions, should be sent to

Organizer: Ilyass Amharar (Iremam-CJB)


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