Qatar National Library

Introduction to Arabo-Islamic Manuscript Culture: An Intensive Course

Introduction to Arabo-Islamic Manuscript Culture is an Intensive Course organized by Qatar National Library and the Chair of Islamic History and Culture, University of Tübingen, Germany

At the heart of this introductory course are manuscripts and the knowledge they contain. The course consists of six open lectures and three closed practical sessions, taking students on an exploration of Islamic intellectual heritage from its origins to the modern era.

The lectures begin by tracing fundamental perspectives of heritage, along with related terms, concepts and disciplines dealing with manuscripts. After a survey of writing materials and formats, we will focus on the Arabo-Islamic manuscript tradition, outlining its textual and physical aspects. We will also discuss the cultural history of the Qur’an and Hadith documentation and authorship, as well as issues in the history of reading, learning and the transmission of knowledge, the role of libraries, the book trade, and the preparation of editions. 

In this course, we follow the dynamic life cycle of the manuscript and the text, starting from the origin of the work (authorship) and its manifestations and textual relations, through the production of the manuscript(s), until the reception of both in the past and present, considering the social and cultural contexts.

By the end of the course, you will have the basic knowledge and context to better understand the intellectual and social contexts of Arabo-Islamic books and deal with manuscripts in Arabic language and script.

The course will be delivered by Mahmoud Zaki, Manuscript Librarian at Qatar National Library, and Regula Forster, Professor of Islamic History and Culture at the University of Tübingen, with Juliane Müller, Research Associate at the Department of Oriental and Islamic Studies of the University of Tübingen, as a guest lecturer. See biographies below.  

The course is taught in both Arabic and English, with simultaneous interpretation. Q&As and participation in sessions can be in either Arabic or English.

The course will be conducted online via Zoom.

To attend the open lectures of the course (500 seats available), please register below before 20 June 2021. You will receive a confirmation, and the Zoom link will be sent to you prior to the event.

Eligibility and applying for the practical sessions:

The three practical sessions will provide participants remotely with a “virtual practical experience” working with manuscripts from the collections of Qatar National Library, the Tübingen University Library and beyond. Sessions are limited to 15 participants.

Eligibility: Open to all individuals with a basic understanding of the classical Arabic language and a professional or scholarly interest in manuscripts.

 Applying: Participants interested in these sessions need to email a short CV and motivation statement (max. 1 page each, in PDF format as a single file) to heritagelibrary@qnl.qa by 15 May 2021. Please add “Manuscript Course” in the subject line. Successful applicants will be notified by 31 May 2021, with an acceptance deadline of 7 June 2021.

A certificate of attendance will be issued upon request.

 

Program (click here to download the course flyer)

Timing is in Qatar /Arabian Standard Time (GMT+3)

Day 1 – Monday, 21 June 2021

12:15 – 12:30 PM                  

Welcome

12:30 – 2:00 PM         

Introduction to Heritage and Manuscript Studies: Terms, Concepts and Disciplines (Mahmoud Zaki)        

2:00 – 2:30 PM                       

Break  

2:30 – 4:00 PM                       

Islamic Bookmaking: Materials, Techniques and Functions (Regula Forster)            

4:00 – 4:30 PM                       

Break

4:30 – 6:00 PM                       

Practical session: The Materiality of the Islamic Manuscript (Regula Forster)

Day 2 – Tuesday, 22 June 2021

12:30 – 2:00 PM                     

The Journey of the Islamic Manuscript (Mahmoud Zaki)

2:00 – 2:30 PM                       

Break

2:30 – 4:00 PM                       

The Arabic Manuscript and the Textual Tradition: Texts and Paratexts (Mahmoud Zaki)

4:00 – 4:30 PM                       

Break

4:30 – 6:00 PM                       

Practical session: Texts and Paratexts in Arabic Manuscripts (Mahmoud Zaki and Regula Forster)

Day 3 – Wednesday, 23 June 2021

12:30 – 2:00 PM                     

The Manuscript in Pre-Modern Societies: Institutions and Actors (Regula Forster)

2:00 – 2:30 PM                       

Break

2:30 – 4:00 PM                       

Understanding Arabic Texts: Structure, Genres and Relationships (Mahmoud Zaki)

4:00 – 4:30 PM                       

Break

4:30 – 6:00 PM                       

Practical session- From manuscript to edited text: Purpose and Methods of Critical Editions (Juliane Müller)

6:00 – 6:15 PM                       

Closing remarks

 

Biographies

Regula Forster is Professor of Islamic History and Culture at the University of Tübingen. She works on mediaeval Arabic literature, Quranic exegesis and the history of science (especially alchemy), largely through manuscripts. Her books include Das Geheimnis der Geheimnisse. Die arabischen und deutschen Fassungen des pseudo-aristotelischen Sirr al-asrār / Secretum secretorum [The secret of the secrets. The Arabic and German versions of the pseudo-Aristotelian Sirr al-asrār / Secretum secretorum] (Reichert, 2006) and Wissensvermittlung im Gespräch. Eine Studie zu klassisch-arabischen Dialogen [Knowledge transfer in conversation. A Study of Classical Arabic Dialogues] (Brill, 2017).

Mahmoud Zaki is the Manuscript Librarian at Qatar National Library. He is an experienced researcher who works on Arabic classical texts, Islamic history and codicology including bookmaking and studying marginal notes. He holds two master's degrees in Manuscript Studies from Cairo, and Library and Information Studies from UCL. He previously worked as a research Fellow at Georgetown University, as an expert at the Institute of Arabic Manuscripts, and as a researcher at both the National Library and Archives of Egypt and the Museum of Islamic Art. He created the annual awareness day "Arabic Manuscript Day." His publications include Early Arabic Bookmaking Techniques, Electronic Resources for Arabic Textual Criticism and the Arabic version of “The Arabic Manuscript Tradition.”

Juliane Müller is a research associate at the Department of Oriental and Islamic Studies of the University of Tübingen. She holds a PhD in Arabic Studies from Freie Universität Berlin and works on Arabic manuscripts, text editions and the history of science. She has published books on Arabic medicine and alchemy, including Nahrungsmittel in der arabischen Medizin. Das Kitāb al-Aġiya wa-l-ašriba des Naǧīb ad-Dīn as-Samarqandī. Edition, Übersetzung und Kontext [Food in Arabic Medicine. Najīb ad-Dīn as-Samarqandī’s Kitāb al-Aghḏiya wa-l-ashriba. Edition, translation and context] (Brill 2017).

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Event time

Starts:
21.06.2021 12:15 PM
Ends:
23.06.2021 06:15 PM

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Event location

Online via Zoom

Organizer

Qatar National Library