Netherlands Interuniversity School for Islamic Studies


Looking back at the NISIS Autumn School

Last week, Utrecht hosted this year’s NISIS Autumn School. We heard some sparkling keynotes: Cornelis van Lit and Jo van Steenbergen spoke about digital/computational methods, and did so in rather opposite terms (Cornelis: “You can do it!” vs Jo: “It’s great, but beware of DH amnesia!”). Mirjam Shatanawi, Mona Abdel-Fadil and Bettina Gräf addressed different aspects of doing Islamic Studies online (Mirjam talked about online repositories and museum catalogues, Mona about affect theory and how it can be used to analyze social media, Bettina about online fatwas and the pitfalls of web-based ethnography).

The workshop “Introduction to Digital Humanities” on Wednesday (with contributions from Cornels van Lit, Mehdi Sajid, developers Yusuf Celik and Dirk Roorda, and IT-officer Etienne Posthumus [Brill]) was very well-attended. It revealed how much potential there is in DH but also what kind of skills we, as digital-born (or at least digitally interested) researchers, still need to develop – to be continued!

The fim screening (the documentary about Umar Ryad’s recently concluded ERC project on Muslim in interwar Europe) and the borrel were a delight. And last but not least, we had some very robust panels with great contributions from junior NISIS members and guest PhD researchers. International participants came from the Emirates, France, Germany, and many other places.

Thank you to all who came and contributed, even if it meant showing up to only one of the panels, keynotes, or borrels. NISIS is not something that we do “in addition” to all the other things we do, it is literally where Islamic Studies “happens” in the Netherlands. We are currently reevaluating the format of the Autumn School, to make sure we stay abreast of developments and offer content that is relevant to us all. So: watch this space! And please don’t hesitate to contact me, Dorieke Molenaar, or the new chair of the Junior Council, Arash Ghajarjazi, if you have any comments, suggestions, or questions.

I hope to see you all at a NISIS event in the not-too-far future. Best wishes,

Christian Lange
NISIS director