Netherlands Interuniversity School for Islamic Studies

Past Events

NISIS Autumn School: “Islamic(ate) Classics From Manuscript to the Digital Age”

8-12 November 2021, University of Leuven

In the fall of 2021 we all enjoyed some weeks with fewer restrictions. The Autumn School, which took place in Leuven from 8 to 12 November, was one of the events we were able to celebrate live – and what an inspiring and pleasant event it was!

Following up on Ahmed El Shamsy’s widely discussed recent book, Rediscovering the Islamic Classics: How Editors and Print Culture Transformed an Intellectual Tradition (2020), the Autumn School focused on the impact of technological changes on Islamic(ate) primary sources and scholarship not only in the transition from the manuscript to the printing age, but up until the current digital era as well. El Shamsy, a professor at the University of Chicago, opened the school on Monday with a lecture entitled “The availability of Arabic books, 1800 to the present”. Our view of the Arabic written textual heritage, as he pointed out, is skewed by the notion of “classics”: a lot more remains to be discovered!

The other keynote lectures, by Beatrice Gründler (Free University Berlin), Peter Verkinderen (KITAB project London) and Brinckley Messick (Columbia University New York), as well as a workshop on Digital Humanities led by Emad Mohamed (University of Wolverhampton), continued this theme, and the many excellent student and PhD presentations, including from young researchers joining us from Egypt and other parts of the Islamic world, contributed further aspects. As always, it was a pleasure to listen to the NISIS junior members present their ongoing research (on topics as diverse as Islamic theology, the history of Orientalism, Islamic bedtime stories, and Russian Islam, to name just a few), and to welcome the new members.

OSL/NISIS Workshop: “Muslim Words/World Literatures”

12 February 2021, Online

The online workshop “Muslim Worlds/World Literatures” was hosted in collaboration with the Research School for Literary Studies (OSL) and organized by Dr. Alberto Godioli (OSL, RUG) and Prof. Christian Lange (NISIS, UU).

The workshop consisted of three online sessions led by international experts in Islamic and/or literary studies: Dr. Petra de Bruijn (Leiden University), Dr. Hiyem Cheurfa (Lancaster University), Dr. Richard van Leeuwen (University of Amsterdam) and Dr. Liesbeth Minnaard (Leiden University).


12:00-14:00: Seminar led by Dr. Richard van Leeuwen and Dr. Hiyem Cheurfa (on the reception and contemporary influence of One Thousand and One Nights)

15:00-17:00: Seminar led by Dr. Petra de Bruijn and Dr. Liesbeth Minnaard (on religion and secularism in 20th- and 21st-century literature)

17:15-17:45: Wrap-up activity and final remarks


NISIS Masterclass ‘The Past and Future of Islamic Studies’ #3: “Environmental Studies”

28 January 2021, Online

The third session of the NISIS Masterclass series “The Past and Future of Islamic Studies” took place on 28 January 2021. During this Masterclass session we zoomed in on scholars who have dedicated their work to ecological and urban environments.

Dr. Elena Burgos Martinez (LIAS, Leiden University) gave a lecture on “Water relations in maritime and island Islam: a brief journey through environmental dreams in Eastern Indonesian islands” and Dr. Fachruddin M. Mangunjaya (Universitas Nasional) spoke about “Developing Environmental Awareness and  Conservation through Islamic Teaching” as well as “The Fatwa in Boosting Environmental Conservation in Indonesia.”


NISIS Autumn School ‘Shrine Cultures in the Islamicate World’

8-9 October 2020, Online

On 8 and 9 October 2020, our annual NISIS Autumn School took place. We want to thank Gabrielle van den Berg (Leiden University) and Dick Douwes (Erasmus University Rotterdam) for organizing this year’s school on “Shrine Cultures in the Islamicate World.”

On 8 October we listened to a wonderful keynote lecture by prof. Jo-Ann Gross (The College of New Jersey) about “The ‘Shrinescapes’ and Narrative Traditions of Khoja Isḥāq Khuttalānī.” Afterwards Habeeb ur Rehman (Aga Khan University London) and Ruben Elsinga gave a presentation about life at the Rehmania darbar, a large shrine in the city of Haripur in Pakistan, where Habeeb became the pir recently. The afternoon was closed with a panel discussion with Gabrielle van den Berg, Dick Douwes, Christian Lange and Elena Paskaleva. On 9 October we continued the Autumn School with a succesful Chapter Clinic during which six PhD candidates and RMA students received feedback on a chapter of their work. We want to thank all contributors for making this another great edition of our Autumn School!













NISIS Masterclass ‘The Past and Future of Islamic Studies’ #2: “Arts and Media”

1 October 2020, Online

The second session of the NISIS Masterclass series “The Past and Future of Islamic Studies” took place on 1 October 2020. In this session we looked at Islamic art and media together with Dr. Valérie Gonzalez (SOAS University of London) and Dr. Azadeh Emadi (University of Glasgow).




NISIS Masterclass ‘The Past and Future of Islamic Studies’
#1: ‘Interdisciplinarity in the Study of Islam and of Islamic History’

7 July 2020, Online

On Monday the 7th of July, the first session of the NISIS Masterclass “The Past and Future of Islamic Studies” took place. The masterclass series is organized by the Junior Council, and its first session was themed “Interdisciplinarity in the Study of Islam and of Islamic History.” Lectures were given by  dr. Edmund Hayes, prof. Aaron Hughes and prof. Christian Lange. Below you can find some snapshots of the online session. We want to thank all speakers and participants for their contributions.




14:00 – 14:15: Introductory remarks

14:15 – 15:15: Prof. Aaron Hughes

Trends in Islamic studies in general — with a focus on insider/outsider, critic/caretaker — and how they pertain to the study of early Islam in particular. His talk will be followed by a round of discussion. 

15:15 – 15:30: Break

15:30 – 16:15Prof. Christian Lange
Why it is relevant and important to study the Muslim hell (20-30 minutes talk followed by discussion). 
16:15 – 17:00: Dr. Edmund Hayes
Shii Studies or Social history (20-30 minutes talk followed by discussion).

ENIS/MIDA Summer School: ‘Contesting Authority: Knowledge, Power and Expressions of Selfhood’

22-26 June 2020, Online

Keynote lectures were be given by Marjo Buitelaar (University of Groningen), Suad Joseph (University of California, Davis), Hilary Kalmbach (University of Sussex), Siobhan Lambert-Hurley (University of Sheffield), Arshad Muradin (Leiden University) and Muhammad Qasim Zaman (Princeton University). Furthermore, there was a masterclass by Albrecht Fuess (Philipps-Universität Marburg) and Gerard Wiegers (University of Amsterdam): “What is Islam?” Definitions and Interdisciplinary Approaches between the Middle Ages and the Digital Age.

Seminar ‘Islam and Diversity’

17 January 2020, Maastricht University

NISIS organized the one-day seminar ‘Islam and Diversity’ in collaboration with Maastricht University in the beautiful city of Maastricht. It was a full program with many interesting talks and discussions. In the morning we listened to the keynote lectures given by PD Dr. Gabriele Dietze and Dr. Imen Gallala-Arndt, and in the afternoon we headed off to different workshops related to the topics of Law, Civil Society and Gender & Diversity. PhD candidates presented their work on varying topics like the lack of representation of black Muslim scholars in academia, legal practices of Sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco and new forms of Islamic authority in Belgium. Below are some impressions of the day. We want to thank all the participants for making this a wonderful event!

NISIS Autumn School ‘Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies in the Digital Age’

28-31 October 2019, Utrecht University

This year Utrecht hosted the 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) reseachers, 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!

ACMES/NISIS Workshop ‘Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies in Dialogue’

24 May 2019, University of Amsterdam


“Participating in the workshop “Islamic and Middle-Eastern Studies in Dialogue” provided me with valuable insights about the bridges and divides between the two disciplines. The variety of well-established speakers from different fields such as political science, anthropology, history and law showed us the methodological and theoretical diversity within the realm of Islamic and Middle-Eastern studies.”
– Semiha Sozeri, PhD candidate (University of Amsterdam)


13.30-13.40: Welcome by Prof. Christian Lange

13.40-15.00: Session 1: Authority
Thijl Sunier (VU Amsterdam) and Farid Boussaid (UvA)

15.00-15.30: Coffee and tea

15.30-17.00: Session 2: Power
Maaike Voorhoeve (UvA) and Gerard Wiegers (UvA)

17.00: Drinks


NISIS Spring School ‘Patronage and Clientelism in the Muslim World’

18-22 March 2019, Granada, Spain
Pictures by Burak Fiçi and Aleksi Hämäläinen.

Spring School Granada 2019

We have put together some of the footage taken by Aleksi Hämäläinen during the Spring School in Granada this year. Enjoy the video!

Geplaatst door NISIS op Vrijdag 19 juli 2019

“The ENIS Granada Spring School 2019 was a wonderful experience for me. Besides meeting great professors and young scholars, the school taught me about how religions are deeply manifested in every corner of the city. The experience was breathtaking.”
– Anwar Masduki, PhD candidate (University of Groningen)

“The NISIS Spring School in Granada presented a fantastic opportunity to share my research in a supportive environment. Being able to network and discuss new ideas, as well as shared interests with an international group of scholars from various disciplines, is a priceless experience.”
– Aleksi Hämäläinen, RMA student (Utrecht University)

“The ENIS Spring School was the perfect opportunity to meet colleagues from all around Europe. It helped me greatly in advancing my own research.”
– Alon Dar, PhD candidate (Leiden University)


NISIS/NOSTER Network Meeting

8 February 2019, Utrecht University