Humanities Center Director: Thomas Wilson

Ebrahim Moosa

Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, Department of Religion, Duke University

Counterpoints in Islamic Humanism: Specters of the Past and Politics of the Present

Thursday, April 14, 2011 • 5:00pm • Taylor Science Center G027

This talk will focus on the curriculum of contemporary south Asian madrasas where a certain kind of Islamic humanities is still taught.  The question is whether this humanistic spirit has been overwritten by narrow sectarian theologies, or if there is hope of other possibilities. What forms would they take? The talk will then turn towards more contemporary debates in which certain Muslim thinkers have been critiqued for their turn to Islamic humanism in their reformist efforts.

Ebrahim Moosa is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Religion at Duke University. His interests span both classical and modern Islamic thought with a special focus on Islamic law, history, ethics and theology. Dr. Moosa is the author of Ghazali and the Poetics of Imagination, winner of the American Academy of Religion’s Best First Book in the History of Religions (2006) and editor of the last manuscript of the late Professor Fazlur Rahman, Revival and Reform in Islam: A Study of Islamic Fundamentalism.  Born in South Africa, Dr. Moosa earned his MA (1989) and PhD (1995) from the University of Cape Town. Prior to that he took a degree in Islamic and Arabic studies from Darul Ulum Nadwatul `Ulama, one of India’s foremost Islamic seminaries in the city of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. He also has a BA degree from Kanpur University, and a postgraduate diploma in journalism from the City University in London.  As a journalist he wrote for Arabia: The Islamic World Review, MEED (Middle East Economic Digest) and Afkar/Inquiry magazines in Britain, and later became political writer for the Cape Times in South Africa. He contributes regularly to the op-ed pages of the New York Times, Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the Boston Review and several international publications and is frequently invited to comment on global Islamic affairs. Currently he is completing a book titled Muslim Self Revived: Ethics, Rights and Technology after Empire and is working on Between Right and Wrong: Debating Muslim Ethics.

Sponsored by Dean of Faculty, the Yordán Lecture Fund, the Chaplaincy, and the Religious Studies Department