Professor Aaron Hughes

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IAIS Building/LT2

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Professor Aaron Hughes (University of Rochester, NY) presents the talk "The Shi'a are the Jews of our Umma: Rethinking Alterity in Medieval Islam"

Part of the IAIS Visiting Speakers Series

An Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies seminar
Date12 February 2019
PlaceIAIS Building/LT2

Aaron W. Hughes is the Philip S. Bernstein Chair in the Dept. of Religion and Classics at the University of Rochester, NY. He specializes in the intersection of Jews and Muslims from late antiquity to the present. Recent books include Shared Identities: Medieval and Modern Imaginings of Judeo-Islam (Oxford 2017) and Muslim and Jew: Origins, Growth, Resentment (Routledge, 2019).

Tea and coffee will be served in the IAIS Common Room from 17:00.  Everyone is welcome to attend and registration is not necessary.


This paper examines Islamic studies unwillingness and inability to deal with minoritarian traditions, and argues that it differs little from the medieval heresiographical tradition. By farming out such groups (e.g., Jews, Shīʿa) to specialized subfields, we risk losing sight of Islam’s complexity, and in the process mistake Sunni Islam as the necessary historical outcome of the Prophet’s preaching rather than its contingent development.

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