In addition to having a book exhibit in the AAR & SBL Exhibit Hall, featuring more than 150 publishers, the Institute co-organized a panel on Saturday, Nov. 21, and held a Reception and Special Lecture on Sunday, Nov. 22.
Saturday’s panel was called “Opportunities and Challenges of Teaching Islamic Studies in Theological Seminaries,” in the Theology and Religious Reflection Section. Dr. Serene Jones, of Union Theological Seminary, and also the incoming president of AAR, presided the panel. Panelists included Nazila Isgandarova (Emmanuel College), Munir Jiwa (Graduate Theological Union), Jerusha Lamptey (Union Theological Seminary), Nevin Reda (Emmanuel College), Feryal Salem (Hartford Seminary), and Ermin Sinanović (IIIT), with Amir Hussain (Loyola Marymount University) as respondent.
On Sunday, IIIT held a Reception and Special Lecture, featuring Prof. John L. Esposito of Georgetown University. Prof. Esposito’s speech was titled, “Reflections on Political Islam: Concepts and Contexts.” He traced the rise of political Islam since the 1970s and highlighted the evolution of Islamist movements and discourses in the last few decades, including the role of Islamists’ experiences in Egypt and Tunisia during and after the Arab Spring, peppering his talk with personal anecdotes of his own engagement with the American government.
At the end of the lecture, Prof. Esposito signed copies of his newly published book, Islam and Democracy after the Arab Spring (OUP, 2015), co-authored with Tamara Sonn and John Voll.
Detailed reports of both the co-organized panel and the special lecture are below.