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Northwestern's Arabic Manuscripts of Islamic Africa: Law, Theology, Mysticism, and Healing

When: Friday, August 10, 2018
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM  

Where: University Library, Ver Steeg Faculty Lounge, 1970 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs

Contact: Gene Kannenberg   847.491.4578

Group: Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA)

Category: Academic


A talk by Zachary V. Wright
Associate Professor, History and Religious Studies
Northwestern University in Qatar

Presented by the Herskovits Library of African Studies

The Arabic manuscript collection in Northwestern's Herskovits Library of African Studies may be one of the richest caches of documents relating to Islamic Africa anywhere in the world. This talk provides an overview of the content of this collection, and then considers a significant case study of Kabari's "Garden of Secrets" (Bustan al-fawa'id), a fifteenth century text from Timbuktu that offers important insights on the intellectual history of West Africa Islam.

Zachary V. Wright is associate professor in residence at Northwestern University in Qatar, with joint appointments in history and religious studies. Wright received his PhD in History from Northwestern University, his MA in Arabic studies and Middle East history from the American University in Cairo, and his BA in history from Stanford University. His book publications include Jihad of the Pen: the Sufi Literature of West Africa (co-authored with Rudolph Ware & Amir Syed, AUC Press, 2018), Living Knowledge in West African Islam: the Sufi Community of Ibrahim Niasse (Brill, 2015), and On the Path of the Prophet: Shaykh Ahmad Tijani and the Tariqa Muhammadiyya (AAII & Faydah Books, 2005, 2015; French translation, Éditions Tasnim, 2018). He has also translated a number of West African Arabic texts into English, most notably Ibrahim Niasse, The Removal of Confusion concerning the Saintly Seal Ahmad al-Tijani (Fons Vitae, 2010). His current research concerns eighteenth-century Islamic intellectual history in North Africa. 

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