CFP: Forms and Functions of Islamic Philosophy

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Call for Papers
November 15, 2021
New York, United States
Subject Fields: 
Intellectual History, Islamic History / Studies, Middle East History / Studies, Philosophy, Religious Studies and Theology

CFP: Forms and Functions of Islamic Philosophy

Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1, 2022

Bard College


Keynote Speaker: Dr. Lara Harb


General Description:  “Forms and Functions of Islamic Philosophy” seeks to highlight how Islamic philosophy (falsafa/ḥikma) was practiced “in conversation”—between scholars, with various audiences, and with different disciplines, approaches, and rhetoric. Islamic philosophy was composed not only in traditional forms of treatises and commentaries, but also through narratives written in poetry and prose. For example, Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī penned a panegyric poem written in Persian in praise of logic, physics, and metaphysics, alongside his many philosophical prose treatises. Ibn al-ʿArabī’s philosophical mysticism includes prose that reads as Aristotelian commentary alongside succinct poems highlighting his key philosophical concepts through mystical metaphors. In reference to Ibn Sīnā’s allegorical treatise, Ibn Tufayl’s famous Ḥayy Ibn Yaqẓān provides an intriguing narrative and philosophical thought experiment. What do story-telling, poetry, narrative, metaphor, and allegory reveal about the nature and purpose of philosophy? The conference is organized in conjunction with the “Islamic Philosophy in Conversation” working group. While all paper submissions will be given equal consideration, the conference aligns itself with the goals of the working group, and therefore encourages submissions from a diverse group of applicants, including emerging scholars of Islamic philosophy, as well as those who identify as female, non-binary, or as belonging to a historically-marginalized group.


Conference Structure: The conference will include two traditional panels (15-20 minutes per presenter) as well as longer sessions workshopping the papers of two emerging scholars. Additionally, we will hold an open discussion of a primary text in translation, as well as a keynote lecture, both led by Dr. Lara Harb.


Logistics: Pending CDC guidelines, the conference will be held on the campus of Bard College on Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1, 2022. All attendees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as is required of all visitors to Bard College, and recommended health protocols will be followed for the duration of the conference.


Funding: Through the generous support of Bard College, limited funding is available for participants who require financial support (including travel and lodging). Upon acceptance to the conference, we will be in communication with attendees regarding their needs and availability of funding. The conference will also help participants secure childcare (at a greatly subsidized rate) if needed.


Applying: To apply, email your C.V. as well as an abstract of 500-750 words to by November 15, 2021. Additionally, kindly indicate if you prefer to present on a traditional panel (15-20 minute presentation) or to workshop your paper. Finally, we invite you to indicate how you would benefit from and/or support the conference's commitment to centering diverse voices including the voices of female, non-binary, and minoritized emerging scholars. 


In addition, we would like to solicit suggestions for ways in which we can support the career development of emerging scholars of Islamic philosophy during the conference and beyond.  If you are interested in joining the “Islamic Philosophy in Conversation” working group, please email Nora Jacobsen Ben Hammed (, Shatha Almutawa (, and/or Elizabeth Sartell (

Contact Info: 

Nora Jacobsen Ben Hammed, Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at Bard College

Contact Email: 
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