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Innovation and Tradition: The Odd Couple

Wednesday 5 April 2017
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

About the Roundtable

On Wednesday April 5th, 13:00-15:00 hours in Lipsius 228, LUCIS will organize the Faculty Roundtable Innovation and Tradition: The Odd Couple. The LUCIS faculty roundtables are an attempt to stimulate interdisciplinary debates between academics who normally rarely meet one another. By doing so, we hope to gain new insights into subjects or problems that play a prominent role in various disciplines.

This roundtable focuses on the relationship between innovation and tradition. Innovation and tradition are often portrayed as two entities that are either contradicting or in conflict with each other. According to popular notion, traditions form a barrier for innovation, while the introduction of new innovations are considered to destabilize or outright destroy traditions. But is this so? This roundtable explores the symbiotic relationship between Innovation and tradition: “The Odd Couple.” New innovations are often embedded within traditions, a dialogue that makes them acceptable for society.

Each participant will explore this relationship from his or her own field of expertise. After a short presentation by each speaker, there will be a debate with room from questions from the audience. The roundtable will be moderated by Petra Sijpesteijn.

Announced participants

Petra Sijpesteijn

Petra Sijpesteijn will be moderating this roundtable. Her research concentrates on recovering the experiences of Muslims and non-Muslims living under Islamic rule, using the vast stores of radically under-used documents surviving from the early Islamic world. Starting in 2017, she manages an international research project entitled "Embedding Conquest: Naturalising Muslim Rule in the Early Islamic Empire (600-1000)", funded by the European Research Council. Since 2014, she has been director of the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam (LUCIS).

Ziad Almarsafy

Ziad Elmarsafy is professor of Comparative Literature at King’s College London. He is the author of Sufism in the Contemporary Arabic Novel (2012) and the co-editor of What Postcolonial Theory Doesn’t Say (2015).

Remco Breuker

Remco Breuker is a historian of Korea and Northeast Asia, who works on medieval Korean and Northeast Asian history and on contemporary North Korean affairs. He published on the medieval state of Koryo, Korean historiography, Northeast Asia and North Korea, as well as literary translations from Korean into Dutch. Interested in margins, marginality, hybridity and pluralism, since 2014 he has been working on making the voices of elite exiles from North Korea heard in academic debates. He currently works on an ERC-sponsored project on perceptions of Manchurian histories and a LeidenAsiaCentre-sponsored project on North Korean forced labour in the EU.

Ahab Bdaiwi

Dr. A. Bdaiwi studied at the Universities of London and Exeter, and received his PhD in Arabic and Islamic Philosophy from the University of Exeter (2014). He spent three years as a lecturer in Islamic and Iranian intellectual history at the University of St Andrews (2013-2016). In January 2016 he was Visiting Scholar of Medieval Studies at the College of William and Mary. Since August 2016 he is Assistant Professor of Medieval Arabic Philosophy at Leiden University. He is also a member of the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (LUCIS).

Ineke Sluiter

Ineke Sluiter is Professor of Greek language and literature. Her research focuses on Ancient ideas on language, public debates and the use of value discourse, and connection between classics and the modern world. She is a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities, and the Academia Europaea.

Ziad Elmarsafy | The Sufi and the Idol

Connected to this Faculty Roundtable, Ziad Elmarsafy will also deliver a lecture in our WHAT's NEW?! lecture series. His lecture, entitled "The Sufi and the Idol: Abdelwahab Meddeb’s Autobiographies" will focus on the work of Tunisian writer Abdelwahab Meddeb (1946-2014) and his autobiographies. The lecture will be in English and is open to all.

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