Universiteit Leiden

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Centre for Islamic Thought and History

Leiden University Shi'i Studies Initiative (LUSSI)

Shiʿi Islam

The study of Shiʿi Islam in the West is largely neglected in modern scholarship. The first concerted effort in the academy to conceptualise Shiʿi studies as a distinct sub-field of Islamic studies came at the now historic 1965 conference held in Strasbourg, France. Since then Shiʿi studies has transformed into a dynamic and burgeoning field in its own right that covers wide-ranging concerns, thematic focus, and methodological commitment. Despite this relative growth, Shiʿi studies is often overlooked in many European and North American universities: there are barely any courses, only one designated post, and a handful of junior positions that even mention Shiʿi studies. In conferences, public lectures, publications and outreach in the study of Islam, Shiʿi Islam remains relatively absent. This situation needs an urgent remedy. 

The purpose of the Leiden University Shiʿi Studies Initiative (LUSSI) is to address this lacuna by promoting the study of Shiʿism in all its expressions and disciplinary approaches through lectures and seminars, conferences and workshops, public debates and discussion fora, summer training schools, and student capacity building.

The Leiden University Shii Studies Initiative was founded and directed by Ahab Bdaiwi.

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