The Institute of Islamic Studies is excited to inaugurate Islam in the City…A Love Letter, a publication series that provides an outlet for university students in and around Toronto to tell their stories of life in the city. We are interested in …
In 1973, David Esplin, then associate chief librarian of the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library, purchased from Sulaiman’s Book Shop in Beirut, Lebanon, a collection of almost 1,200 manuscripts. These texts were primarily in Arabic and from the 19th …
With the Fall 2019 academic term coming to a close, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some of the exciting work being done at the IIS before we break for the holidays. In Winter 2019, we were delighted to host the inaugural IIS …
Who we are
As an academic crossroad, the IIS takes inspiration from its location in Toronto, Canada. Canada triangulates between multiple legal systems, language traditions, and cultural values. It is a country constitutive of and constituted by linkages, relations, and networks of exchange. The world’s most diverse city, Toronto represents the creative tension that comes from triangulating across multiplicity. As Mecca was a crossroads for the ancient caravans between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean, Toronto is a crossroads across which people, ideas, cultures, values and law move. Based at the University of Toronto, the IIS embraces the University’s Mission Statement, affirming the university’s singular role in democratic societies to foster “radical, critical teaching and research” in the pursuit of the “liberated human spirit.” An advanced research center, the IIS trains tomorrow’s researchers, who will change how we study Islam and Muslims for generations to come.
What we do
At the outset of the new millennium, Islam and Muslims have become flashpoints for how we relate to one another. As contested figures in our world today, Islam and the embodied Muslim offer standpoints from which to interrogate fundamental questions of human existence. Through a range funding streams, the IIS develops and oversees collaborative research labs in which scholars in the study of Islam and Muslims use their expertise to investigate foundational, fundamental questions about the human community and its relation to the planet. Transforming the study of Islam and Muslims into critical vantage points, the research labs promise a panoramic diagnosis of where we are, how we got here, and how we might move in new directions. For the research labs, click here.
Why we do it
The IIS promotes advanced research in Islamic and Muslim studies. As an advanced research center, it places a premium on curiosity, on asking new questions, and exploring new avenues of inquiry. Notwithstanding the current political climate, intellectual advances are not measured by the number of re-Tweets or Facebook ‘likes’ and ‘shares’. However, as a research institute at a public university, the IIS exists at a time when people, communities, and states around the world vigorously instrumentalize ‘Islam’ and the ‘Muslim’ to justify a wide range of activity. Recognizing the important role a public university plays in a democratic society, the IIS leverages the excellence of advanced research into a range of public engagement tools directed at the local, national, and global levels.
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