Published: March 4, 2019

Aun Hasan Ali is working on a monograph about an important period in the history of Imami Shi’ism known as the School of Hillah. During this period (ca. the 12th-14th centuries in southern Iraq), Imami Shi’i scholars produced outstanding and landmark works in the fields of bio-bibliography, substantive law, jurisprudence, theology, philosophy, and mysticism. These developments greatly expanded the horizons of Imami Shi’i scholars and gave birth to a tradition that continues to shape religious identities today. Ali’s monograph is the first study of the School of Hillah in a European language. In addition to this monograph, Ali is completing his first book (co-authored with Hassan Ansari), which is on the use of hadith in Imami Shi’i law.

Loriliai Biernacki gave an opening plenary talk titled "Sarvasākṣinī: The Goddess’ wondrous feat" at a conference on Śrī Vidyā in Madhya Pradesh, India in December 2018. This semester she is also working with a colleague on an edited volume on the theme of Incarnation, where she will gather a  number of colleagues in California in April to present initial work for the book.

Brian Catlos was the university’s selected candidate for the Balzan Prize this spring in the category of “Islamic Studies.”  His recent book Kingdoms of Faith should be coming out in German and Spanish this spring (with editions in Korean, Simplified Chinese, Complex Chinese and Polish to follow) and hi article on “Mudejares” for the Encyclopedia of Islam 3 (the reference work of record for Islamic Studies) is at press, as is his entry on the same subject for Oxford Islamic Studies Online.  He gave or is giving talks at Columbia and Yale, organizing 2-day conference-workshops at Princeton and Brown, and panels a two conferences in Barcelona in July (Association of Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies, and Society for the Medieval Mediterranean) and will spend several days at Dartmouth College in May as a Distinguished Scholar for the Dartmouth Society of Fellows. Here at CU though the CU Mediterranean Group, Dr. Catlos is organizing 5 talks by visiting scholars from Europe and elsewhere in the USA, and co-organizing 2 more, and organizing a one-day international conference "“Muslims and Islam in Medieval and Early Modern Europe – New Directions” on 17 April (as part of the Kayden Book Prize; for all of these, see, and giving his second CU on Weekend talk, “Between East and West: Christians, Muslims and Jews in Medieval Spain,” on 13 April.  As far as research and writing, Catlos has several articles in final stages, as well as his co-written textbook, The Sea in the Middle: The Mediterranean World, 650-1650 (California) and a monograph, The Paradoxes of Plurality: Ethno-Religious Diversity and the Mediterranean Origins of the West.

Holly Gayley's new book of translations, Inseparable Across Lifetimes, just came out in February. This is first translation into English of a unique literary archive, namely the biographies and correspondence of the Tibetan visionaries Namtrul Rinpoche and Khandro Tāre Lhamowho helped revitalize Buddhism in the wake of the Cultural Revolution. This archive served as source materials for Gayley's 2016 monograph, Love Letters from Golok: A Tantric Couple in Modern Tibet. Her translations capture a turning point in modern Tibetan history as well as the affection of a contemporary tantric partnership.

Terry Kleeman will travel to Hawaii for an ACLS-funded workshop on using digital humanities to explore a medieval Chinese alchemical text in February. In May he will go to Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, for five months, to participate in the research colloquium "Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe.” He will also attend and present a paper at the International Convention of Asian Scholars (ICAS) at Leiden University, Netherlands, July 16-19, and also at the Beijing University Humanistic Forum at Beijing University, August 3-4. 

David Shneer will be giving a talk as part of the Association for Jewish Studies Distinguished Lecture series at Western Washington University on Wednesday, February 27 at 5pm titled “Memorials to the Nazi Persecution of Gay Men and Lesbians: Who and What are We Remembering.”  He will also be visiting Vanderbilt University in March for a talk about the role Yiddish music played in Communist countries during the Cold War as well as performing “Art is My Weapon.”  Read more about his public activities at  David also preformed "Art is My Weapon" in Charleston, SC in November and blogged about the trip here.