Islamic Studies in America: Past, Present, and Future

Inaugural DISC Distinguished Lecture

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

7:00-8:30 PM

Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre

On September 16, 2015, world renowned philosopher, scholar of Islam, and University Professor at George Washington University, Seyyed Hossein Nasr delivered the Inaugural DISC Distinguished Lecture at the University of Michigan. Regarded globally as a leading scholar of Islamic studies, Nasr deployed his vast and varied personal and intellectual expertise to situate the importance of Islamic Studies in America: Past, Present, and Future. “We are honored to have such a distinguished guest and eminent scholar deliver the inaugural lecture for DISC. Professor Nasr’s work is a testament to the expansiveness of Islamic studies,” says Pauline Jones Luong, U-M professor of political science and DISC director.

Starting with the earliest period when Arabic and some Islamic studies began to be taught in America, the talk focused on the more immediate past especially after the Second World War. Some attention was also paid to theoretical discussions about Islamic studies and its relation to religious studies in general. The lecture then turned to the present state of Islamic studies in America and the trends that are most likely to affect its course in the future. Throughout the lecture, Professor Nasr drew much from his own experiences in the field.


The DISC Distinguished Lecture coincides with the launch of the first DISC course offering, Islam in Africa, which will be taught by Rudolph (Butch) Ware, U-M professor of history. The course will be hosted at U-M and offered simultaneously at the University of Iowa and the University of Minnesota.