IQSA North American Program Book & Annual Report Now Available!

IQSA North American Program Book & Annual Report Now Available!

Looking for details on IQSA’s 2022 North American Annual Meeting held in conjunction with the Society of Biblical Literature and American Academy of Religion? Find the Denver conference schedule, presenter bios, abstracts, reports, and more in the 2022 Program Book


Find the full SBL/AAR schedule and program book here, and don’t forget to download the mobile/online app to easily access event sessions, speakers, exhibitors, and organizer messages.

Finally, don’t forget to tag #IQSA22 with your posts and pics documenting the meeting – we look forward to another fruitful conference in breathtaking Denver, Colorado!

Deadline Approaching! IQSA Annual Meeting 2022 CfP

Attention Friends of IQSA!

A friendly reminder that the new, extended deadline to submit paper and panel proposals for the IQSA 2022 Annual Meeting in Palermo is just one week awayMarch 7th, 2022! To submit paper and panel proposals, email to

This year, the International Qur’anic Studies Association’s Annual Meeting will be held in Palermo, Italy, hosted by the Giorgio La Pira Library from September 5-7, 2022.

Please note that the IQSA membership is required for proposal submission (see below).

The 2022 Annual Meeting welcomes papers on any topic within the range of the interests of the Qur’anic text, encouraging in particular the submission of panels that gather selected speakers invited by a presenter. Individual papers will be accepted as well.

Please note that all proposals for panels must include:

  • Presenter/chair name(s) and affiliation.
  • 100-word short bio (written in English).
  • Panel title.
  • 400-word paper abstract (written in English).
  • Speakers contacted and selected by the presenter and title of each paper.

Proposals for single papers must include:

  • Author name and affiliation.
  • 100-word short bio (written in English).
  • Paper title.
  • 400-word paper abstract (written in English).

Eligibility for proposal submissions is contingent upon the following:

1) Active IQSA membership is required at the time of proposal submission for the
IQSA Program, and the membership status of all applicants will be checked prior
to acceptance.

2) Participants must maintain current IQSA Membership through their
participation in the Annual Meeting.

Please also note that, in order to ensure equity and diversity amongst participants, only one paper presentation per IQSA Annual Meeting should be submitted by any individual participant.

All participants must adhere to IQSA’s Professional Conduct Policy.

Conference registration fees are structured as follows:

  • Registration by the end of June: 140 $
  • Registration by the end of July: 180 $
  • Registration in August and September: 220 $

Students and residents of the Global South will receive 50% discount on the proposed fees.

View the event registration page. Participants will be required to register for the conference by submitting payment through IQSA submission system.

The Conference program will circulate by the beginning of April 2022 and the registration will be opened by the beginning of May with all relevant details about the several available options and activities, like the booking accommodation and childcare facilities or the trip to Monreale and the guided visit of Palermo.

If you require further information about the submission process and the panels organization, please contact Alba Fedeli ( and Devin Stewart ( Any other questions concerning practicalities of the conference in Palermo should be addressed to Francesca Badini ( and concerning registration and payment should go to

We look forward to receiving your proposals!

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2022. All rights reserved.

Deadline Extended: Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize 2021-22

Miss the cutoff for Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize submissions? Now worries! The deadline has now been extended to Monday, January 31, 2022. In honor of Andrew Rippin, the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) will award a prize to the best paper delivered at the 2021 hybrid Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX by a graduate student or early career scholar (Ph.D. awarded 2016 or later). The prize winner will receive $250. In addition, the award committee will provide him/her with detailed feedback and guidance enabling him/her to expand the paper into a scholarly article that qualifies for publication in the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (JIQSA), subject to peer review. Interested scholars should submit a draft of the paper which they read at the most current Annual Meeting; this draft should be no longer than fifteen double-spaced pages (or 3750 words). Submissions should be sent to by January 31, 2022. The winner should then be prepared to submit a fully revised version of the winning article by April 1, 2022. Publication of the final version is contingent upon review by the award committee and editorial staff of JIQSA. © International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2022. All rights reserved.

IQSA Annual Meeting Reminders & Updates


Are you presenting or attending the 2021 International Qur’anic Studies Association’s Annual Meeting to be held in San Antonio, TX from November 18–21, 2021? Don’t forget to register by September 23rd before regular rates increase! IQSA members can save on the forthcoming registration fee by joining IQSA and registering for the Annual Meetings as an Affiliate Member HERE. To become an IQSA member click HERE.

In-Person Meeting Information
Need more information on the Annual Meeting including registration rates, housing information, meeting locations, airline discounts, etc? Please visit our Annual Meeting website here.
Virtual-Only Sessions Information
Need more information regarding the Virtual Only Sessions including registration rates, sessions included, benefits of attending virtually, etc. Please visit our Annual Meeting website here.


Q: How do I register for the IQSA Annual Meeting?
To register for this year’s meeting, visit the SBL Annual Meeting Page and choose Register as a Member of an Affiliate Organization. Then, complete a New Registration under the Affiliate Members category, and choose International Qur’anic Studies Association when prompted.

Q: Do I have to be an IQSA member to register for the Annual Meeting?
YES – current IQSA membership is required and verified by staff upon registration. However, SBL/AAR membership is not required to attend the IQSA Annual Meeting. You can renew your IQSA membership HERE.

Q: I already registered for the Annual Meeting as an SBL/AAR member. Do I have to register again as an affiliate to attend IQSA events?
No – duplicate registration is not required to attend IQSA events if one has already registered as an SBL/AAR member. However, you must register as an active IQSA member if you are presenting at an IQSA session.

Q: Where can I find a schedule of events for the Annual Meeting?
Find the IQSA Conference Schedule online at, and view the full SBL/AAR Program here.

Q: Does IQSA provide funding or reimbursement for its members to attend the meeting?
At this time, IQSA does not have the resources to provide financial assistance for Annual Meeting registration costs. However, IQSA encourages its members to seek financial aid through institutional grants and other funding.

Q: Can I cancel my registration due to Covid-19 health concerns?
We recognize that the coronavirus continues to impact your planning for the Annual Meeting this year so we’re giving you more time to make registration changes without penalty. You now have until Oct. 21 to receive a full refund.

Please also note…

Questions? Email! We look forward to seeing you at this year’s Annual Meeting.

Call for Papers: IQSA Annual Meeting 2020


The International Qur’anic Studies Association has opened its call for papers for its Annual Meeting to be held in Boston, Massachusetts from November 2023, 2020. Paper proposals should be submitted through the SBL’s automated online submission system under the corresponding “Affiliates” link by March 11, 2019 (note: IQSA membership is required for proposal submission; see below). Submission links can be found below under the respective program units. If you require further information or experience difficulties with the submission process, please contact the chairs of the program unit to which you would like to apply.

Please note that all proposals must include:

  • Author name and affiliation
  • Paper title
  • 400 word paper abstract (written in English)

Eligibility for proposal submissions is contingent upon the following:

  • Active IQSA membership is required at the time of proposal submission for the IQSA Program, and the membership status of all applicants will be checked prior to acceptance
  • Participants must maintain current IQSA Membership through their participation in the Annual Meeting

Please also note that:

  • To ensure equity and diversity amongst participants, participants should submit only one paper presentation per IQSA Annual Meeting
  • All participants must adhere to IQSA’s Professional Conduct Policy
  • Participants will be required to register for the conference by submitting payment through SBL’s online submission system (users are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the “Super Saver” rates which end mid-May)

Please email with questions or concerns. We look forward to seeing you in Boston!

The Annual Meeting includes panels for each of IQSA’s eight program units:

Linguistic, Literary, and Thematic Perspectives on the Qur’anic Corpus
The Societal Qur’an

The Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition
The Qur’an: Manuscripts and Textual Criticism
The Qur’an: Surah Studies
The Qur’an and Late Antiquity
Qur’anic Studies: Methodology and Hermeneutics
Qur’anic Exegesis: Unpublished and Recently Published tafsīr Studies

Linguistic, Literary, and Thematic Perspectives on the Qur’anic Corpus

Program Unit Chairs
Anne-Sylvie Boisliveau
Mohsen Goudarzi

For the 2020 meeting in Boston, the Linguistic, Literary, and Thematic Perspectives on the Qur’anic Corpus Unit invites papers to an open session on any topic that engages linguistic, literary, or thematic features of the Qur’an.

Societal Qur’an

Program Unit Chairs
Johanna Pink
Thomas Hoffmann

The Societal Qur’an unit invites proposals for papers that investigate the Qur’an in its lived and societal contexts throughout history, from Late Antiquity to contemporary Late Modernity. Proposals are encouraged that engage with sociological, anthropological, and political science theories and methods in their pursuit of the societal and lived Qur’an. Papers might, for instance, discuss topics such as ritual and artistic uses of the Qur’an, practices of teaching the Qur’an, talismanic and medical uses of the Qur’an, the production of manuscript, print, and new media versions of the Qur’an, or the deployment of the Qur’an in terms of social identity and political organization.

The Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition

Program Unit Chairs
Nora Schmid
Holger Zellentin

The focus of this unit is the Qur’an’s relationship to the Biblical tradition in the broadest sense: the books of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament in the various languages of their original composition and later translations (regardless of a particular book’s status of canonization within specific Jewish or Christian groups), as well as the exegetical, homiletic, and narrative traditions of the Bible in written or oral form. For the 2020 meeting in Boston, the Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition unit welcomes proposals that engage any aspect of the relationship between the Bible and the Qur’an.

The Qur’an: Manuscripts and Textual Criticism

Program Unit Chairs
Alba Fedeli
Shady Nasser

The aim of the Qur’an: Manuscripts and Textual Criticism unit is to provide a cross-disciplinary setting for the exploration of the various interconnected issues that arise when questions concerning the Qur’an’s text are investigated through the prism of its manuscript tradition. This latter term encompasses the field of Qur’an manuscripts per se, but also alludes to such information regarding the history of the text that can be gleaned from the citations, marginal notes, and detailed analysis provided in other branches of the Islamic sciences, for example Qur’an commentaries and the qira’at literature. It is hoped that bringing together scholars from a variety of disciplines will serve to enrich and strengthen each of these fields. The Manuscripts and Textual Criticism unit seeks to create a forum for the application of textual criticism to the Qur’anic text attested both in physical manuscripts and within the wider Islamic tradition. It also aims to investigate palaeographic, codicological, and art historical features in the Qur’an’s manuscript tradition.

For the 2022 meeting in Boston, the unit welcomes papers on any topic within the range of the interests of the Manuscripts and Textual Criticism program unit.

The Qur’an: Surah Studies

Program Unit Chairs
Nevin Reda
Shawkat Toorawa

The Surah Studies Unit invites proposals for individual papers on any aspect of Surat al-An‘am (6, ‘Livestock’), which has attracted little attention in Western scholarship.  One of the seven long ones (al-sab‘ al-tiwal), it is a polythematic Meccan surah of 165 verses. Proposals might explore: material relating to Abraham or to Moses; engagement with Biblical laws or the Decalogue; its devotional uses, especially in Shiite liturgy; its important passages on dietary law; its polemic and critique of pagan rituals; its legal minimalism; rhyme and acoustics; depictions of non-human animals; its architecture and traces of compositional procedures; its affinities with Medinan surahs; or much else besides. The Surah Studies Unit encourages and welcomes diverse methods and approaches. The raison d’etre of the Unit is to bring different perspectives on a given sura into dialogue with one another.

The Qur’an and Late Antiquity

Program Unit Chairs
Michael Pregill
Johanne Christiansen

The Qur’an and Late Antiquity program unit invites proposals that utilize various types of material or evidence—be that literary, documentary, or epigraphic—to illuminate the historical context in which the Qur’an was revealed and the early Islamic polity emerged. We are especially interested in papers that present and discuss comparative methodologies to contribute to a better understanding of the Qur’an’s place in the cultural, political, social, and religious environment of Late Antiquity.

Additionally, for the 2020 Annual Meeting in Boston, we seek proposals for a themed session considering the state of the field on the Jews in the prophetic milieu and early Islam.

Qur’anic Studies: Methodology and Hermeneutics

Program Unit Chairs
Khalil Andani
Karen Bauer

This unit aims to understand and contextualize the methods and hermeneutics applied to the Qur’anic text, both historical and contemporary. The Methodology and Hermeneutics unit addresses questions that might implicitly govern other units, such as: What is Qur’anic Studies, and how does the study of the Qur’an differ from the study of its interpretation? What are the methodological differences between descriptive and normative approaches to the text? How does context (intellectual, social, ethical, historical) affect hermeneutical approaches to the text? The unit welcomes papers addressed to the hermeneutics and methods of particular schools of interpretation or thought, and also on hermeneutics as applied to specific subjects or concepts such as social justice and gender.

This year the Methodology and Hermeneutics unit will feature a pre-arranged panel that surveys Muslim engagements with the Qur’an from the classical and post-classical periods that focus on different visions of the Qur’an as a revelatory discourse and its major themes.

The Unit also invites submissions for a second panel on any aspect of Qur’anic interpretation, hermeneutics, and methodology. Proposals can focus on, among other topics, the following areas:

  • The overlaps and distinctions between tafsīr and ta’wīl in exoteric and esoteric Qur’an commentary literature as they have evolved historically;
  • The distinctive hermeneutical features of Qur’anic exegesis performed by minority Muslim communities including Sufi and Shi‘i (Twelver, Ismaili, Nusayri) commentators;
  • How the Muslim Peripatetics (falasifa), such as Avicenna, have engaged with the Qur’an through Aristotelian and Neoplatonic lenses;
  • The unique hermeneutical approaches of Muslim modernist thinkers in the 19th and 20th centuries;
  • Interpretative engagements with the Qur’an from thinkers in South Asia and Southeastern Asia.

Any other topic that deals with Qur’anic hermeneutics is welcome.

Qur’anic Exegesis: Unpublished and Recently Published tafsīr Studies

Program Unit Chair
Shady Nasser

This exploratory panel is dedicated to exploring Qurʾānic exegetical works (tafsīr proper or otherwise) that were recently published or still in manuscript form. The goal of the panel is to shed light on these works of tafsīr that have not got enough scholarly attention, and which fall outside the “familiar” canon of Muslim exegetical works often used in modern scholarship. This panel encourages scholars to consult and study these recent publications in order to enrich our understanding of Qurʾānic exegesis and widen our perspectives with a more holistic and comprehensive view of tafsīr studies that fall outside the traditional sources often used.

For the 2020 annual meeting, the unit welcomes papers on any topic within the range of the interests of unpublished and recently published tafsīr works.


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved

IQSA 2017 Annual Meeting – Conference Report

The fifth Annual Meeting of the International Qur’ānic Studies Association, held in Boston from November 17-21, brought together many of the foremost scholars within qur’ānic studies, for four days of engaging panels, presentations, and roundtables on all aspects of the text and its reception. Taking place concurrently with the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature conferences, IQSA served as a nexus for conversations which brought together new research from historians, philologists, Late Antique specialists, manuscript scholars, and many others.


Daniel Madigan (Georgetown Unviersity) and others participate in the joint session roundtable Discussion of Islam and Its Past: Jahiliyya, Late Antiquity and the Qur’an 

The weekend began on Friday afternoon with the program unit on The Qur’ān and the Biblical Tradition with talks from Devin Stewart and Nicolai Sinai, focusing on Abraham’s lies and his general qur’ānic profile respectively, from Shari Lowin, on the nature of the Qur’ān’s claim that “the Jews say the Hand of God is chained” (Q. 5:64), Gavin McDowell, on the Qur’ān and Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer, and Faris Casewit, on Jesus’ sayings in al-Harrālī’s exegesis. This was followed by Gerald Hawting’s presidential address, entitled “The House and the Book”, which focused on the tensions between scripture and sanctuary, as early elements of the emergent Islamic movement, and for which Sean Anthony served as respondent.

Saturday kicked off with a lively roundtable on the new book Islam and Its Past: Jahiliyya, Late Antiquity, and the Qur’an (OUP, 2017), co-edited by Carol Bakhos, who chaired the session, and Michael Cook. The discussion focused on paradigms for the study of early Islam vis-à-vis the jāhilī and/or Late Antique milieux, from which it is seen to have emerged. The early afternoon saw a panel on various aspects of sūrat al-Aḥzāb, including its legislative content (Joseph Lowry), its relevance for blasphemy law (Matthew Anderson), the translation of verse 35 (Bruce Lawrence), and a comparative reading of sūra 45 (Ghazala Anwar). The late afternoon/early evening slot was the busiest of the weekend, with three concurrent panels: one on Mustafa Akyol’s new monograph The Islamic Jesus (Macmillan, 2017), one on the implications of sūra titles for the study of the Qur’ān, and one on reconceptualizing Late Antiquity before and after Muhammad.

The third day of the conference continued these conversations with Late Antiquity with a session dedicated to qur’ānic themes and rites seen against their Late Antique background. Abraham Winitzer began with a presentation on the Akkadian expression ‘kipir kishâdim‘ and its possible qur’ānic resonances. He was followed by talks from Javad Hashmi, on the influence of a jāhilī ethos on the Qur’ān’s view of just war; Johanne Christiansen, on the notion of processions; Ari Gordon, on Late Antique discussions of ‘liturgical direction’ and their potential importance for understanding the Qur’ān’s qibla; and Karen Bauer, on comparing the emotional content of the Qur’ān and pre-Islamic poetry. The afternoon concluded with another session from the unit on The Qur’ān and the Biblical Tradition, with presentations by Rachel Dryden (biblical angels in the Qur’ān), Holger Zellentin (the prohibition of incest), Thomas Hoffman (the doxological mode of religiosity in the Qur’ān), Gabriel Said Reynolds (biblical turns of phrase in the Qur’ān), and Cornelia Horn (oral and written transmissions between the Bible and the Qur’ān).


Members of the IQSA community gather over light refreshments at the General Reception following Gerald Hawting’s Presidential Address

The first panel of the final day began with some of the widest-ranging discussions of the weekend, under the theme of ‘Minority and Marginalized Hermeneutics.’ Falling under this ambit were new theorizations of Ismāʿīlī hermeneutics (Khalil Andani), the trajectory of the Indian Nazm school of Qur’anic exegesis (Charles Ramsey), conversations around women’s veiling at the turn of the twentieth century (Orhan Elmaz), the importance of critiques of gender and gender inequality within Islamic studies (Shehnaz Haqqani), and medieval Islamic debates over whether Samaritans were ‘people of the Book’ (Joseph Stewart). This was followed by two afternoon panels, one on the Qur’ān Gateway project and the digital study of the Qur’an, the other on re-evaluating the relevance of ‘Jewish Christianity’ as a lens through which to study early Islam. Finally, the last session of the day focused on the manuscript tradition and textual criticism. Shady Nasser (the evolution of the system of qirāʾāt or variant qur’ānic readings) and Raymond Farrin (the evidence for consistent verse numbering systems), both used the extant Islamic literature to study the Qur’ān’s changing status in early Islam, while Joshua Falconer (systems of marking variant readings in different colors) and Elif Behnan Karabiyik (dating the MS 4313 Qur’ān) worked with extant manuscripts themselves.

islamic jesus

An eager crowd attends the roundtable book discussion of Mustafa Akyol’s recent monograph The Islamic Jesus (Macmillan, 2017)

The conference was one of IQSA’s most successful yet, with consistently high attendance, wonderful presentations, and growing conversations with other units under the general umbrella of the Society for Biblical Literature. We look forward to seeing many of the same faces, and many new ones, next year in Denver for IQSA’s 2018 Annual Meeting!


-Conor Dube (Harvard University) and Rachel Dryden (University of Cambridge



*A special thanks to Conor Dube (Ph.D. Candidate, Harvard University) and Rachel Dryden (Graduate Student – Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge) for their assistance at conference events and composition of the above report.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2017. All rights reserved.

2017 Annual Meeting Early Bird Registration OPEN

It’s that time of year! Early Bird Registration is NOW OPEN for the IQSA Annual Meeting held in conjunction with the SBL/AAR Annual Meetings in Boston, Massachusetts from November 18-21, 2017. Register as an affiliate member HERE. Discounted Early Bird prices end May 19, so don’t wait!

You can save on the registration fee by joining IQSA and registering for the Annual Meetings as an Affiliate Member! The membership fees for IQSA are $25, $50, and $75 depending on the level. To become an IQSA member click HERE.

Member benefits not only include discounted conference rates, but also the newly released first issue of IQSA’s flagship journal, the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association by Lockwood Press. JIQSA, vol. 1 (2016) is co-edited by Michael Pregill (Boston University) and Vanessa De Difis (Wayne State University) and features new research on the Qur’an. The editors offer an insightful introductory essay on the scope and subject matter of JIQSA, locating the field of Qur’an Studies today “between the Bible and Tafsir.” Articles include the 2015 presidential address by Reuven Firestone on and a response by Ebrahim Moosa, as well as a number of original contributions by international scholars, including posthumous contributions by Patricia Crone and Ali Mabrouk.

IQSA members have FREE online access to JIQSA 1 via the MEMBER PORTAL on Non-members can gain access by signing up for membership HERE. At this time institutions are strongly encouraged to subscribe for print or online access by filling out this SUBSCRIPTION FORM. Print subscriptions are also available for individual subscribers via THIS FORM.

Questions about JIQSA, IQSA membership, or Annual Meeting Registration? Email us at

We hope you’ll join us as an IQSA member and meet us in Boston!


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2017. All rights reserved.

Suggestions for Presenting a Conference Paper at IQSA

Attendance at many conferences over the years and observing the presentations of both neophytes and older scholars has proved to me that nearly no one is taught in explicit terms how to write or deliver a conference paper. For the most part scholars have learned by osmosis, watching examples, whether good, middling, or bad. It is my hope that the scholars who participate in IQSA will be able to rise above the sea of mediocrity and make excellent presentations. I have witnessed a number of papers at IQSA that fall short of that mark, and while such lapses are not more prevalent at IQSA than at other conferences, my hope for the performances at IQSA is that they will be exceptionally high.

[The following statements represent my own considered opinions. It does not represent the opinion of the IQSA board or any other identifiable body in academia. My intention in presenting these comments and guidelines is only to help improve the quality of papers at the annual conference and thus to improve the experience and edification of all conference attendees.]


Alba Fedeli presents her work on the “Birmingham Qur’an” manuscript at the 2015 IQSA Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA.


The main purpose of a conference paper is to announce to the world a new result that you have discovered. In practical terms, it is also to force you to write something, or to finish writing something, that you will publish, and to get feedback from scholars in the field before you do so. If you are lucky, members of your audience may alert you to problems in your argument, plausible counter-arguments, sources you have overlooked, or relevant secondary studies you have not come across. They may push you to explain your argument better, more clearly, or more precisely. All of this will help improve the resulting publication and help ensure that you do not publish something that is unoriginal, incompletely documented, or badly argued.


A conference paper should be a report about completed research that 1) is new, 2) makes a solid argument and 3) emphasizes concrete results. Especially for this society, 4) concrete results primarily consist of concrete conclusions regarding the text of the Qur’an, its meaning, or its historical interpretation and use. This definition has several implications that may go against what young scholars have been told by their sophomoric graduate student peers or benighted advisors and what they have seen performed by droves of misguided conference-goers.

  • The content of your conference paper should not have been published before. It should be a new contribution to the field. You should not deliver a paper that is an info-mercial for your latest book. You should not present something that is an article already in press.
  • A conference paper is a report about research that you have completed. It is not a verbatim, blow-by-blow transcript of the publication you intend to complete. You do not have time to read the entire article or book chapter that you are working on. You are presenting the news story about the project you have completed. Emphasizing the results.
  • A conference paper should not be an interim progress report. While in many organizations, researchers and scholars present such reports as conference papers and lectures, doing so is akin to submitting one’s tax forms or an application for a business license. Many papers produced as part of a government-funded project or by scholars working in teams or for industry are presented as evidence that the project is moving forward and producing tangible results. However, unless the project has reached the point where there are actual results and conclusions can be drawn, it is not yet time to inflict it on the audience. It is acceptable to present something that is not 100% complete, or in which the conclusion is tentative or provisional. It is not acceptable to present something that has no identifiable conclusion yet. One should avoid presenting something that simply states that we have reached the middle of our work, this is the procedure that we are following, and this is where we stand. That is just shop-talk.
  • A conference report should not be a plan for or introduction to research that will be carried out in the future, a prolegomenon, the equivalent of the introduction to a dissertation, a book, or an article. Papers that do this are quite frequent, and leave one asking, “Where’s the beef?” Avoid presenting an introduction to a blank.
  • A conference paper must have a conclusion. Show and tell is not enough. No matter how fantastic the manuscripts you have to show are, it is insufficient merely to describe them. You must explain what they tell us that we did not know before about something greater: the historical transmission of the Qur’ān, its textual variants, patterns of copyists’ errors, and so on. A negative result is still a conclusion; it can make for a good presentation if it is interesting for some particular reason.
  • If you must present the theoretical background or describe a controversy in order to frame your results, do it quickly. An excessively long wind-up is one of the most common faults of conference papers in general. If you write an article or the introduction to your book or dissertation, you can take the time to write at length, but in a conference paper, a long introduction merely delays and in some cases completely displaces the concrete results, which is a disappointment for the audience.
  • Do not leave out the concrete results. Your colleagues in the field are most interested in these, and if you don’t get to specific results, you are robbing them. Include as many results as you can explain well in the time allotted. If you only have only a few examples, then you can spend some time. If you have many examples to choose from, select examples that are representative and can stand in for the others.  A long wind-up to a simple and small example is disappointing.
  • Your paper should take into account the relevant scholarship in the field. There may be too much for you to address in your presentation in any detail, but you should briefly indicate that you are aware of it. Especially in Qur’anic studies, there is a problem with reinventing the wheel. Do not assume that your idea has not been said before. Consult other scholars about the studies that might be relevant, especially studies in German and Arabic.


  1. Problem or issue.
  2. Earlier scholarship on the issue, presented briefly.
  3. Your sources, method, approach, briefly
  4. Your results, conclusions [This should be the main part.]
  5. Implications


The single biggest problem with conference presentations in general is that presenters read a prepared text that was written as if it were a journal article or a book chapter.  If you read a prepared text, you must write it to be read aloud in the first place. Most scholars are not trained to do this type of writing. Doing so is a skill on its own, and it takes practice. An alternative is to prepare notes, a handout, or a power-point presentation, and to speak to the audience from these notes.

If you use power-point, do not read out paragraphs of text from the power-point slides—this is an insult to the audience, whom you are accusing of being inattentive or lazy.

Speaking to the audience directly is about ten times better and more engaging than reading, unless you can write like P.G. Wodehouse. Unfortunately, speaking directly to the audience is a road not taken by 80-90% of conference presenters in all fields, and not just ours.


-Dr. Devin Stewart, IQSA Board of Directors (Emory University)

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2017. All rights reserved.

IQSA 2015 Keynote Response Available Now

scholars in library_maqamat haririFollowing the success of the IQSA 2015 Annual Meeting in Atlanta, we were pleased to make available the Meeting’s presidential keynote paper by Professor Reuven Firestone, entitled “The Problematic of Prophecy.” Now available on our website is the response of Professor Ebrahim Moosa, who poses further questions about religious emergence: How does religion emerge from an environment or a substrate? How does a religion become known in the world? One key element in religious emergence is what we call prophecy. In part, prophecy is an ontological phenomenon: it is about becoming, emergence, proceeding in time. The phenomenon of prophecy plays a direct role in the formation and valorization of scriptures like the Qur’an. You can access the full text of Professor Moosa’s response paper HERE.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2016. All rights reserved.

Call for Papers: IQSA Annual Meeting 2016

The International Qur’anic Studies Association has opened its call for papers for its 2016 Annual Meeting, to be held in San Antonio, Texas, November 18-22, 2016. The Annual Meeting includes panels for each of IQSA’s five program units:

  • Linguistic, Literary, and Thematic Perspectives on the Qur’anic Corpus
  • Qur’an Seminar
  • Qur’anic Studies: Methodology and Hermeneutics
  • The Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition
  • The Qur’an: Manuscripts and Material Culture

Please find detailed calls for papers for each program unit HERE. The paper proposal submission deadline is March 2, 2016.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2016. All rights reserved.

IQSA 2015 Keynote Address Now Available!

scholars in library_maqamat haririFollowing the success of the IQSA 2015 Annual Meeting in Atlanta, we are pleased to make available on our website the Meeting’s keynote paper by Professor Reuven Firestone, entitled “The Problematic of Prophecy.” Based on qur’anic discourse in relation to preceding and subsequent scriptures and tradition, Professor Firestone offers a theory of religious emergence and the revolutionary challenge it represents to the authority of established religions. In the process, he demonstrates how our awareness of the natural tension between scriptural canonization and competing prophetic claims has value for the critical study of the Qur’an. You can access the paper HERE.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2016. All rights reserved.

2015 Annual Meeting a Success

The IQSA Annual Meeting held last week in Atlanta, Georgia, was a great success, thanks to cutting-edge research presentations and record-breaking attendance. Held in conjunction with the Annual Meetings of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL)—the largest gathering of religious studies scholars in the world, our meeting brought together an international community of scholars to exchange fresh ideas on the interdisciplinary study of the Qur’an and to forge collaborations for advancing Qur’anic studies in the years to come.

AM 2015 program signThe 2015 meeting showcased the diversity of scholarly interests and approaches to the Qur’an, featuring papers on a variety of issues including rhyme in the Qur’anic text, violence in the Qur’anic milieu, and reader interactions with Qur’an manuscripts. In addition to the excellent research presentations and lively discussion, we also featured a roundtable discussion on “The Current State of Qur’anic Studies and Its Future,” in which leading experts addressed a range of key questions in the field, from sources and methods in Qur’anic scholarship to diversity and inclusion in the scholarly community. With over one hundred people in attendance, this discussion session truly reflected the importance and vitality of Qur’anic studies today.

IQSA is grateful to all the participants and attendees who contributed to the success of this year’s meeting. Please stay tuned for publication of the Presidential Address and Response papers, and keep an eye out for our Call for Papers for next year’s meeting in San Antonio!

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2015. All rights reserved.

IQSA remains committed to providing resources and opportunities for continued collaboration among Qur’an scholars. To that end, we invite you to stay in touch with colleagues and friends by becoming a member of IQSA. Members enjoy a variety of benefits including access to the Review of Qur’anic Research, the Qur’an Seminar, and our member directory.