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Conferences Archive (2013-2014)


  • Date(s): Monday, 3/10 9:00 AM to Monday, 3/10 5:00 PM
  • Campus Address: Institute for the Humanities, Lower Level, Stevenson Hall
  • Address: 701 South Morgan Street
  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Contact: Linda Vavra
  • Email:
  • Website:
  • Phone: 312-996-6354

Figuring out the proper role of religion in public culture has been one of the defining debates of modernity, appearing and re-appearing in different guises at different places and times. This ongoing challenge is all too often portrayed as a cosmic struggle between “religion” and “science”. But, scientific and religious traditions have historically had a much more involved and complicated relationship, including the participation of committed religious thinkers to the scientific enterprise. This conference brings to light some important episodes in the history of science in the Jewish and Islamic worlds. Speakers at the conference will highlight the various ways that thinkers have sought to understand, and tried to navigate between, the different commitments of religion and science, both in the medieval period and in the modern world.

Conference Schedule:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Technologies and Rituals: Encounters with Modern Astronomy (10:00 – 11:30)

  • Daniel Stolz (Northwestern), “Habash al-Hasib meets Adolf Miethe: calculating the times of prayer on”
  • Junaid Quadri (UIC), “Telegraphs, Telescopes and the Invention of Time: Determining Ramadan in Modern Egypt”


Histories, Networks and Cultural Complexes: Exchange and Innovation in Judaism and Islam (12:30 – 2:30)

  • Bilal Ibrahim (Berkeley), “Knowledge of Nature in the Islamic Natural Sciences (al-Tabi‘iyyat): A Phenomenalist Alternative to the Realism-Instrumentalism Debate”
  • Robert Morrison (Bowdoin College), “Jewish Scholars at the Courts of Mehmed the Conqueror and Bayezid II”
  • Seth Sanders (Trinity College), “Alien Wisdom? The Origins of Science in Ancient Judaism”


Engaging Science: Scripture, Theology and Religious Ethics (3:00 – 5:00)

  • Tamar Rudavsky (Ohio State), “Science, Astrology and Scripture:  Abraham Ibn Ezra, Maimonides and Spinoza on the Science of Biblical Hermeneutics”
  • Michal Raucher (Jewish Theological Seminary), “Hishtadlut and Bitachon: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Women Negotiate Autonomy and Divine Intervention in their Reproductive Ethics”
  • Nahyan Fancy (DePauw), “Scientific and Religious Discussions of Generation during the Mamluk Period”

Sponsored by: 
UIC Institute for the Humanities
UIC Jewish-Muslim Initiative

Organized by Rachel Havrelock, UIC English and Junaid Quadri, UIC History