Centre for the History of Arabic Studies in Europe (CHASE) to be launched at The Warburg Institute

Wednesday 22 February 2012

The Warburg Institute will launch its new Centre for the History of Arabic Studies in Europe (CHASE) on 16 March 2012.

Engraving entitled 'La danse des Dervis' (Dance of the Dervishes) by Bernard Picart (1673-1733), taken from the book 'Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde' (Amsterdam 1723-1737). The Centre for the History of Arabic Studies in Europe (CHASE) is dedicated to the study of the reception and understanding of Arabic and Islamic culture, science and religion in Europe from the Middle Ages to the modern period.

CHASE, a ground-breaking institution in this field, will bring together leading experts in the history of European Arabic studies. The Centre is deeply committed to the tradition of The Warburg Institute and its multi-disciplinary approach to Kulturgeschichte and will promote research into the transfer and survival of Arabic and Islamic culture in Europe.

The objectives of the Centre include:

  • the promotion of research on the transmission of Arab religious, scientific, philosophical, medical, and geographical knowledge since the Middle Ages;
  • the deepening of our understanding of the flow of ideas and knowledge between the Arabic- Islamic world and Europe;
  • the dissemination of this understanding by books, conferences, seminars, graduate courses, consulting activities and the creation of web-based research tools.

The Centre’s research and teaching will show the extent to which Western culture is indebted to developments in the Arab world from the Middle Ages onwards. It will make a fundamental contribution to a better understanding of many of today’s intercultural and interreligious tensions.

CHASE is directed by Professors Alastair Hamilton and Charles Burnett and managed by its Academic Coordinator, Dr Jan Loop. The Centre is based at The Warburg Institute and closely connected to the Arcadian Library, London, one of the finest collections of books reflecting European interest in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

Jan Loop, Academic Coordinator of CHASE, said: “The study of intercultural and interreligious exchange has always been a central concern of The Warburg Institute. CHASE is standing in this tradition, enhancing our appreciation for the impact that Arab and Islamic civilisation has had on Europe.”

Robert Jones, The Arcadian Library, said: “With the creation of CHASE, western appreciation of the Arab and Islamic legacy emerges centre stage, exactly where it should be, in our dangerously polarising world.”

CHASE will be launched at its inaugural conference at The Warburg Institute on 16 March 2012. This one-day conference, Translating the Qur’an, is devoted to the European reception and understanding of the Qur’an, the sacred text of Islam. Speakers will include Hartmut Bobzin (Erlangen), Thomas E. Burman (Tennessee), Ziad Elmarsafy (York), Robert Irwin (London), Tarif Khalidi (Beirut), Noel Malcolm (Oxford), Angelika Neuwirth (Berlin). Media interested in attending should contact Dr Jan Loop by email or on +44 (0)20 7862 8921.

Notes for editors:

  1. For further information and requests for interviews, please contact Dee Burn, Head of Communications and External Relations, by email or on +44 (0)20 7862 8670.
  2. Journalists wishing to attend the CHASE launch conference on 16 March 2012 should contact Dr Jan Loop, Academic Coordinator of CHASE, by email or on +44 (0)20 7862 8921.
  3. View the video interview with Jan Loop, Academic Coordinator of CHASE
  4. The Centre for the History of Arabic Studies in Europe (CHASE) is a new centre at The Warburg Institute. It is dedicated to the study of the history of European-Arab relations from the Middle Ages to the modern period and brings together leading experts in the history of European Arabic studies. www.warburg.sas.ac.uk/research/chase/
  5. The Warburg Institute, incorporated in the University in 1944, is concerned mainly with cultural history, art history and history of ideas, especially in the Renaissance. It aims to promote and conduct research on the interaction of cultures, using verbal and visual materials. It specializes in the influence of ancient Mediterranean traditions on European culture from the Middle Ages to the modern period. Its open–access library has outstanding strengths in Byzantine, Medieval and Renaissance art, Arabic, Medieval and Renaissance philosophy, the history of religion, science and magic, Italian history, the history of the classical tradition, and humanism. In several of these fields it can claim to be the most important library in the world. www.warburg.sas.ac.uk
  6. The School of Advanced Study at the University of London is the UK’s national centre for the support of researchers and the promotion of research in the humanities and social sciences. The School brings together the specialised scholarship and resources of 10 prestigious research institutes to offer academic opportunities, facilities and stimulation across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. The member institutes of the School are the Institutes of Advanced Legal Studies, Classical Studies, Commonwealth Studies, English Studies, Germanic & Romance Studies, Historical Research, Musical Research, Philosophy, Study of the Americas, and the Warburg Institute. 

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