Well, this page seemed like a great idea in pre-covid times! With travel frozen, and online events a distant second best that I try hard to avoid, my anyway modest calendar of public activities has turned skeletal. But things are slowly changing, so here's a small selection of events I'm involved in over the next year. They provide a good indication of some of the grooves of my current interests. Some of my other projects and aspirations are sketched out further below.
Talks & events
On September 20-21, 2021 I'll be talking about the place of exemplars in Islamic ethics at the conferenceIslamic Virtue Ethics: Historical Trajectories and Modern Implications organised by the Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics (Doha) in tandem with Freie Universität Berlin and taking place online.
On January 6-8, 2022 I'll be participating in the annual conference of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues held at Oriel College, Oxford, with a talk entitled "Exemplars and the Ethics of Virtue: Lessons from the Islamic Tradition".
On March 3, 2022 I will be giving a lecture on "The Place of the Beautiful in Islamic Ethics" at the Abdallah S. Kamel Center for the Study of Islamic Law & Civilization at the Yale Law School.
On April 21-23, 2022 I will be giving a talk exploring the idea of God as a model of virtue in al-Ghazālī's ethics at the annual conference of the British Society for the History of Philosophy to be held in Edinburgh.
On June 13, 2022, I will be giving a lecture on "The Paradigm of Virtue: Lessons from the Islamic Tradition," exploring the (broadly) meta-ethical underpinnings of Islamic virtue literature, at Humboldt University in Berlin.
On September 12-17, 2022, I will be presenting a paper on "Psychology and Language in al-Ghazālī’s Ethics of Godlikeness" at the Deutscher Orientalistentag to be held at Freie Universität Berlin.
Writing and suchlike
One of my main writing projects just now is a philosophical study of al-Ghazālī's ethics of virtue (I was recently fortunate enough to have been awarded a Leverhulme research fellowship to see this project through). But I'm slowly trying to turn my ship around toward rather different waters. One question that has haunted me increasingly over the last period concerns the status of my own writing as an academic. How would I articulate and defend its value? To the extent that every published piece of work makes a claim to be heard (it claims a public), do I have a reasoned view of why the type of scholarly literature to which I contribute deserves a hearing? In a world awash with words, such questions need an answer. I hope eventually I can develop my own answers in a book-length piece (more words to be sure! but hopefully more worth their salt).
A couple of translation projects are also on my radar. On a more scholarly front, having recently started teaching a class on Islamic ethics, I realised the yawning gap in resources that would help both students and the general reader come to grips with the subject. One of my long-term aspirations is to put together a reader for Islamic ethics, which includes translations of selected Arabic texts.
More immediately, I've just started translating the latest novel published by the talented Egyptian writer Ahmad Al Qarmalawi, Warathat Āl al-Shaykh - literally "The Sheikh's Heirs", though perhaps "The Quest" might be a more fitting title. Clue: the story features a treasure. I loved this novel: it bursts with drama, history, larger-than-life-characters, and yes, magic.