Announcement | New Project Selected for Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative

Shahzad Bashir, Director of Middle East Studies, Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Humanities, and Professor of Religious Studies

The Office of the Dean of the Faculty and the University Library, together with the Digital Publications Advisory Board, are pleased to announce the selection of the next long-form scholarly work to be developed under Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative.

Islamic Pasts and Futures: Horizons of Time, by Shahzad Bashir, Director of Middle East Studies, Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Humanities, and Professor of Religious Studies, probes the functioning of time as an aspect of human experience. It focuses on Islam, understanding it as an element of human imagination made real in an illimitable array of physical objects and linguistic traces. Attending to this evidence instantiates Islam’s entwining in stories of human lives over more than fourteen centuries. Relying on theoretical discussions from fields such as philosophy of history and anthropology, historiography, and cultural, visual, and literary studies, Professor Bashir asks that we look beyond the commonplace view of Islamic history that is predicated on seeing time as a one-way stream. Rather, ‘Islamic time’ is a vast matrix of ‘present’ moments that fold pasts and futures into themselves. Artifacts of human endeavor, such as texts, paintings, buildings, and so on, are symptoms of these presents that contain diverse understandings of selves and the world. For materials pertaining to Islam—produced by Muslims and non-Muslims alike—analytical horizons connected to time generate new frames for comprehending Islamic phenomena.

The Digital Publications Initiative, generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is establishing an infrastructure to support the development and publication of scholarly works that incorporate the capabilities of digital tools and technology to advance theory, method, and argument. Editorial and digital development of these works is supported through the University Library for eventual review and release by academic presses that are increasingly publishing digital monographs. Anchored in the University Library and the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, this initiative extends the University’s mission of supporting and promoting faculty scholarship, while also helping to advance digital scholarship in the humanities.

In addition to Islamic Pasts and Futures: Horizons of Time, by Shahzad Bashir, current digital scholarly publications supported under this initiative include Italian Shadows: A Genealogy of Virtual Reality, by Massimo Riva, Professor of Italian Studies; Furnace and Fugue: A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) with Scholarly Commentary, by Tara Nummedal, Professor of History, and Donna Bilak of Columbia University; and The Sensory Monastery: Saint-Jean-des-Vignes, by Sheila Bonde, Professor of History of Art and Architecture and Professor of Archaeology, and Clark Maines, Professor Emeritus of Art History at Wesleyan University.

To learn more about Brown’s digital scholarly publication program, please visit the Digital Publications Initiative website, or contact Allison Levy, Digital Scholarship Editor (allison_levy@brown.edu).