“Strategies of Presenting Text and Illustrations: Turning the Pages of a Sixteenth Century Book of Wisdom”: An Interview with Seher Agarwala

  Last week, I “sat” down via Zoom with Seher Agarwala, a PhD student in the Art History and Archeology Department at Columbia , and asked her a few questions related to Indo-Persian manuscripts, the Muslim World Manuscript project and her own dissertation, which addresses the politics and ethics of 16th c. aesthetics in the […]

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Persian Lithographs: Jām-i Jam: “The World Revealing Goblet”, An interview with Zeinab Azarbadegan

As part of the Muslim World Manuscript project’s scholarly engagement plan, I sat down with History PhD candidate Zeinab Azarbadegan and spoke to her about her interests in the history of the book, specifically her interests in Persian lithographs, and in the Nafisi book collection at the Columbia University Libraries. Our conversation took us on […]

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Black Lives Matter International

  “You watched my brother die.  That could have been me.  I am my brother’s keeper. You in the United Nations are your brothers’ and sisters’ keepers in America, and you have the power to help us get justice for my brother George Floyd.  I am asking you to help him.  I am asking you […]

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Finding the women in Columbia’s Judaica collections

When searching for women in early manuscript collections, it may seem as if they are only found without agency; adjacent to the men in their lives.  However, when I began looking for traces of women in Columbia’s rare Judaica collection, I was delighted to discover that they have a presence throughout the collections. I began […]

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On World Refugee Day 2020 — Rohingyas

One of many current global refugee crises is that of the Rohingyas. A Muslim group long resident in Myanmar, many Rohingyas have been displaced as refugees to South Asia (and other regions), most especially Bangladesh and India. Rohingyas have also experienced lack of welcome in South Asian countries. While often viewed in news reports as a […]

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The MWM Project: An Interview with Shabbir Agha Abbas; Poring over Manuscripts for a broader and more vibrant understanding of Islamic Studies

This past week, I interviewed Shabbir Agha Abbas, a graduate student at Columbia University (MEI/MESAAS) working on Islamic Law and Shari’a Studies. Shabbir holds an MA in Religious Studies from Rutgers University and has been involved in the Muslim World Manuscript project, helping to catalog and describe manuscripts in the RBML collection. Our lively conversation, […]

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Celebrating Dr. Ambedkar’s Birthday and Legacy

Ambedkar Jayanti (Bimbhao Ambedkar’s  birthday), which takes place on April 14th, comes upon us this year in most unusual and harsh circumstances, when an enormous percentage of people across the planet is sheltered at home and the COVID-19 pandemic has taken the lives of tens of thousands. Under these unprecedented realities which expose the deeply […]

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Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: Pop-Up Exhibition

      On Friday, February 28th, 2020, the Columbia University Libraries presented a pop-up exhibition at the Faculty House called “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here”, showcasing a newly acquired collection of artists’ books, broadsides and prints. The exhibition was held in conjunction with a two-day conference on Iraqi Studies, the first such conference in New […]

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The MWM Project: An Interview with Sadegh Ansari: Music as Science: Pythagoras in Baghdad

As part of a series of interviews with faculty, researchers and students who are participants in our Muslim World Manuscripts (MWM) project, I sat down with Sadegh Ansari, a graduate student in the Department of History at Columbia University, and asked him a few questions about his dissertation and his use of the MWM collection. […]

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December 10th: International Human Rights Day: an interview with Chris Laico, Archivist at RBML

  For the occasion of International Human Rights Day, which falls on December 10th every year, I sat down with Chris Laico, Archivist at RBML, who along with Catherine Carson Ricciardi and  Carrie Smith*, is responsible for processing human rights related collections. I asked Chris a few questions about archives, human rights, his daily work, […]

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