Academic Presentations

2018 - "Al-Imām al-Rassī's Theory of the Imamate," Conference on Yemeni Manuscript Tradition and Zaydi Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, Dec 6-7.

2018 - "Mamluk Syria as Arabo-Islamic Archive: Urban Spaces, Scholarly Networks, and Manuscript Cultures," paper at the 2018 meeting of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), San Antonio, Nov. 15-18.

2018 - "Ismāʿīlism as Original Shīʿism," Shii Studies Symposium on

Sectarian Identity and Community Formation in Islam, University of Chicago, Oct. 26-27.


2018 - Al-ʿUdda by Abū Yaʿlā (d. 1066), Workshop on ʿĀmm and Khāṣṣ, LAWALISI, University of Exeter, July 23-24.


2018 - "The Great Epistemic Shift in Classical Islam: Foundations and Implications," El Colegio de México, May 8

2018 - "Early Islamic Political Theory Between Legal Discourse and Political Anthropology," Harvard Law School, April 24

[2018]* - "The Most Precious Pursuit: Ibn Tūmart's Theological Activism in Context," 
228th Meeting of the American Oriental Society, Pittsburgh, PA March 18 *(postponed).


2018 - "Theorizing Islam Past and Present: Classical Islam's Great Epistemic Shift (ca. 800-1200)," invited talk at Yale University, Feb 22. 

2018 - "Historicizing Qur’anic 'Ambiguity': A Theological Challenge to Scriptural Exegesis," Harvard University, Feb. 2.


2017 - "Ismāʿīlism as Shīʿism: The Construction of a Historical Category of Analysis," Shii Studies: The State of the Art, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, Dec 7-9.

2017 - "A Compendium of Theological Firsts: The Significance of Early Ibadi Kalam Texts for Islamic Thought," Paper at the 2017 meeting of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), Washington DC, Nov. 18.


2017 - "Muslim Religious Authority in the Middle Ages Between Social History and Discursive Analysis," Medieval History Workshop, Harvard University, Sep. 12

2017 - "Theorizing Temporal Power: Imamism as Political Theory and Theology," Shii Studies Symposium on Shi'ism and Governance, University of Chicago, May 13.

2017 - "The Persistence of Memory: Syria as Historical and Historiographical Site," Triangle Conference on the History of Muslim Societies, National Humanities Center, Durham, NC, April 29.

2017 - “A Changing of the Guard: Classical Islam’s Great Epistemic Shift in 11th Century Nishapur," Triangle Medieval Studies Seminar (TMSS), National Humanities Center, Durham, NC, April 8th .

2017 – “The Great Epistemic Shift: A Framework for Periodizing Early Islamic Intellectual History,” 227th Meeting of the American Oriental Society, Los Angeles, CA, March 19.


2017 - "Prophetic Religion and the Practical Application of Platonic Allegoresis: Fatimid Ismaili Islam as Utopian Model," Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion (SECSOR), Raleigh, NC, March 3-5.

2016 - "Classical Ijtihād Theory and the Vocabulary of Inter-Islamic Tolerance," invited lecture, Elon University, Nov. 3.

2016 - "The Limits of Human Authority: Jaʿfarī Ijtihād Rejectionism and the Roots of the Ismāʿīlī Taʿlīm Doctrine," 226th Meeting of the American Oriental Society, Boston MA, March 18.


2016 - "Double-Truth and its Discontents? Ibn Taymīya and the Pragmatics of Late-Abbasid Ḥanbalī Hermeneutics," invited lecture at Georgetown University, March 2.


2015 - "The Anti-Traditionalist Tradition in Islam." Talk given at Southeast Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Seminar (SERMEISS), Oct. 10.


2015 - "Radical Objectivity/Radical Subjectivity: Genealogies of Natural Theology in Islam." Talk given at NELC, Ohio State University, Feb 10.


2015 - "Ahammiyyat al-Imām al-Ghazālī fī al-fikr al-islāmī." Talk given at the Arabic Circle, CMES, University of Chicago, Jan. 9.


2015 - "The Historical Significance of al-Ashʿarī." Paper presented at the MEHAT Discussion Group, University of Chicago, Jan. 7.


2014 - “Ibn Taymiyya and the Historical Contingency of Orthodoxy” – Paper at the 2014 meeting of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), Washington DC, Nov. 23


2014 - "Q 3:7, The Pivot of Interpretive Authority in Islam." Paper at the Islamic Studies Workshop in the Divinity School, University of Chicago, Nov. 13


2014 – “The Imam and the Theologian: On the Imami-Shiʿite Reception of Kalam.”  Paper presented at the 2014 Conference for Middle East History and Theory (MEHAT), University of Chicago, May 2 


2014 – “Dare to Know: On the Origins of Kalam.” Talk given at the Franke Institute for the Humanities, University of Chicago, April 28.


2014 – “Ismaʿili Doctrine: Sources and Context.”  Paper presented at the Symposium on Reason and Esotericism in Shi‘i Islam, University of Chicago, April 4.


2014 – “Ibn Taymiyya the Avicennan Heretic.” Paper presented at the 224th Meeting of the American Oriental Society, Phoenix, AZ, March 14.


2014 – “The Hanbali Reception of Kalam.”  Paper presented at the Islamic Studies Workshop  in the Divinity School, University of Chicago,  Feb. 6


2011 – “Does God Exist? Encounters with Ismaʿili Theology.” Paper presented at the Conference for Middle East History and Theory (MEHAT), University of Chicago, May 14.


2011 – “Inheritors of Adam: A Shi’ite Tradition on Prophethood.” Paper presented at the MEHAT Discussion Group, University of Chicago, April 29.


2011 – “The Silent Imam: Religious Archetype and Historical Memory in the Sectarian Milieu.” Paper presented at the Shi’ism Discussion Group, University of Chicago, April 12.

Email: rodrigo.adem.alvarez @