​International Summer Programme



Dr Abdou Filali-Ansary was founding director of the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC) (2002-2009) and of the King Abdul-Aziz Foundation for Islamic Studies and Human Sciences in Casablanca, Morocco (1984-2001). Prior to this, he served as secretary-general of the Mohammed V University in Rabat (1980-1984), having also taught modern philosophy there. His publications include Is Islam Hostile to Secularism? (in: Reforming Islam: An Introduction to Contemporary Debates, 2003) and a translation into French of Ali Abdel-Raziq’s landmark book Islam and The Foundations of Political Power.

Emma Clark is a garden designer specialising in Islamic gardens and gardens of other sacred traditions. She is a Senior Tutor on the post-graduate Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts programme at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in London, where she focuses on teaching the universal principles of sacred and traditional art. She has written two books: The Art of the Islamic Garden (new edition 2010), and a monograph, Underneath Which Rivers Flow, The Symbolism of the Islamic Garden, (1996) as well as many articles on Islamic art and architecture, gardens and the garden carpet.

Yiannis Kanakis is a Geopolitical Analyst and an ethno-musicologist who has worked for many years on newspapers and magazines in Greece and France. He has two Masters degees from Paris in Geopolitics and in Ethnomusicology and has recently completed his PhD in Geography/Geopolitics.

Dr Francesca Leoni is currently the Yousef Jameel Curator of Islamic Art at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford, after holding posts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Rice University. Her interests include the Islamic arts of the book in pre-modern and early modern times; cross-cultural exchanges between the Islamic world, the Western world and Asia; and the history and circulation of technologies. Among her recent publications are the exhibition catalogue Light of the Sufis: The Mystical Arts of Islam (2010), co-authored with Ladan Akbarnia, Picturing Evil: Images of Divs and the Reception of the Shahnama, in Shahnama Studies II (2012), On the Monstrous in the Islamic Visual Tradition, in Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous (2012) and the upcoming volume Eros and Sexuality in Islamic Art (2013), co-edited with Mika Natif. She is currently working on an exhibition project focusing on the connection between art, divinatory practices and talismans in the pre-modern Islamic tradition.

Dr Derryl MacLean is Associate Professor of History at Simon Fraser University (CCSMSC, SFU) and the Director of its Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures. A social historian of religion, he has published Religion and Society in Arab Sind (Brill: 1989) as well as scholarly articles in academic journals, collections of essays, and encyclopedias. He is the co-editor (with Sikeena Ahmed) of Cosmopolitanisms in Muslim Contexts (Edinburgh University Press, 2012). His current research includes early modern messianic movements in the Persianate world as well as diaspora Muslim communities in British Columbia.

Prof Trevor Marchand is Professor of Social Anthropology at SOAS and British Academy Fellow. Marchand was trained as an architect (McGill) and received a PhD in anthropology (SOAS). He has conducted fieldwork with masons and craftspeople in Yemen, Mali and East London. He is author of Minaret Building and Apprenticeship in Yemen (2001) and The Masons of Djenné (2009), and editor of several books including Making Knowledge (2010). He co-produced the documentary film Future of Mud (2007), and he is curating a new exhibition on the Djenné masons for the Smithsonian NMNH. His next monograph, The Pursuit of Pleasurable Work, is based on fieldwork with UK furniture makers.

Dr Laura U. Marks is the author of The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses (2000), Touch: Sensuous Theory and Multisensory  Media (2002), Enfoldment and Infinity: An Islamic Genealogy of New Media Art (MIT, 2010), and many essays. Currently she is working on a book on experimental cinema in the Arab world. Dr Marks has curated over 40 programmes of experimental media art for venues around the world. She is the Dena Wosk University Professor in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada.

Dr John Morgan O’Connell is Director of the programmes in Ethnomusicology at Cardiff University. A graduate of Oxford University, he completed his doctorate in Ethnomusicology at UCLA. His publications concern in principle the musical traditions of the Muslim world, his recent monograph entitled: Alaturka: Style in Turkish Music (1923-1938) (SOAS Musicology Series, 2013) examining the relationship between aesthetics and politics during the early-Republican period. He is currently working on a book that explores the connection between music and nationhood in the Middle East. Being awarded a number of international fellowships, he has taught Ethnomusicology at universities in Europe and America.

Dr Stephane Pradines completed his PhD in Islamic Archaeology from Sorbonne University, Paris IV in 2001. He is an archaeologist and he was in charge of Islamic Archaeology at the French Institute in Cairo from 2001 - 2012. Dr Pradines’ fieldwork includes Excavations of the Fatimid and Ayyubid Walls of Cairo, Excavations of Kilwa, Swahili medieval harbour of Tanzania and of Gedi, Swahili medieval harbour of Kenya and more recently Excavation of Dembeni (Mayotte, French Comoros). He also created the First Field School of Islamic Archaeology in Egypt and he was Lecturer in Islamic Archaeology at Cairo University. His publications include Fortifications et urbanisation en Afrique orientale, Cambridge Monographs in African Archaeology 2004 and Gedi, une cité portuaire swahilie. Islam médiéval en Afrique orientale Monographies d’archéologie islamique, 2010.

Dr Farouk Topan is Interim Director and Associate Professor at the Aga Khan University, Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations. He was active in introducing the teaching of Swahili literature at the Universities of Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. His publications include an edited volume titled Swahili Modernities: Culture, Politics and Identity on the East Coast of Africa (Africa World Press: 2004) and a play, Mfalme Juha (The Idiot King) which has become part of secondary school curriculum in Tanzania.   

Please note that the programme content is subject to change.​