Former NMC Postdoctoral Fellow wins Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education Prize
In 2017 the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education launched a prize for the best scholarly book published by university professors and researchers in Iraq, receiving nearly six thousand applicants since its inauguration. Dr. Nasir al-Kabi, a former Postdoctoral Fellow at NMC and History (Mississauga) and now an Assistant Professor at Kufa University, won that rare prize. While at NMC, Dr. al-Kaabi translated some twenty folios of a Syriac manuscript written by an eye witness of the downfall of the Sasanian Empire and the advent of Islam, a rare source of information about one of the most critical historical periods in human history. He published his research as a book in the United States in 2016 under the title: A Short Chronicle on the End of the Sasanian Empire and Early Islam 590-660. Using Middle Persian, medieval Arabic, and Syriac sources, he pinpointed the location of the author in the north of Mesopotamia, identified his sources, especially Khwaday-namag, which the author used in discussing secular events, and the fact that he was the first to write about the foundation of Arab cities, including Kufa, Basra, and Mosul. Professors Amir Harrak (NMC) and Shafiq Virani (History), supervised his outstanding research, worthy of the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education prize!
The Qur’an, Epic and Apocalypse
Todd Lawson (Emeritus Professor of Islamic Thought) has published a new book entitled “The Quran, Epic and Apocalypse“. You can learn more about the book and purchase your copy here.
2017 Insight Grant Award Winner
Professor Katja Goebs has won a 2017 SSHRC Insight Grant Award for her research on “Myth, Metaphor, Mythical Thinking – Functions and Uses of Mythical and Divine Metaphor in Ancient Egypt”
Myth, arguably, represents a human universal: mythical and/or epic narratives are a feature of all cultures for which there exists a record. One of the aims of this project is to show that myth provided, among other things, a “language” in which aspects of the world could be encoded and explained while at the same time providing a means of gaining control – such as when mythical materials were used in rituals and even medical practice. By relating Egyptian mythical evidence to findings in the Cognitive Sciences, we work from the premise that myth and other stories are a central feature of cultural expression that may be called “cognitive tools” and that tap into the human mind’s inherent tendency and need to classify, model, and narrate. The project places its focus on the building blocks of full-blown narrative myths — the mythical actors, objects, and locations, which can stand in various relationships with one another. Such “snippets” of mythical information are commonly called mythemes in scholarship; they were put to manifold uses to enhance language and perception. Based on the Cognitive Scientist Allan Paivio’s “Conceptual Peg Hypothesis”, which proved the importance of visual pegs for enhancing memory, we hypothesize that mythemes provided “Conceptual Pegs” that were expressed, among other things, in figurative and metaphorical language. In this way, the study brings together two hitherto understudied fields in the discipline of Egyptology — those of conceptual metaphor formation and of the important role of myth in representing and understanding the Egyptian world.