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Lecture | LUCIS What's New?! Series

Publish or Perish: Religious Zaydi publishers in Yemen during the 1990s

Thursday 8 June 2023
Please register below
What's New?! Spring Lecture Series 2023
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

This What's New?! lecture is part of a two-day event on the future of Yemeni studies, click here to learn more.

Zaydi Muslims are found almost exclusively in the norther highlands of Yemen. Following the unification of North and South Yemen in May 1990, strict government censorship of traditional Zaydi texts was relaxed and multiple local publishing houses emerged. This new freedom, coupled with the arrival of personal computers and dedicated young scholars, led to a significant corpus of publications of Zaydi texts that had been trapped in manuscript for centuries. Which books did these young Zaydis choose to edit and publish? What can their choices tell us about the needs facing the contemporary Zaydi community in Yemen and traditionalist expressions of Islam more broadly? And is there a future for this publication movement under the regime of the anti-traditionalist Ansar Allah/Huthis? 

This talk will devote special attention to the publishing efforts of Maktabat Badr in Sanaa, under the leadership of the late scholar, Dr. al-Murtada b. Zayd al-Mahatwary, where the speaker had the opportunity to study during spring 1996.

About Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas is associate professor of Islamic Studies in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona.  His research examines Zaydi and Sunni legal, theological, and exegetical traditions in the premodern period. He is currently working on a several projects based on Zaydi manuscripts from Yemen. 

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