About the Conference

Join us at John Carroll University at the "The Future of Risale-i Nur Studies in the West" conference between November 14th to November 16th, 2024. Organized by the Said Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies at John Carroll University (JCU) and the Interdisciplinary Journal of Islamic Studies (IJIS) of Respect Graduate School (RGS). This interdisciplinary gathering aims to explore the enduring legacy of Bediüzzaman Said Nursi and his seminal work, Risale-i Nur.

This conference offers a platform for scholars, faculty, and advanced graduate students to engage in a meaningful discourse on Nursi's teachings and their contemporary relevance. We invite submissions on topics such as Nursi’s theology of non-violence, his grounded spirituality as a catalyst for interfaith dialogue, and critical approaches to developing Nursi's tradition in response to modern challenges. Accepted papers will be considered for publication in a special issue of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Islamic Studies (IJIS).

Organizing Institutions

This interfaith and theological conference is a joint initiative of Said Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at John Carroll University (JCU) and the Interdisciplinary Journal of Islamic Studies (IJIS) sponsored by Respect Graduate School (RGS).

Said Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies, JCU

The Bediüzzaman Said Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies at John Carroll University was established in 2003. As part of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, the Nursi Chair is integral to the mission of JCU as a Jesuit Catholic institution of higher learning. The Chair is named after the prominent Muslim thinker from Turkey, Bediüzzaman Said Nursi (d. 1960), whose life and works have been inspiring religious movements and learning communities all around the world.

Interdisciplinary Journal of Islamic Studies (IJIS)

Interdisciplinary Journal of Islamic Studies (IJIS) is an international double-blind peer-reviewed English-language journal of Islamic studies and social sciences that highlights critical points of intersection between religious traditions and sociocultural phenomena, theology and philosophy, religious diversity, and unity. The journal is currently in its formative stage with the first issue of the journal planned to be published in January 2025.

Said Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies, JCU

Respect Graduate School (RGS) is an academic institution that specializes in Islamic Studies aiming at excellence in teaching, learning, and scholarship. With a genuine appreciation for and study of traditional Islamic disciplines, RGS applies interdisciplinary and creative approaches to equip students with the ability to respond to contemporary social and intellectual challenges in the global context. Fostering respect and dialogue with diverse communities, RGS offers moral and spiritual service to all, regardless of their religious or cultural affiliation.

Conference Organizers

  • Dr. Albert Frolov

    PhD in Philosophy (Kazakh National University)
    Lecturer at Respect Graduate School (PA)
    PhD Candidate and research assistant at Toronto University

    Albert Frolov holds a PhD in philosophy and is the author of several books on Islamic thought. Initially trained as a translator of Arabic language, he made his way into Islamic philosophy at the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the al-Farabi Kazakh National University (Almaty, Kazakhstan). After completing his PhD thesis, he served as a visiting researcher in Turkey and USA, where he published several monographs in his native Russian. He also has a Master in Theology degree from Victoria University (Toronto University). Dr. Frolov is now doing his second PhD on a comparative study of the thoughts of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi and Bernard Lonergan at the University of Toronto. Dr. Frolov serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Islamic Studies (IJIS).

  • Prof. Zeki Saritoprak

    Bediuzzaman Said Nursi Chair in John Carroll University (OH)

    Prof. Saritoprak received his Ph.D. in Islamic Theology from the University of Marmara in Turkey and has authored more than thirty academic articles and encyclopedia entries on topics in Islam, spirituality, and interfaith dialogue, including academic articles and encyclopedia entries, in addition to his latest book Islam’s Jesus. He also published a book on Islamic spirituality titled Islamic Spirituality: Theology and Practice for the Modern World. Currently, he is the head of the Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies and a professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Academic Board
(Paper Selection Committee)

  • Dr. Halim Calis

    Lecturer at Respect Graduate School (PA)

    Dr. Halim Calis graduated from Ankara University (Ankara, Turkey) and completed his MA in Islamic Theology at Marmara University (Istanbul, Turkey). He completed another MA on World Religions at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Divinity School. His doctoral dissertation is on Shams al-Dīn al-Fanārī (d. 1431), an Ottoman scholar who appropriated Akbarī hermeneutics in his Qur’ān commentary. He conducts research in English, Turkish, and Arabic. He can also read French and Persian. He has published encyclopedia entries, book chapters, and articles for Turkish and English journals. He is currently a professor of Islamic Studies at Respect Graduate School in Bethlehem, USA.

  • Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer

    University of California, Santa Barbara

    Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Global Studies, Sociology and an affiliate of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the founding director of the Global and International Studies Program and the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies. He is an expert on religious violence, conflict resolution, and South Asian religion and politics and has published more than three hundred articles and thirty books, including the forthcoming When God Stops Fighting: How Religious Violence Ends (University of California Press, 2022), God at War: A Meditation on Religion and Warfare (Oxford, 2021), and the co-authored God in the Tumult of the Global Square: Religion in Global Civil Society (University of California Press, 2015; co-authored with Dinah Griego and John Soboslai).

  • Dr. Zuleyha Mary Fikret

    Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies Department at Columbia University

    Dr. Zuleyha Mary Fikret is a Lecturer and Coordinator of the Turkish Language Program in the Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies Department at Columbia University. She worked as a Teaching Specialist at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis in Global Studies and the Institute of Linguistics English as a Second Language and Slavic Studies between 2005-2010. She holds two master’s degrees, one in Comparative Literature in Ottoman and Arabic Literature from Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey (2000), and another one from Central Eurasian Studies/Turkish and Ottoman Studies at Indiana University (2003). She has a Ph.D. degree with a major in Ottoman Language and literature and a minor in Comparative literature/Literary theory at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.