Aaron W. Hughes

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Aaron W. Hughes
Born (1968-08-15) August 15, 1968 (age 54)
CitizenshipCanadian
Occupationauthor, scholar
AwardsSSHRC, NEH, Lady Davis Fellow, The Killam Trusts fellowship, Fulbright Distinguished Chair
Academic background
Alma materThe University of Alberta
Academic work
Discipline
Sub-discipline
Institutions
WebsiteOfficial website

Aaron W. Hughes is a Canadian academic, author, and professor of Religious studies. He holds the Dean's Professor of the Humanities and the Philip S. Bernstein Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Religion and Classics at the University of Rochester. Previously, he was the Gordon and Gretchen Gross Professor of Jewish Studies at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York from 2009 to 2012, and, from 2001 to 2009, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.

Biography[edit]

The first-born son of William Hughes (1927–2013) and Sadie Alley (1936– ), Aaron was born on August 15, 1968, at the University Hospital in Edmonton, AB. His father was a native of Glasgow, Scotland and his mother was born in Fort Simpson, NWT, daughter to Bud and Lottie Mabelle (May) Alley. He also has a young brother, Cameron (1972– ). A first-generation college student, Hughes received a B.A. (hons) in Religious studies at the University of Alberta in 1993. He worked primarily there with Earle H. Waugh, Ehud Ben Zvi, and Francis Landy. Following this, he went to the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University in Bloomington, where he received a M.A. in 1995 and a Ph.D. in 2000 for a dissertation entitled Philosophy's Mythos: Aesthetics, the Imagination, and the Philosophical Novel on Medieval Jewish and Islamic Thought. This was subsequently published as The Texture of the Divine: Imagination in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Thought (Indiana University Press, 2004), which was one of three finalists for a Koret Jewish Book Award in the Thought/Philosophy category.[1] In addition to his coursework at Indiana University, Hughes also spent a year, 1996-1997, at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and then later as a Lady Davis fellow in 2004-2005. He also spent several years at the University of Oxford, in 1999-2000 and then again in 2019-2020, at the Faculty of Oriental Studies.

Work[edit]

Hughes is a scholar of three distinct, yet interrelated, fields of research: Jewish studies, Islamic studies, and Theory and Method in the Academic Study of Religion. What connects these diverse areas, for Hughes, is the meta questions that govern scholarly production. Working on the assumption that scholarly categories are not natural, but products of often highly idiosyncratic, political, and ideological choice, Hughes seeks to critique such motivations. This is seen in his dismantling of the category "Abrahamic religions." It is also visible in his critiques of the subfields of Islamic and Jewish studies.

In terms of Islamic Studies, Hughes has primarily been interested in critiquing what he regards as the overly apologetical and ecumenical approach to the field. This can be witnessed, for example in his two books that take aim at the field (Situating Islam and Theorizing Islam).[2] However rather than just critique, Hughes has also attempted a corrective with his Muslim Identities, which is meant to be an attempt to provide an introduction to Islam in ways that eschews the approaches of scholars like Fred Denny and John Esposito. Writing in the Journal of Islamic Studies, Murad Wilfried Hofmann describes Hughes' Muslim Identities as "the very best introduction currently available in English for non-Muslims seeking a sound approach to Islam."[3] However, writing in the Review of Middle East Studies, while Peter Matthews Wright described the book as a worthy introduction, he criticized the author's uneven tone and reversion to language that undermines Hughe's stated aims.[4]

Hughes is also the co-editor of Method and Theory in the Study of Religion (MTSR), the leading journal devoted to the subject.[5] In addition, he was the Editor of the Academy Series, published by Oxford University Press for the American Academy of Religion,[6] and co-editor for the Library of Contemporary Jewish Philosophers.[7]

Canadian Studies[edit]

forthcoming

Public dispute with Omid Safi[edit]

In the 2012 book Theorizing Islam, Hughes had written critically about the scholarship of Omid Safi, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and other scholars in the academic study of Islam.[8] In January 2014, Safi published a piece on the ezine Jadaliyya presenting his "impressions about the state of Islamic studies in the North American academy."[9] In the course of the article, in which he expressed his concern regarding unreconstructed orthodox Muslim voices entering the American academy, he stated that Hughes and two other scholars had written "pieces attacking and critiquing the prominence of Muslim scholars in the Study of Islam Section."[9] Specifically, he described Hughes book as "grossly polemical and simplistic."[9] In response, Hughes demanded that he "do what the Western tradition of scholarly discourse demands and respond to my ideas in print as opposed to engaging in innuendo and identity politics."[8] He further suggested that Safi may have been motivated by Hughes' position in Jewish studies, adding sarcastically, "[w]e all know that Jews are the arch-enemy of Islam."[8]

Books[edit]

Written by Hughes[edit]

  • The Charter of Rights and Freedoms: A Biography. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, under contract (expected, 2024).
  • Muslim Identities: An Introduction to Islam. 2nd ed. Sheffield: Equinox, 2022.
  • 10 Days That Shaped Modern Canada. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2022.
  • An Anxious Inheritance: Religious Others and the Shaping of Sunnī Orthodoxy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022.
  • Religion in 50 More Words: A Critical Vocabulary (with Russell T. McCutcheon). London: Routledge, 2022.
  • Religion in 50 Words: A Critical Vocabulary (with Russell T. McCutcheon). London: Routledge, 2022. [10]
  • Somewhere Between Islam and Judaism: Critical Reflections. Sheffield: Equinox, 2021.[11]
  • From Seminary to University: An Institutional History of the Study of Religion in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2020.[12]
  • Muslim and Jew: Origins, Growth, Resentment. London: Routledge, 2019.[13]
  • Shared Identities: Medieval and Modern Imaginings of Judeo-Islam. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.[14]
  • Comparison: A Critical Primer. Sheffield: Equinox, 2017.[15]
  • Jacob Neusner: An American Jewish Iconoclast. New York: New York University Press, 2016.[16]
  • Jacob Neusner on Religion: The Example of Judaism. New York and London: Routledge. 2016.[17]
  • Islam and the Tyranny of Authenticity: An Inquiry into Disciplinary Apologetics and Self-Deception. Sheffield: Equinox, 2015.[18]
  • Rethinking Jewish Philosophy: Beyond Particularism and Universalism. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.[19]
  • The Study of Judaism: Identity, Authenticity, Scholarship. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2013.[20]
  • Muslim Identities: An Introduction. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2013.[21]
  • Abrahamic Religions: On the Uses and Abuses of History. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.[22]
  • Theorizing Islam: Disciplinary Deconstruction and Reconstruction. London: Equinox, 2012.[23]
  • The Invention of Jewish Identity: Bible, Philosophy, and the Art of Translation. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010.[24]
  • Situating Islam; The Past and Future of an Academic Discipline. Equinox Publishing, 2008.[25]
  • The Art of Dialogue in Jewish Philosophy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007.[26]
  • Jewish Philosophy A-Z. Edinburgh UP, 2005.[27]
  • The Texture of the Divine: Imagination in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Thought (Indiana UP 2004)[28]

Edited by Hughes[edit]

  • New Methods in the Study of Islam (with Abbas Aghdassi). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2022.
  • What Is Religion?: Debating the Academic Study of Religion (with Russell T. McCutcheon). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021.
  • Deconstructing Islamic Studies (with Majid Daneshgar). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2020.[29]
  • Medieval Jewish Philosophy and Its Literary Forms (with James T. Robinson). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2019.[30]
  • The Future of Jewish Philosophy (with Hava Tirosh-Samuelson). Leiden: Brill, 2018.[31]
  • Library of Contemporary Jewish Philosophy (with Hava Tirosh-Samuelson). 20 vols. Leiden: Brill, 2018.[32]
  • Religion in Five Minutes (with Russell T. McCutcheon). Sheffield: Equinox, 2017.[33]
  • Theory in a Time of Excess: Beyond Reflection and Explanation in Religious Studies Scholarship. Sheffield: Equinox, 2017.[34]
  • Poets, Prophets, and Texts in Play: Studies in Biblical Poetry and Prophecy in Honor of Francis Landy (with Ehud Ben Zvi, Claudia V. Camp, David M. Gunn. London: T & T Clark, 2014.[35]
  • Jewish Philosophy for the Twenty-First Century: Personal Reflections (with Hava Tirosh-Samuelson". Leiden: Brill, 2014.[36]
  • Theory and Method in the Study of Religion: Twenty-Five Years On. Leiden: Brill, 2013.[37]
  • Encountering the Medieval in Modern Jewish Thought (with James A. Diamond). Leiden: Brill, 2012.[38]
  • New Directions in Jewish Philosophy (with Elliot R. Wolfson). Indiana University Press, 2009.[39]
  • Defining Judaism: A Reader. Equinox Publishing, 2009.[40]
  • Guest editor of two special issues of the Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy (JJTP).[41]

Honors and awards[edit]

Fulbright Distinguished Research Chair in Canada and North America, College of the Humanities, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, 2022-2023

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Fellowship, 2019-2020

Bluma Appel Visiting Scholar in Jewish Studies, Dept. of Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, Spring 2016

Katz Center for Advanced Jewish Studies (declined), University of Pennsylvania, Fall 2015

Bernard and Audre Rapoport Fellow, American Jewish Archives Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, OH, 2014

Schreiber Visiting Professor of Jewish Studies, McMaster University, Winter 2008

Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Standard Research Grant, 2008–2011

Fellow, Calgary Institute of the Humanities, University of Calgary, 2008–2009

Schreiber Visiting Professor of Jewish Studies, McMaster University, Winter 2008

Killam Residential Fellowship, University of Calgary, Fall 2007

Lady Davis Fellowship, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2004–2005

Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Standard Research Grant, 2004-2007.

Ruth and Mark Luckens Prize in Jewish Thought, University of Kentucky, 2004

External links[edit]

Interviews

  • With Craig Martin, Bulletin for the Study of Religion.[42]
  • With Matt Sheedy, Bulletin for the Study of Religion.[43]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MyJewishBooks Online".
  2. ^ Schwartz, Stephen (1 March 2009). "Review of Situating Islam". Middle East Quarterly.
  3. ^ Wilfried Hofmann, Murad (June 19, 2014). "Muslim Identities: An Introduction to Islam By AARON W. HUGHES". Journal of Islamic Studies. 26 (2): 246–247. doi:10.1093/jis/etu049.
  4. ^ Wright, Peter Matthew (2014). "Reviewed Work: Muslim Identities: An Introduction to Islam by Aaron W. Hughes". Review of Middle East Studies. 48: 83–85. doi:10.1017/S2151348100057001. JSTOR 24331348. S2CID 164862728.
  5. ^ "Method & Theory in the Study of Religion - Brill". Archived from the original on 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
  6. ^ "Academy Series". American Academy of Religion. Archived from the original on 2013-04-12. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
  7. ^ "Library of Contemporary Jewish Philosophers - Brill". 2013-06-06.
  8. ^ a b c Hughes, Aaron (2014-02-03). "When Bad Scholarship Is Just Bad Scholarship: A Response to Omid Safi". Bulletin for the Study of Religion Blog. Equinox publishing. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  9. ^ a b c Safi, Omid. "Reflections on the State of Islamic Studies". Jadaliyya.com. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  10. ^ Hughes, Aaron W.; McCutcheon, Russell T. (16 September 2021). Religion in 50 Words: A Critical Vocabulary. ISBN 9780367690472.
  11. ^ Hughes, Aaron W. (2021). Somewhere between Islam and Judaism: Critical Reflections. ISBN 9781800500556.
  12. ^ Hughes, Aaron W. (2020). From Seminary to University: An Institutional History of the Study of Religion in Canada. ISBN 9781487504977.
  13. ^ Hughes, Aaron W. (30 June 2020). Muslim and Jew: Origins, Growth, Resentment. ISBN 9780367606626.
  14. ^ Hughes, Aaron W. (September 2017). Shared Identities: Medieval and Modern Imaginings of Judeo-Islam. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190684464.
  15. ^ Hughes, Aaron W. (2017). Comparison: A Critical Primer. ISBN 9781781795378.
  16. ^ Hughes, Aaron W. (13 September 2016). Jacob Neusner: An American Jewish Iconoclast. ISBN 9781479885855.
  17. ^ Hughes, Aaron W. (19 November 2015). Jacob Neusner on Religion: The Example of Judaism. Routledge. ISBN 9781138949393 – via Amazon.
  18. ^ Hughes, Aaron W. (2015). Islam and the Tyranny of Authenticity: An Inquiry into Disciplinary Apologetics and Self-deception. ISBN 978-1781792179.
  19. ^ Hughes, Aaron W. (3 February 2014). Rethinking Jewish Philosophy: Beyond Particularism and Universalism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199356812.
  20. ^ Hughes, Philip S. Bernstein Chair of Jewish Studies Aaron W. (1 October 2013). The Study of Judaism: Authenticity, Identity, Scholarship. State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-1438448619.
  21. ^ Hughes, Aaron W. (23 April 2013). Muslim Identities: An Introduction to Islam. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0231161473 – via Amazon.
  22. ^ Hughes, Aaron W. (15 November 2012). Abrahamic Religions: On the Uses and Abuses of History. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199934645.
  23. ^ Hughes, Aaron W. (8 August 2014). Theorizing Islam: Disciplinary Deconstruction and Reconstruction. Routledge. ISBN 978-1908049360.
  24. ^ Hughes, Aaron W. (29 October 2010). The Invention of Jewish Identity: Bible, Philosophy, and the Art of Translation. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0253222497.
  25. ^ Hughes, Aaron (15 January 2008). Situating Islam. Equinox Publishing. ISBN 978-1845532604.
  26. ^ Hughes, Aaron W. (17 December 2007). The Art of Dialogue in Jewish Philosophy. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0253219442.
  27. ^ Hughes, Aaron W. (1 January 2005). Jewish Philosophy A-Z. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 0748621776.
  28. ^ Hughes, Aaron W. (18 November 2003). The Texture of the Divine: Imagination in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Thought. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253343534.
  29. ^ Daneshgar, Majid; Hughes, Aaron W., eds. (2020). Deconstructing Islamic Studies. ISBN 9780674244689.
  30. ^ Robinson, James T.; Hughes, Aaron W., eds. (2019). Medieval Jewish Philosophy and Its Literary Forms. ISBN 9780253042521.
  31. ^ Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava; Hughes, Aaron W., eds. (13 August 2018). The Future of Jewish Philosophy. Brill. ISBN 9789004381209.
  32. ^ Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava; Hughes, Aaron W. (eds.). "Library of Contemporary Jewish Philosophy". Library of Contemporary Jewish Philosophers. ISSN 2213-6010.
  33. ^ McCutcheon, Russell T.; Hughes, Aaron W., eds. (2017). Religion in Five Minutes. ISBN 9781781794647.
  34. ^ Hughes, Aaron W., ed. (2017). Theory in a Time of Excess: Beyond Reflection and Explanation in Religious Studies Scholarship. ISBN 9781781794234.
  35. ^ Ben Zvi, Ehud; Camp, Claudia V.; Gunn, David M.; Hughes, Aaron W., eds. (13 August 2015). Poets, Prophets, and Texts in Play: Studies in Biblical Poetry and Prophecy in Honor of Francis Landy. ISBN 9780567224095.
  36. ^ Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava; Hughes, Aaron W., eds. (21 August 2014). Jewish Philosophy for the Twenty-First Century: Personal Reflections. Brill. ISBN 9789004279612.
  37. ^ Hughes, Aaron W., ed. (25 September 2013). Theory and Method in the Study of Religion: Twenty-Five Years On. Brill. ISBN 9789004256019.
  38. ^ Diamond, Professor James A.; Hughes, Philip S. Bernstein Chair of Jewish Studies Aaron W., eds. (1 August 2012). Encountering the Medieval in Modern Jewish Thought. Brill. ISBN 978-9004233508.
  39. ^ Hughes, Aaron W.; Wolfson, Elliot R., eds. (22 December 2009). New Directions in Jewish Philosophy. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0253221643.
  40. ^ Hughes, Aaron W., ed. (2010). Defining Judaism: A Reader. Equinox. ISBN 9781845536091.
  41. ^ "The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  42. ^ "Situating Islam: An Interview with Aaron W. Hughes". 5 October 2010.
  43. ^ "Method and Theory in the Study of Religion: An Interview with Aaron Hughes (Part 1)". 15 May 2013.