Founded in 1999, the Program in Cultures, Civilizations and Ideas teaches a year-long intensive course focusing on the meaning of culture: what it is, how it functions, and how we, as subjects, participate in it.

The texts that we examine exemplify a number of social, political, philosophical, and literary currents from the past that have made us who we are as citizens, intellectuals, artists, scientists, and observers in the world today.

The CCI Program also hosts a colloquium series and interdisciplinary symposia that address issues in the humanities. Please check Events.

Upcoming Events

“Sufis in Exile: The Limitations of American Translation”
Rebecca Hill

Date: Thursday, 12 March, 2020
Place: G-160
Time: 12:40


Despite 50 years of mounting tensions with the Middle East, the 20th-century American print consumerate continues to embrace Islam, perhaps unwittingly, through modern English translations of medieval Sufi poetry. While translators such as Coleman Barks, most famous for bringing Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī into the Anglosphere, and Daniel Ladinsky, champion of Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥāfeẓ-e Shīrāzī, have come under scrutiny for not only taking translational liberties with these authors but also scrubbing their texts of any traces of Islam, they can also be credited for ushering in a revival of interest in Islamic poetry that petered out during the 19th century. This talk explores efforts to diversify translations of Sufi poets, which could resuscitate the academic press, and acknowledge the role that women have always played in the theological conversations of Islam, particularly as evidenced in Nuzhat al-julasāʼ fī ashʻār al-nisāʼ (a 15th-century compilation by Al-Suyuti).