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Lecture by David Owen (Dep. Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University)


13 November 2023, 4pm to 6pm

Location: MuVi-Raum (S81, NW 2)

Hybrid Event! For online participation, kindly register at britta.frede@uni-bayreuth.de!

Ghadīja Mint al-‘Āqil and the Logic Manuscripts of Islamicate West Africa

Ghadīja (Khadīja) Mint (Bint) al-‘Āqil al-Daymānīya (d. ca. 1835) flourished at the end of the
18th and beginning of the 19th century in the southwestern Sahara, in the Gebla region of
today’s Mauritania. A brief review of women’s contributions to the history of logic underscores
Ghadīja’s historical importance, as one of only two women authors on logic prior to Frege
whose work is still extant. In fact, Ghadīja’s Ṭurra ‘alā l-Sullam is the best known, and most
reliably preserved, textual record of her teaching across the intellectual sciences of the Core
Curriculum of Islamic West Africa (Hall and Stewart, 2010). Her Ṭurra, still being glossed and
reproduced for study in Mauritania, is a commentary on a 16th century arjūza of Avicennan
logic, the Sullam al-murawnaq. The Sullam was composed by the Algerian scholar ‘Abd al-
Raḥmān al-Akhḍarī, and is arguably the most widely studied work of Arabic logic in the world
today. In this talk, I introduce the audience to what is known about Ghadīja's life, teaching,
and legacy. I compare Ghadīja's treatment in the sources to that of her brother and student
Aḥmad, and unveil a digital archive for Arabic logic texts, with the work of al-Akhḍarī and
Ghadīja as its centerpiece. The research results herein show the relevance of gender to, as well
as the utility of text-editing, digital archiving, and comparative scholasticism for, the field of
Arabic logic.

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