Teaching Shi’ism in the Academy; Practicalities and Pitfalls.

On the 15th April 2015, Al-Mahdi Institute held a Research Seminar conducted by Dr Andrew Newman, a Reader in Islamic Studies and Persian at the University of Edinburgh on the topic of; “Teaching Shi’ism in the Academy; Practicalities and Pitfalls.” The seminar was attended by AMI students, faculty and interested members of the public.

An abstract of his paper reads, “Based on several years of experience teaching a University-level honours course on Twelver Shi`ism, Dr Newman outlined some of the practical issues encountered and some of the approaches adopted in response to teaching students whose undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes span quite varying ranges of previous study, let alone acquaintance with the history and culture of the Islamic world let alone Islam itself.”

He also explained how he teaches Shi’ism at University level and how he came about writing his book; ‘Understanding Shi’ism’ after analysing several books on the topic which offered a biased and unadequate understanding of Shi’ism. He also emphasised how the Iranian revolution in 1970 led by Ayatullah Khomeini changed the whole scope of understanding Shi’ism and confirmed the ways in which Western media portrays the Middle east in a stereotypical war-torn, terrorist and male dominated state.

To view the images from the seminar, please click here.


Dr Andrew Newman (University of Edinburgh)