Dr Saeko Yazaki

  • Lecturer in Religious Studies (Islam, Muslim-Jewish relations and Japenese traditions) (Theology & Religious Studies)

Research interests

Research interests

  •  Mystical and epistemological dimensions of religion
  •  Muslim-Jewish relations
  •  Comparison between monotheistic and non-monotheistic faiths
  •  Theories and practices in Sufism, Shinto and Buddhism
  •  Concept of purification in belief
  •  Doubts in faith
  •  Methodological issues in religious studies

Biography

Saeko Yazaki (PhD, Edin.) came to Glasgow in 2012 after working at the Centre of Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge, as the Outreach and Project Manager. Her areas of research include the mysticism and epistemology of religion, the Judaeo-Islamic tradition in al-Andalus, and their continuing relevance to the present. She is also pursuing comparative study of monotheistic and non-monotheistic faiths. In her monograph, Islamic Mysticism and Abu Talib al-Makki: The Role of the Heart (translated into Turkish as Ebû Tâlib el-Mekkî’de Tasavvuf in 2016), she addresses the complexity of the Sufi-Hanbali interaction on one hand, and the Muslim-Jewish nexus on the other, through an exploration of the religious image of the heart in the works of the tenth-century Sufi preacher, al-Makki, and specifically his book on ethics, Qut al-qulub (The Nourishment of Hearts’). She is a co-author of La chronique japonaise de Nicolas Bouvier (with Olivier Salazar-Ferrer) which analyses a work of Bouvier a famous Swiss photographer and traveller on Japan: Chronique japonaise. Currently she is carrying out research on Muslim-Jewish relations, a comparative analysis of Sufism and Zen in the modern Western world, clothing of Shinto deities, and Kimono.

Saeko has organised or co-organised a number of academic and public events to help improve understanding and cultural awareness/preservation in both Japanese and Islamic traditions, in public, cultural/heritage and charity sectors.

Professional appointments:
Chair of the BRAIS (British Association for Islamic Studies)-De Gruyter Prize Committee (2018 - present)
Research Fellow, Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics, Organization for the Advancement of Research and Development, Kokugakuin University (國學院大學日本文化研究所、研究開発推進機構共同研究員) (2017 - present)
Section Editor of the Journal of Open Theology (Islam; Eastern Religions) (2014 – present)
Treasurer of EURAMES (European Association for Middle Eastern Studies) (2010 – present)

Treasurer/Membership Officer of the BRAIS (2014 – 2018)
Research Associate, Centre of Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge (2012 – 2015)

Saeko is also a member of the Scottish Religious Cultures Network at the University of Glasgow and supports the Japan-UK Season of Culture 2019-20.


Publications

List by: Type | Date

Jump to: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012
Number of items: 9.

2019

Yazaki, S. (2019) Classes of beings. In: Knysh, A. and Lange, C. (eds.) Encyclopaedia of Islamic Mysticism/Handbook of Sufi Cosmology. Brill. (In Press)

Yazaki, S. (2019) Scrupulous devotion: the influence of Ibn Hanbal on al-Makki. In: Tabandeh, R. and Lewisohn, L. (eds.) Sufis and Mullahs: Sufis and their Opponents in the Persianate World. Jordan Center for Persian Studies: Irvine, CA. (In Press)

2018

Salazar-Ferrer, O. and Yazaki, S. (2018) La chronique japonaise de Nicolas Bouvier. Infolio. ISBN 9782884743181

2017

Yazaki, S. (2017) Lamp, lamps (Islam). In: Helmer, C., McKenzie, S. L. and Roemer, T. (eds.) The Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception, Volume 15: Kalam – Lectio Divina. De Gruyter, pp. 780-781. ISBN 9783110313321

Yazaki, S. (2017) Muslim-Jewish relations in the Duties of Hearts: A.S. Yahuda and his study of Judaism. In: Meri, J. W. (ed.) Jewish-Muslim Relations in Past and Present: A Kaleidoscopic View. Series: Studies on the children of Abraham, 270 (5). Brill: Leiden, pp. 137-161. ISBN 9789004235809

2015

Yazaki, S. (2015) Morality in early Sufi literature. In: Ridgeon, L. (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Sufism. Series: Cambridge companions to religion. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, pp. 74-97. ISBN 9781107679504

2013

Yazaki, S. (2013) Islamic Mysticism and Abu Talib al-Makki: The Role of the Heart. Series: Routledge Sufi series (13). Routledge: Abingdon. ISBN 9780415671101

2012

Yazaki, S. (2012) Review of: The Transformation of Muslim Mystical Thought in the Ottoman Empire: The Rise of the Halveti Order, 1350–1650, John J. Curry. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 39(3), pp. 419-421. (doi:10.1080/13530194.2012.726494) [Book Review]

Yazaki, S. (2012) A pseudo-Abu Talib al-Makki?: the authenticity of 'Ilm al-qulub. Arabica, 59(6), pp. 650-684. (doi:10.1163/15700585-12341235)

This list was generated on Thu Oct 17 08:35:05 2019 BST.
Number of items: 9.

Articles

Yazaki, S. (2012) A pseudo-Abu Talib al-Makki?: the authenticity of 'Ilm al-qulub. Arabica, 59(6), pp. 650-684. (doi:10.1163/15700585-12341235)

Books

Salazar-Ferrer, O. and Yazaki, S. (2018) La chronique japonaise de Nicolas Bouvier. Infolio. ISBN 9782884743181

Yazaki, S. (2013) Islamic Mysticism and Abu Talib al-Makki: The Role of the Heart. Series: Routledge Sufi series (13). Routledge: Abingdon. ISBN 9780415671101

Book Sections

Yazaki, S. (2019) Classes of beings. In: Knysh, A. and Lange, C. (eds.) Encyclopaedia of Islamic Mysticism/Handbook of Sufi Cosmology. Brill. (In Press)

Yazaki, S. (2019) Scrupulous devotion: the influence of Ibn Hanbal on al-Makki. In: Tabandeh, R. and Lewisohn, L. (eds.) Sufis and Mullahs: Sufis and their Opponents in the Persianate World. Jordan Center for Persian Studies: Irvine, CA. (In Press)

Yazaki, S. (2017) Lamp, lamps (Islam). In: Helmer, C., McKenzie, S. L. and Roemer, T. (eds.) The Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception, Volume 15: Kalam – Lectio Divina. De Gruyter, pp. 780-781. ISBN 9783110313321

Yazaki, S. (2017) Muslim-Jewish relations in the Duties of Hearts: A.S. Yahuda and his study of Judaism. In: Meri, J. W. (ed.) Jewish-Muslim Relations in Past and Present: A Kaleidoscopic View. Series: Studies on the children of Abraham, 270 (5). Brill: Leiden, pp. 137-161. ISBN 9789004235809

Yazaki, S. (2015) Morality in early Sufi literature. In: Ridgeon, L. (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Sufism. Series: Cambridge companions to religion. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, pp. 74-97. ISBN 9781107679504

Book Reviews

Yazaki, S. (2012) Review of: The Transformation of Muslim Mystical Thought in the Ottoman Empire: The Rise of the Halveti Order, 1350–1650, John J. Curry. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 39(3), pp. 419-421. (doi:10.1080/13530194.2012.726494) [Book Review]

This list was generated on Thu Oct 17 08:35:05 2019 BST.

Grants

2017: Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation (Project title: 'Sufism and Zen')

2017: Chancellor’s Fund, University of Glasgow (as above)

2017: College of Arts Strategic Research Allocation Fund, University of Glasgow (as above)

2016-2017: Carnegie Trust Research Incentive Grants (Project title: 'Dismantling the East-West dichotomy? – the development of trans-traditional teaching of Sufism and Zen in Britain')

2014-2015: Royal Society of Edinburgh (Project title: 'Muslim-Jewish-Christian relations: A.S. Yahuda and his career')

2013-2014: Carnegie Trust Research Grant (Project title: 'Shared heritage: the Judaeo-Islamic tradition and A.S. Yahuda')

2013: College of Arts, University of Glasgow (Project title: 'Shared heritage: the Judaeo-Islamic tradition and A.S. Yahuda')

2010: World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies, Barcelona

2009: Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, University of Edinburgh


Supervision

My areas of specialisation are in Sufism, Muslim-Jewish relations and Japanese traditions.
 
I am interested to supervise postgraduate students in the fields of Islamic studies especially regarding Sufism and Muslim-Jewish relations, as well as religion in Japan particularly in the post-Meiji era.

I am also interested in supervising comparative studies of monotheistic and non-monotheistic faiths (e.g. Sufism and Zen, Islam and Shinto), between monotheistic traditions (e.g. Muslim-Jewish relations) or within a single tradition (e.g. early Sufism and Western Sufism). Other topics of interest include in the relationship between morality and religion, the concept of purification in belief and doubts in faith.

Please contact me if you would like to discuss a proposal for postgraduate study relevant to these areas.


Teaching

The Search for Meaning: Islam (Level 1)

The Search for Meaning: Religion in Japan (Level 1)

Islam (Level 2)

Mysticism and Spirituality: Japanese Tradition (Level 2)

Sufism (Level 3 and Hons)

Contemporary Issues in Islam: Interpretation of the Textual Sources (Level 3 and Hons)

Reading Islam (Hons)

Religious Practice in Japan (Hons)

Religion and Violence (MTh)


Additional Information

1. Selected conferences and workshops since 2008
2. Selected educational visits and public addresses since 2009
3. Selected knowledge exchange and collaborative activities since 2013

1. Selected conferences and workshops since 2008 (* = invited participation)

2019 Religion and Society Seminar, Durham (12 November, forthcoming)
"Al-Andalus as the foundation of the Zionist vision: A.S. Yahuda and his work on Jewish-Muslim relations"

2019 Reinventing Modernity: Franco-Scottish Encounters with Japan, Alliance française de Glasgow (17 September)
"More than a gaijin (‘outside person’): Nicolas Bouvier and his Chronique japonaise"

2019 Alexander Ross and the first English translation of the Qur’an (1649): Book history, censorship and religion, Glasgow (12 September)
"Translations of the Qur’an outside of a monotheistic context: the case of Japan"

2019 International Convention of Asia Scholars 11, Leiden (17 July)
"'A cup of humanity': the Japanese tea ceremony (the Way of Tea) as portrayed by Tenshin Okakura and its reception and practice in contemporary Britain"

2019 European Association for the Study of Religions Cnference, Tartu (26 June)
"We are what we wear: clothing of Shinto deities in manga comics as an ongoing process of Kami definition"

2019 Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Lancaster University* (29 May)
"The Zionist as an ‘Oriental Jew’: A.S. Yahuda (d. 1951) and his work on Jewish-Muslim relations"

2019 British Association for Islamic Studies Annual Conference, Nottingham (16 April)
"Understanding Sufism: Dances of Universal Peace UK and its Syncretic Approach"
Organised a panel: "What is Sufism? – An exploration of Sufi studies and Sufism in the West"

2019 Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics, University of St. Andrews* (4 April)
"Religion and politics in modern Japan: continuity and change in the clothing of Shinto deities"

2018 "How religion in Japan is taught at universities abroad (海外の大学で日本宗教についてどの様に教えられているか)", Kokugakuin University (Tokyo)* (1 July)
"Lectures on religion in Japan at British universities (イギリスの大学における日本宗教の授業)"

2018 British Association for Islamic Studies Annual Conference, Exeter (9-11 April)
"Is the universality of Sufism a Western creation?: Jewish Murshid Sam and Zen"

2017 Sufism and Zen in the modern Western world: Spiritual marriage of East and West or Western cultural hegemony?, Glasgow (8-9 December; please see below "Selected knowledge exchange and collaborative activities" for details)
"Has the West changed the Eastern traditions?: Jewish Sufi Sam and his transcultural approach"

2017 British Association for the Study of Religions Annual Conference, Chester (4-6 September)
"Spiritual marriage of East and West or western hegemony?: the use of narratives in the writings of Idries Shah on Sufism and of D.T. Suzuki on Zen"

2017 British Society for Middle Eastern Studies Annual Conference, Edinburgh (5-7 July)
"Studying Judaism through studying Islam: A.S. Yahuda and Wissenschaft des Judentums"

2016 Arab Jews: Concepts, Histories, Definitions, Edinburgh*
“'We Jews of the East': Zionism and scholarship of A.S. Yahuda (d. 1951)” (1-2 July)

2016 Sufis and Mullahs: Sufis and their Opponents in the Persianate World, Exeter*
“Sufi-Hanbali dialogue: Abu Talib al-Makki and the meaning of piety” (14-16 April)

2015 Islam anno 250, Leiden*
“A.S. Yahuda and his study of Muslim-Jewish spirituality”

2015 British Association for Islamic Studies Annual Conference, London
“Morality in early Sufi literature: the Treatise of al-Qushayri and the Revelation of the Hidden by Hujwiri”

2015 Theology and Religious Studies, Glasgow*
“Annihilating or forgetting the self? – a comparative analysis of self-transformation and ethical conduct in Sufism and Zen”

2014 Association for Jewish Studies 46th Annual Conference, Baltimore
“Jews of the East and Zionism: A.S. Yahuda in Spain and a lesson from WWI”

2014 Stirling Maxwell Centre, Glasgow*
“Know your place: the Japanese worldview as reflected in manga”

2014 International Meeting of Society of Biblical Literature: The Quran and Islamic Tradition in Comparative Perspective, Vienna*
“Is belief knowledge or experience? – a comparative analysis of the works on ethics by al-Makki and Bahya Ibn Baquda”

2014 British Association for Islamic Studies Annual Conference, Edinburgh
“Ethics and the self: a comparative analysis of the worship of the absolute in Sufism and the veneration of the imperfect in Japanese Zen”

2014 Divinity, University of Edinburgh*
“Deep connections between Jewish and Muslim spirituality in al-Andalus: Bahya Ibn Baquda and his Guidance to the Religious Duties of Hearts”

2014 Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Edinburgh*
“Zionism and the Judaeo-Islamic tradition: A.S. Yahuda and his Andalusian vision”

2014 Centre of Islamic Studies, Cambridge*
“Muslim-Jewish-Christian relations: A.S. Yahuda and his Zionist vision”

2013 Textual Cultures Event, ArtsLab, Glasgow*
“The visual effects of text in Judaeo-Arabic and Japanese”

2013 Centre for Religion and Politics, St. Andrews*
“A missed opportunity?: the Judaeo-Islamic tradition and Zionism”

2013 European Association for the Study of Religions Annual Conference & International Association for the History of Religions Special Conference, Liverpool Hope
“Judaism in context: A.S. Yahuda and Zionism”

2013 International Meeting of Society of Biblical Literature: The Quran and Islamic Tradition in Comparative Perspective, St. Andrews*
“Dialogues between Islam and Judaism in ethics and spirituality: the Andalusi landscape and Zionism”

2013 Theology and Religious Studies, Glasgow*
“Shared heritage: deep connections between Jewish and Muslim spirituality in the 11th and 20th centuries”

2012 Teaching Islamic Studies: Methodological Concerns, Practical Solutions, Islamic Studies Network and Department of Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies, Leeds*
“Teaching and studying Islam: consciousness and engagement”

2011 Teaching and Studying Religion: Choices and Challenges, British Sociological Association, London
“Teaching religion: far from spurious objectivity and unrestrained subjectivity”

2011 Centre of Islamic Studies, Cambridge*
“Knowledge transmission within and beyond medieval Islam: Sufis and Hanbalis, Muslims and Jews, then and now”

2011 Perspectives on Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Sarajevo*
“Al-Makki, Ibn Baquda and Yahuda: Muslim and Jewish mysticism in the 11th and 20th centuries”

2011 Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Cambridge*
“Islamic mysticism and Abu Talib al-Makki: the role of the heart”

2011 Centre of Islamic Studies, Cambridge*
“Affairs of the heart: the influence of Abu Talib al-Makki”

2010 World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies, Barcelona
“Inter-religious dialogue: a comparative analysis between works on ethics by al-Makki and Ibn Baquda”

2009 Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World Research Workshop, Manchester*
“Doing research: how much can we really know”

2009 Divinity, Edinburgh*
“Nourishment of the heart: al-Makki’s contribution to early Sufism and his influence upon the Jewish philosopher, Ibn Baquda”

2008 British Society for Middle Eastern Studies Conference, Leeds
“’Jewish-Arab symbiosis’: a Sufi writer Abu Talib al-Makki and his influence upon a Jewish philosopher Bahya b. Baquda in Islamic Spain”

2008 Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World: Aspects of the Medieval Arab World, Edinburgh
“A Jewish philosopher Ibn Baquda in Islamic Spain: his Book al-Hidaya ila fara’id al-qulub and Sufi influence upon it”

 

2. Selected educational visits and public addresses since 2009

2018 Unveiling Sufism: from Manhattan to Mecca by Dr Meena Sharify-Funk and Dr William Rory Dickson, Augustine United Church, Edinburgh (16 May)
Discussant to the public forum

2016 ReX 6 Applied Enlightenment, Glasgow Kelvin Hall (27 October)
Public event: “Migration, cultures, beliefs: the limits of tolerance” - Islam

2016 Japanese tradition and culture: a talk and Rakugo performance, Glasgow (17 October)
Talk: “Japanese tradition and culture”
The event was co-organised with the Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh and the Japan Society of Scotland.
Poster - Japanese tradition and culture, Programme - Japanese tradition and culture and report (in English and in Japanese)

2016 The Burrell Collection for their Refurbishment Project Interpretation Seminar: Islam, Glasgow Burrell Collection (7 September)
“Jihad”, “Is the use of violence allowed in Islam?”, “Homosexuality”

2015 Radio interview
Discussion on Sufism (“Muslim Youth Show”, Radio Ramadhan Glasgow (8 July)

2015 Talk at the launch of Righteous Muslims exhibition, Edinburgh
“Muslim-Jewish relations in medieval Spain” (exhibition of Muslims who sheltered Jews during the WWII; organised by Sukkat Shalom, the Edinburgh Liberal Jewish Community in collaboration with Marchmont St Giles Church and the Muslim Women’s Association of Edinburgh)

2014 College of Arts Alumni Public Lecture, Glasgow
“Reading Islam: culture of coexistence”

2014 Video interview, online
Conversation with Dr Roy Jackson (Reader in Philosophy of Religion, University of Gloucestershire) about Al-Ghazali’s work Deliverance from Error

2014 College of Arts Knowledge Exchange, Glasgow
“Translating traditions”

2014 St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, Glasgow
Seeing god in Japanese tradition” (kimono display courtesy of Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh)

2014 Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network, Glasgow
“Contextualising Islam in Britain II project”

2013 Quaker Meeting House & Just Festival, Edinburgh
“Shared heritage: deep connections between Jewish and Muslim spirituality in the 11th and 20th centuries”

2013 College of Arts Industry Day, Glasgow
“Raising awareness of Islamic and Japanese cultures in Britain”

2013 Glasgow University Muslim Student Association, Glasgow
“Islam in Education” (guest panellist)

2013 Glasgow Japanese Children’s Club, Scottish Japanese Residents Association
“Japanese religion and tradition” [in Japanese]

2012 Kaetsu Educational & Cultural Centre, Cambridge
“Islam, diversity and Abrahamic tradition” [in Japanese]

2012 Muslims and Political Participation in Britain, Edinburgh
“Contextualising Islam in Britain”

2012 Torridon Junior School, London
“What is Islam?”

2012 Toiro-kai, Japan Society for Researchers Meeting, Cambridge
“Islam and globalisation” [in Japanese]

2009 Arts and Religion in Japan, Dundee
“Shinto and the ‘myriads of kami’: Japanese attitudes towards religion”

 

3. Selected knowledge exchange and collaborative activities since 2013

2018 "Religious Dress in the Flesh", St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art (26 August)
Co-organised an event with Interfaith Glasgow and St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art (funded by Chancellor's Fund and College of Arts, the University of Glasgow) to explore religious clothing through interfaith encounter.

Programme is availalbe here.
Registration essential click here (now closed).

Blog and video clip from the event: click here.

2018 British Association for Islamic Studies Conference, Exeter (9-11 April)
Co-organised a conference at the University of Exeter

2017 Sufism and Zen in the modern Western world: Spiritual marriage of East and West or Western cultural hegemony?, Glasgow (8-9 December)
Organised a symposium funded by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation and the University of Glasgow (Chancellor’s Fund and College of Arts)
Sufism and Zen programme and Sufism and Zen image gallery

Razwan Ul-Haq's Blog: click here

2015 British Association for Islamic Studies Conference, London
Co-organised a conference at Senate House, London

2014–2015 “One Blue Sky”
Co-ordinated and helped in translation (Arabic, Hebrew and Ukrainian) and dissemination of a poem (“Sora-wa tsunagatteiru (One blue sky)” composed by Takeru Masuda, a primary school student in Okinawa; the poem was composed for Okinawa Memorial Day on 23 June 2014 to remember the lives lost during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945 (details at the website of Kaetsu Centre and Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum).

2014 Rakugo with Katsura Sunshine, Glasgow
Co-organised a rakugo (400-year-old tradition of comic storytelling in Japan) event in collaboration with the Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh; funded by the Consulate.

2014 “The open language of the Qur’an and the negative impact of interpretation and translation”, Glasgow
Invited Dr Bassam Saeh to give a talk for a joint research seminar of Literature Theology and Arts and School of Modern Languages and Cultures.

2014 Japanese film and culture, Glasgow
Organised two well-attended events: “Princess Mononoke” (March) in discussion with Dr Rob Maslen, and “Departures” (May) in discussion with Dr Charlie Orzech; funded by School of Critical Studies, Glasgow.

2013 Narratives of Conversion to Islam: Female Perspectives, Glasgow
Co-organised a special roundtable discussion with the Centre of Islamic Studies, Cambridge (CIS) and the College of Arts Knowledge Exchange, Glasgow University, reflecting on the report “Narratives of Conversion to Islam” (published by CIS) and exploring the questions it raises from a Scottish perspective; featuring the project director, members of the project’s focus groups, and a commentator from Glasgow City Council; funded by CIS and College of Arts Knowledge Exchange, Glasgow.

2013 Scottish Launch: Contextualising Islam in Britain Phase II report‌‌, Glasgow (Contextualising Islam in Britain II report)
Co-organised a Scottish launch of the “Contextualising Islam in Britain Phase II” report with CIS and Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World, Edinburgh. The participants of the event included community workers outside the University, e.g. Police forces, City Councils, Glasgow Life, Glasgow Forum of Faiths, and a number of Muslim organisations; funded by CIS and Theology and Religious Studies, Glasgow.