Translating Islam Abstract: One of the difficulties in analyzing what Islam comes to mean since the nineteenth century is the absence of agreement on what Islam actually is. Is it a name for a religion, a concept, a technical term, a sign, a taxonomy, a geographic denotation, a communal identity? This lack of clarity on whether Islam could be all these things at the same time and for different people is compounded by the multiple referents and significations that Islam acquires in this period and which it did not possess before. European Orientalists and Muslim and Arab thinkers begin to use Islam in a multiplicity of ways while seemingly convinced that it possesses an immediate intelligibility that requires no specification or definition. The lecture will examine the implications of this for the translation of Islam into modern usage, not only in European languages, but also in modern Arabic. Biography: Joseph Massad teaches modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University. He is the author of Colonial Effects, The Making of National Identity in Jordan (2001), The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians (2006), Desiring Arabs (2007), Daymumat al-Mas'alah alFilastiniyyah (2009), and La Persistance de la question palestinienne (2009). In addition to publishing numerous studies in academic journals, Professor Massad writes journalistic columns for Al-Jazeera English, Al-Ahram Weekly, and the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar.