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The Foundation’s emphasis on the study of cultural variation is reflected in the name Ilex as a symbol. In classical Latin, Ilex means “holm oak,” that is, a kind of oak that happens to be evergreen – unlike other oaks in the Mediterranean climate – and that happens to look like holly (or “holm” in older English); in scientific or “Linnaean” Latin, ilex means “holly.” The plant to which ilex refers is thus a variable, but the concept of the holm oak or the holly as an evergreen is a constant. That is the symbol of Ilex.
The key word is “traditions,” oral as well as written, with an emphasis on the historical contexts of performance or text production. The plural of “traditions” draws attention to the Foundation’s strong interest in the detailed study of variation itself as a cultural phenomenon.
Stressing the need to examine cultures on their own terms, the Foundation especially supports research that is language based and text based; also, it encourages the application of comparative methods that fully engage the details of “thick description.” Points of special interest for comparison include
- Models of classicism vs. “locol color”
- Canonical vs. multiform traditions
- The rhetoric the poetics of cultural and cross-cultural constructs, such as Hellenism, “Rum”, Islam, Shi’ism
The Foundation is dedicated to the active dissemination of the research it promotes, seeking new models of publication that allow for a workable coexistence of hard-copy and electronic versions. Ilex is committed to the general goal of revitalizing the intellectual mission of academic publishers by freeing them from constraints imposed by the mentality of material profit. The application of information technology is an integral part of the Foundation’s strategy for achieving this aim.
Our passion for the Middle East is reflected in rich art, textures and decor that is part of our permanent collection. Read more about the collection here.
ILEX Trustees and Officers
The Ilex Foundation is comprised of a dynamic group of accomplished academics, professional leaders, and distinguished contributors from all over the globe.