Thursday, April 3, 2014

CFP: Workshop-Muslims Negotiating Modernities

Vanderbilt University, September 18-21, 2014
III. Muslims Negotiating Modernities

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the various practitioners of Islam found themselves faced by different, often alien, political and legal systems, market forces, technology developments, and new forms of cosmopolitanism that required response and adaptation. Some of these encounters precipitated the crises that ultimately generated new traditions. One important response was that of "fundamentalism," which led some Muslim intellectuals and politicians to hearken back (in a tendency echoed by some modern scholars) to an idealized fantasy of "original" Islam they believed was subsequently sullied by innovation. In opposition to the general assumption that Muslims only "reacted" to external modernities, and that Muslim modernities are essentially derived from encounters with fully-formed European modernity, we will examine conceptions of newness, innovation, and modernity in Muslim worlds, and explore the myriad modernities Muslims generated. In this year we will explore, for example, Islam beyond Arab culture and language (the majority of Muslims worldwide do not speak Arabic); the rise of empire and the institutionalization of religion; debates around gender and sexuality; responses to colonialism; questions raised by technology and globalization; and meeting the challenge of being a minority religion in Europe, North America, and so forth.The results will demonstrate the recursive generation of innovation that can ultimately be traced through the whole of Islamic history.

For more information go to:
or contact Christen Harper,<>.

The workshop is sponsored by the Religious Studies Department and the Islamic Studies Group, with generous support of the Fant Fund, Office of the Dean, College of Arts and Science, Vanderbilt University.

The workshops are Co-Convened by Tony K. Stewart, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in Humanities, and Richard McGregor, Associate Professor of Religious Studies.

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