CALL FOR PAPERS (DEADLINE: 12 SEPTEMBER 2014)
WILD SPACES AND ISLAMIC COSMOPOLITANISM IN ASIA
DATE : 14-15 January 2014
VENUE : Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
How have state and non-state efforts to distribute Muslims in time and space allowed for the containment of religious populations, or contributed to new manifestations of diversity and mobility? Did the contests between containment and connection generate new social, political, and ethical frameworks that might be construed through the explanatory framework of “Islamic cosmopolitanism”?
Islamic groups and individuals have long conceived of their faith as reflecting ideals of a broader universal community, a global umma. However, the actual practices and perceptions of what is considered the relevant boundaries and horizons of the Muslim community have varied across time and place. This international and interdisciplinary conference is designed to explore the interplay between projects of enclosure and the fashioning of cosmopolitan Islamic subjectivities in Asian contexts, historically and ethnographically. With the term “enclosure” we refer to those “productive” state and non-state projects designed to organize local populations within discrete geographic formations and homogenous religious communities. The term “Islamic cosmopolitanism” is used to broadly denote a broad range of open-ended identities, affiliations, and engagements that allowed Muslims to stake out positions in a wider, global frame. The larger goal of the conference is to explore the relationship between efforts to control Muslims in the lightly regulated “wild spaces” of Asia, and paradoxically, the subsequent mobilities, connections, and ethical frameworks of mutual obligation that grew out of such efforts. This workshop will bring together established and early-career researchers together to explore how faith-based identities are negotiated. Contributors may address spaces anywhere in Asia, and no temporal constraints apply. Continue reading →
compiled by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, TIRN, on AUGUST 19, 2014:
UNC-Chapel Hill Islamic Studies Professor Carl Ernst was in India this summer as principal academic organizer of an international *workshop on “Practice, Performance, and Politics of Sufi Shrines in South Asia and Beyond,” held August 1-4, 2014 in Ellora-Khuldabad, Maharashtra State. Dr. Ernst has shared with TIRN the following write-up (below) on this workshop by Prof. Philip Lutgendorf (President of the American Institute of Indian Studies), as well as details on a series of lectures Ernst delivered at Indian universities subsequent to the workshop.
AIIS (American Institute of Indian Studies) and Five Centers Join for “Sufi Shrines” Workshop by Philip Lutgendorf
On August 1-4 2014, fourteen scholars from eight countries met near Aurangabad, Maharashtra, in a workshop sponsored by six American Overseas Research Centers (AORCs), organized and hosted by AIIS. The theme of the workshop, “The Practice, Performance, and Politics of Sufi Shrines in South Asia and Beyond,” was collaboratively conceived by four South Asian AORCs (the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies, American Institute of Pakistan Studies, and American Institute of Sri Lanka Studies, together with AIIS), and its proposal was written by Carl Ernst, noted Islamic studies scholar at UNC Chapel Hill. The Centers provided modest seed money from their Council of American Overseas Research Centers programming budgets, which was then supplemented by a generous grant from the Cultural Affairs Section of the US Embassy in Delhi, whose Cultural Counselor, David Mees, took enthusiastic interest in the workshop, eventually attending it in its entirety.
In planning the workshop and inviting presenters, Prof. Ernst was assisted by two other organizing committee members, Dennis McGilvray (University of Colorado, Boulder) and Scott Kugle (Emory University). Participants included scholars from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, as well as five South Asia specialists based in the US and Canada. A welcome comparative perspective was offered by scholars from Morocco and Senegal, whose participation was sponsored by two other AORCs, the American Institute of Maghrib Studies and the West African Research Association. Conceived as an intimate workshop for the exchange of new research, the event was held at the small Hotel Kailas, a group of cottages set in a garden and located near the entrance to the Ellora Caves, one of India’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the workshop schedule offered time for attendees to visit its extraordinary Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain rock-cut shrines created between the sixth and twelfth centuries. (As a generous gesture, the Archaeological Survey of India waived the foreigner’s admission fee for all workshop participants during the four days.)
But equally important, the ridge into which these shrines are carved is topped by hundreds of Sufi tombs, hospices, and mosques that constitute Khuldabad, also known as the “valley of the saints,” for the reputedly fourteen hundred Sufis who came here in the early fourteenth century. Their shrines represent a number of spiritual lineages, but particularly document the spread of the Chishtis, India’s most influential order, into the Deccan and South.
NOTE from KEVIN SMITH, DUKE UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES— Authorship can be a tricky thing, impacted by contractual agreements and even by shifting media. In this guest post by Jennifer Ahern-Dodson of Duke’s Thompson Writing Program we get an additional perspective on the issues, one that is unusual but might just become more common over time it illustrates nicely, I think, the link between authorship credit, publication agreements and a concern for managing one’s online identity. A big “thank you” to Jennifer for sharing her story:
EXCERPT: I stared at my name on the computer screen, listed in an index as a co-author for a chapter in a book that I don’t remember writing. How could I be published in a book and not know about it? I had Googled my name on the web (what public digital humanist Jesse Stommel calls the Googlesume), as part of my research developing a personal website through the Domain of One’s Own project, which emphasizes student and faculty control of their own web domains and identities. Who am I online? I started this project to find out.
I was taken aback by some of what I found because it felt so personal—my father’s obituary, a donation I had made to a non-profit, former home addresses. All of that is public information, so I shouldn’t have been surprised, but then about four screens in I found my name listed in the table of contents for a book I’d never heard of. Because the listed co-author and I had collaborated on projects before, including national presentations and a journal publication, I wondered if I had just forgotten something we’d written together.
I emailed her immediately and included a screenshot of the index page. Subject line: “Did we write this?”
She wrote back a few minutes later.
WHAT??!!! We have a book chapter that we didn’t even know about???!!!!! How is this possible? Ahahahahahahahaha!!!!!
It’s a line for our CV! But, wait, what is this publication? Do we even want to list it? Would we list it as a new publication? Is it even our work? How did this happen? FULL ARTICLE
This book, as the second volume of “Islam and Human Rights Series,” undertakes to affirm certain positions and to negate others under the rubric of its major themes: apostasy, blasphemy, and religious freedom. As for the former, it attempts to establish that freedom of religion, in particular the freedom to turn away from a religion (abandoning Islam, choosing another religion, or becoming non-religious), is akin to the freedom of choice to accept or reject the fundamental principles of religion. Secondly, no temporal punishment is prescribed for one who rejects the religious doctrines of Islam and fails to conduct oneself in accordance with the religious dictates.
As for the latter, this negation applies to the lawfulness of shedding the blood of an apostate or one who insults and defames the Prophet, administering any form of worldly punishment on the one found guilty of apostasy, and carrying out capital punishment and other grave forms of punishment on the one who defames the Prophet. As for the one who is found guilty of defaming the Prophet and denigrating religious convictions, that person could be sentenced by a fair judicial system under “hate speech.”
This introduction will attempt to do the following: provide the salient points that are covered in much greater detail in the book: Ayatollah Hosein Ali Montazeri’s (d. 2009) recent opinion on apostasy; the legal opinion that negates any scope for penal provision on the matter of apostasy and blasphemy; the freedom to interrogate and be critical of religious convictions but without engaging in a hate speech; a bird’s eye view of this book; and limitations of this work with a view to charting out future areas of research on the subject matter. Continue reading →
compiled by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, TIRN on AUGUST 13, 2014:
“Many Palestinians see the Israelis as aggressive colonizers of Palestinian land and resources or as jailers; many Israelis see the Palestinians as irrational, violent and a ticking demographic time bomb that endangers a Jewish-majority state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. One thing is sure: Palestinian and Israeli youth are the hope for a resolution of the differences; their elders seem unable to get that job done.” — University of Michigan History professor Juan Cole
Column » ‘By the Book’ with Joseph Preville
by *JOSEPH RICHARD PREVILLE and JULIE POUCHER HARBIN for ISLAMiCommentary on August 4, 2014:
Juan Cole is one of the most astute and knowledgeable observers of the Middle East. His keen understanding of the Middle East was shaped by graduate study at the American University in Cairo and decades of research and travel in the region. Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He is the author of many books, including Engaging the Muslim World (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), Napoleon’s Egypt: Invading the Middle East (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), and Sacred Space and Holy War: The Politics, Culture and History of Shi’ite Islam (I.B. Tauris, 2002).
In The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East (Simon and Schuster, 2014), Cole takes a detailed look inside the recent revolutions by Arab youth in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. Cole salutes their courage and states that “this generation of New Arabs has shaken a complacent, stagnant, and corrupt status quo and forever changed the world.”
In this interview Juan Cole discusses his new book, the challenges Middle Eastern youth face in this time of “violent experimentation,” “wrenching transformations,” and “new forms of politics,” and his hopefulness for their future.
by *JOSEPH RICHARD PREVILLE and JULIE POUCHER HARBIN for ISLAMiCommentary on August 4, 2014:
Muslims have a long and rich history in Greater Detroit, Michigan, but it has not been thoroughly documented – until now. Sally Howell brings this history to life in her new book out next month — Old Islam in Detroit: Rediscovering the Muslim American Past (Oxford University Press, 2014). In her book she intends to “lay groundwork for a new interpretation of the Muslim American past that makes sense of the tactical amnesias, persistent discontinuities, and narrative breaks that have kept crucial aspects of the history of Islam in America from being remembered and effectively understood.”
Sally Howell is Assistant Professor of History and Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Howell is an editor of Arab Detroit 9/11: Life in the Terror Decade (Wayne State University Press, 2011) and Citizenship and Crisis: Arab Detroit after 9/11 (Russell Sage Foundation Press, 2009). She is also a contributor to The Cambridge Companion to American Islam (Cambridge University Press, 2013), edited by Omid Safi and Juliane Hammer. Sally Howell discusses her new book in the exclusive interview.