by HATEM BAZIAN (VIA ACADEMIA.EDU), JANUARY 2015: 

University of California, Berkeley Call for Papers to the 6thAnnual Islamophobia Conference (April 23-25, 2015 at Boalt Law School, UC Berkeley)

“Islamophoia Studies:The State of the Islamophobia Studies Field” 

UC Berkeley Center for Race and Gender Islamophobia Research and DocumentationProject is hosting the sixth annual International Islamophobia Conference and invites Scholars, Researchers, Artists, Poets, Media Producers, Artists, Activists andCommunity Organizations to submit an abstract for a mutli-medium engagement in the Islamophobia Studies field.The conference’s theme this year is focused on assessing the Islamophobia studies field from a broader multi-disciplinary and transnational perspectives. Continue reading

Evaluating a Complex Landscape

by ZEYNEP TUFEKCI for COLUMBIA JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS (Vol 68, No 1 Fall/Winter 2014) on DECEMBER 12, 2014: 

Zeynep Tufekci
Zeynep Tufekci

SUMMARY: Recently, social movements have shaken countries around the world. Most of these movements have thoroughly integrated digital connectivity into their toolkits, especially for organizing, gaining publicity, and effectively communicating. Governments, too, have been adapting to this new reality where controlling the flow of information provides new challenges. This article examines the multiple, often novel, ways in which social media both empowers new digitally-fueled movements and contributes to their apparent weaknesses in seemingly paradoxically ways. This article also integrates the evolving governmental response into its analysis. Social media’s empowering aspects are real and profound, but these impacts do not play out in a simple, linear fashion. The ability to scale-up quickly using digital infrastructure has empowered movements to embrace their horizontalist and leaderless aspirations, which in turn have engendered new weak- nesses after the initial phase of street actions ebbs. Movements without organizational depth are often unable to weather such transitions. While digital media create more possibilities to evade censorship, many governments have responded by demonizing and attacking social media, thus contributing to polarized environments in which dissidents have access to a very different set of information compared to those more loyal to the regime. This makes it hard to create truly national campaigns of dissent. This article provides an overview of this complex, evolving environment with examples ranging from the Tahrir Square protests in Egypt to the Occupy movement.

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Column » ‘By the Book’ with Joseph Preville

by JOSEPH RICHARD PREVILLE and JULIE POUCHER HARBIN for ISLAMiCommentary on DECEMBER 2, 2014: 

struggleforpakistan-197x300Pakistan is a nation with a strong will to survive. It has endured political upheavals, ethnic discord, military dictatorships, and the challenges of religious extremism. In her new book, The Struggle for Pakistan: A Muslim Homeland and Global Politics (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014), Ayesha Jalal examines Pakistan’s history from its creation in 1947 to the present. “Pakistan’s tumultuous history,” she writes, “exhibits a daunting combination of contradictory factors that must affect any decisions made about its future. More than six and a half decades since its establishment, Pakistan has yet to reconcile its self-proclaimed Islamic identity with the imperatives of a modern nation-state.”

Ayesha Jalal is Mary Richardson Professor of History and Director of the Center for South Asian and Indian Ocean Studies at Tufts University. Born in Pakistan, Jalal was educated at Wellesley College and the University of Cambridge. She was a MacArthur Fellow from 1998-2003. Jalal is the author of many books, including The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League, and the Demand for Pakistan (1985) and Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia (2008).

Ayesha Jalal discusses The Struggle for Pakistan in this interview. Continue reading

by AMARNATH AMARASINGAM for NEW BOOKS IN GLOBAL CONFLICT on NOVEMBER 5, 2014: 

Michael Cook
Michael Cook

[Cross-posted from New Books in Global Conflict] Michael Cook, a widely-respected historian and scholar of Islam begins his book with a question that everyone seems to be asking these days: is Islam uniquely violent or uniquely political? Why does Islam seem to play a larger role in contemporary politics than other religions? The answers that are provided for these questions, particularly in the media, range from the ludicrous to the islamophobic. Cook, on the other hand, embarks on a much more nuanced and learned attempt at answering the question.

His book, Ancient Religions, Modern Politics: The Islamic Case in Comparative Perspective (Princeton University Press, 2014), rightly begins with the assumption that if there is something unique about Islam in this regard, the uniqueness of it can only be understood through comparative study of other religions and their engagement with politics. Cook looks at Hinduism and Christianity’s involvement in modern political life and places them alongside Islam, delving deeper into issues of political identity, warfare, and social values. What he finds is interesting, and goes to the heart of almost every debate taking place in a wide variety of fields like religious studies and the sociology of religion. Listen as we talk with him about his book, about contemporary global politics, ISIS and Al-Qaeda, as well as fascinating future projects.

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via SOCIOLOGY OF ISLAM LISTSERV/PEDRAM KHOSRONEJAD, NOVEMBER 2014: 

90605-2_Khosronejad_Bd1.inddNEW BOOK: Women‘s Rituals and Ceremonies in Shiite Iran and Muslim Communities: Methodological and theoretical challenges (Dec.2014). Pedram Khosronejad (ed.) (LIT. Bd. 1, 144 S., 29.90 EUR, br., ISBN 978-3-643-90605-2. Reihe: Iranian Studies (Vol. 1))  Continue reading