2014-2015 Program

Global Islam was the Center's theme for 2014-2015

In 2014-15, the Center focused on Global Islam.

To kick off our pilot project on Imperial Entanglements, the Anthropology Department launched a year-long program on Muslim Worlds.

The contemporary Muslim world is diverse, stretching from North Africa to China. We are interested in understanding how various Muslim worlds have come into being and what new worlds are emerging, always in relation to other political and ontological formations (from Sassanid empires in the 7th century to global capitalism in the 21st century). Studying these entanglements, and the resulting worlds that emerged and are now emerging, requires a trans-disciplinary approach. It also requires a rethinking of regional priorities.

Although scholarship on Islam and Muslim societies often focuses on the Middle East, the largest Muslim populations reside in Indonesia, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. As part of our effort to disrupt conventional orderings of the world, and to attend to new and old circuits of exchange that have often been ignored, we are eager to foreground parts of the Muslim world beyond those of the conventional Middle East. Indeed, doctrinal, legal, and ritual diversity has long been constitutive of the Islamic tradition.

A major element both of the Islamic religious tradition and of scholarship on the Muslim world therefore entails a consideration of the relationship between the universal claims of Islam and the heterogeneity of Muslim societies across geographical space and historical time. By bringing scholars in anthropology and related fields to campus, we explored a range of topics: from gender and sexuality, to the environment, to Islamic law and governance, to the transnational circulation of people, labor, and ideas. We will use these visits as jumping off points for reading groups, graduate workshops, and curriculum development, all aimed at producing new kinds of knowledge about Muslim Worlds.

In addition to a speakers series, and a reading seminar open to faculty and graduate students across the social sciences, the Center also held mini-panels, conferences, art/film exhibits and a graduate workshop on Imperial Entanglements in Muslim Worlds. We brought together leading scholars, and held reading seminars in which speakers discussed a selection of their published work.

Read the year recap on our blog.

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