Global Islam Initiative
Beginning in the fall of 2012 the Islamic Studies Program launched a new colloquium series on the theme of “Global Islam” . This series will highlight the rich history of Islam and diversity of Muslim communities around the world. Please save the date for our next event in the series: October 11, 2013 which will feature " Islamism in Southeast Asia."
October 11, 2013
Location: International Institute- Room 1636
See the complete program description.
Islamism has been on the rise throughout Southeast Asia since the late 1980s. Both the nature of its growing social and political influence and the political implications of its rise, however, have differed markedly across the states that comprise the region. The aim of this symposium is two-fold: first, to explore the different manifestations of Islamism and its impact in both Muslim-majority states (e.g., Indonesia and Malaysia) and Muslim-minority states (e.g., Philippines and Thailand); and second, to provide a comparative perspective so as to stimulate discussion among scholars with different regional expertise. The symposium thus highlights two panels of renowned experts on Southeast Asia, followed by a keynote address on the future of Islamism in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by one of the most prominent scholars of the MENA.
Since the early 1980s, Spain has witnessed a boom in its Muslim population. Many assume that this demographic boom is directly linked to the increase in North African (mostly Moroccan) immigration to Spain since the country’s incorporation in the European Union in 1986. In fact, Spain’s Muslim population is quite diverse: it not only includes large immigrant communities from North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia, but also hundreds of thousands of native-born Spanish converts to Islam. The rise of Islam in contemporary Spain has coincided with a profound reevaluation of Spanish national identity. In the post-Franco era, Spanish intellectuals and politicians have striven to celebrate and promote Spain’s medieval Islamic heritage as evidence of the country’s tradition of exceptional tolerance and multiculturalism. The promotion of Spain’s Islamic past is not only political but also commercial: one of the most profitable segments of Spain’s tourism industry is built on marketing the concept of convivencia, the supposedly harmonious coexistence of Christians, Muslims, and Jews in medieval Iberia. Yet, in a 2008 survey by the Pew Research Center, 52% of Spaniards confessed to having negative views of Muslims, and recent projects to build mosques in Cataluña and Andalucía have faced vitriolic public opposition.
The international symposium “Islam in Contemporary Spain: Identities and Representations,” part of the Islamic Studies Program’s series on “Global Islam,” seeks to examine the promises and challenges facing contemporary Spain’s diverse Muslim population and also to analyze the contradictory representations of Islam and Muslims in contemporary Spanish society.
This International Symposium featured several speakers from Spain, Including Mounir Benjelloun; President of the Islamic Commission of Spain (CIE), Mariam Isabel Romero Arias; Director, Junta Islamica and Jose Antonio Gonzalez Alcantud; University of Granada, In addition to Eric Calderwood (U-M Assistant Professor, Romance Languages and Literatures) and ISP Director Dr. Pauline Jones Luong.
We began with our Global Islam colloquium series on “Islamic Knowledge in Africa” in November 2012 where we discussed the conquests of the first Islamic century did not reach sub-Saharan Africa, yet today Africa is probably the only continent with a Muslim majority and home to at least one quarter of the world’s Muslims. Far more of them live south of the desert than north of it, but only rarely did a jihad of the sword bring Islam to sub-Saharan African communities. Instead much of the work of spreading Islamic religious culture was accomplished by African Muslim intellectuals. The Prophet Muhammad was reported to have said: “The ink of the scholars is more precious than the blood of the martyrs,” and in sub-Saharan Africa the former was certainly more fundamental to the spread of Islam than the latter. Qur’an teachers, Muslim mystics, and scholars writing in Arabic or Ajami brought the core teachings of the religion to wide audiences. In this roundtable we will engage in dialogue with leading scholars to explore the dynamics of Islamic knowledge as they have developed over time and as they continue to shape Muslim life in Africa.
This event featured our own , Dr. Rudolph Ware (Assistant Professor, History). Other guest speakers include:
|Dr. Felicitas Becker, email@example.com
Lecturer, University of Cambridge
|Dr Becker did her undergraduate work at Humboldt Universitaet, Berlin, followed by an MA in African area studies at SOAS and a PhD in African history in Cambridge. She set out to study the economic and social history of an isolated region of Tanzania, including processes of economic and political marginalization as well as resistance (see the article on ‘Traders, ‘big men’ and prophets’ in Journal of African History,2004). Her post-doctoral work focused on the spread of Islam in the same region. It is published by Oxford University Press as Becoming Muslim in Mainland Tanzania. Before returning to Cambridge, she taught at Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, SOAS and at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.|
|Dr. Ousman Kobo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate Professor, History Department, Ohio State University
|Professor Kobo has served as Visiting Assistant Professor of African history at Marquette University and Gettysburg College before joining the History Department in 2006. Professor Kobo’s research and teaching interests include 20th century West African social and religious history; contemporary Islamic history; Sufism; French and British colonialism in Africa; and the social history of West African migrants in the United States. His forthcoming book, "Unveiling Modernity in West African Islamic Reforms, 1950-2000," documents the histories of contemporary Islamic reforms associated with Wahhabism in Ghana and Burkina Faso. The book also examines the ways the rise of Wahhabi-inclined movements at the end of colonial rule helps us understand Muslims' engagements with modernity. His publications include, "The Development of Wahhabi Reforms in Ghana and Burkina Faso, 1960–1990: Elective Affinities between Western-Educated Muslims and Islamic Scholars" (Comparative Studies in Society and History, 2009 and “‘We are citizens too’: the Politics of Citizenship in Independent Ghana.” Journal of Modern African Studies, vol. 48 no. 1 (2010): 67-94. Kobo has received prestigious awards and grants to support his scholarly work including the MacArthur Fellowship for International Peace and the Boren Fellowship. He was also the co-recipient of the Distinguished Service Award awarded to two CCNY alumni during the College’s centennial celebration in 1997 for his service to the College.|
|Dr. Zachary Wright, - email@example.com
Assistant Professor; Northwestern University, Qatar.
|Zachary Wright is an Assistant Professor in Residence in Liberal Arts at Northwestern University in Qatar, with joint appointments in History and Religion from Northwestern’s Evanston campus. Wright received his Ph.D. (History) from Northwestern University, with a dissertation focusing on Sufism and the history of Islamic knowledge transmission in West Africa. He also has an M.A. in Arabic Studies, Middle East History, from the American University in Cairo and a B.A. in History from Stanford University. He teaches classes on Islam in Africa, modern Middle East history, African history, Islamic intellectual history, and Islam in America. He has authored two books: On the Path of the Prophet: Shaykh Ahmad Tijani and the Tariqa Muhammadiyya (2005), and The Removal of Confusion (2010), the latter a translation of a West African Arabic text, Kashif al-ilbas, by the Senegalese Muslim leader Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse.|