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Call for Papers: “Learning from Asian Islam: Perspectives for the Wider Field of Islamic Studies”
Jaclyn Michael, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
Verena Meyer, Columbia University
Muslim communities in Asia comprise a significant part of the world’s Islamic population, including major communities in South Asia such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India, as well as Southeast Asia, home to Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim majority country. In East Asia, sizable Muslim minorities in China and migrant communities in Hong Kong and Taiwan are part of a religiously pluralist culture. Islamic Asia has shaped and has been shaped by interactions with other major religious communities of the region including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Confucianism, and Daoism, along with local traditions and concerns. Islamic life in Asia historically and today is diverse and sometimes contradictory; faith-based values, ideals, practices, and doctrines produce pluralism, communalism, and at times sectarianism. Colonial rule and imperialism had crucial impacts on many dimensions of Muslim lives and cultural productivity, as well as understandings of the status of Islamic tradition itself. These effects, which were complex and not always predictable, became manifest in various realms, including law, politics, science, and education, and took on different roles in Asia’s postcolonial nation states. Today, global geo-political formations and the continuing “War on Terror” generate diverse Asian Muslim responses to contemporary exclusion and growing anti-Muslim sentiment worldwide.
In spite of its historical and contemporary significance for understanding Islam globally, due in part to colonial legacies of scholarship, Asia has often been marginalized in the study of Islam (Florida 1997). In the spirit of calls (Davis 2015) for scholars to reorient their approach to Asia from the limiting methodology of simply learning about Asia to instead learning from these histories, cultures, and experiences, this call for proposals asks authors in various fields of intellectual and cultural production to articulate what the broader field of Islamic Studies can learn from Asian Islamic histories and contemporary experiences. In basing this proposal in the study of Islam as an Asian phenomenon we build on scholarship that dislodges the narrow conception of Islam as primarily Arab or Middle Eastern (Formichi 2020; Lawrence 2002; Morgenstein Fuerst and Ayubi 2016) and works that understand Islam as a civilizational process, a discursive tradition, a hermeneutic engagement, or a cosmopolis (Ahmed 2016; Asad 1986; Hodgson 1974; Ricci 2011).
Organizing questions of inquiry include but are not limited to: what approaches to the study of Islam have been developed and elaborated in the Asian context and are relevant for Islamic Studies more broadly? How can Asian case studies help to shed light on questions that are currently debated in the wider field? How does material from Asian Muslim communities extend scholarly conceptions of the scope, character, and conclusions of Islamic studies as a field? How do dimensions of Asian Muslim social life such as socio-economic class, gender and sexuality, politics, or national identity prompt a reassessment of how these categories are understood to be constructed in Islamic traditions generally?
We encourage proposals from diverse multidisciplinary perspectives, including the arts, media, performance, textual criticism, legal studies, religious studies, sociology, and historiography. Scholars from underrepresented communities will be prioritized in the selection process. Interested authors should send their name, affiliation, and an abstract (250-350 words) to: email@example.com. The deadline for consideration is May 25, 2022. Based on accepted papers, a special issue proposal will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal that specializes in Islamic and Asian studies. Please send any questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accepted authors will be notified by late May. Full papers will be expected by October 30, 2022. We anticipate sending the entire special issue to journal editors by December 2022.
Jaclyn A. Michael, Department of Philosophy and Religion, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga