Poetics and Politics of Imagination: Causes and Obstacles to Prosperity

Sumrin Kalia's picture
Call for Papers
June 30, 2022
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Political Science, Religious Studies and Theology, Sociology

Confronted by the rise of the ‘new right’ and the advent of ‘post-truth,’ existing scholarship on the

global and transnational populisms calls for a departure from rationalist, essentialist, and structuralfunctionalist

analyses. At this critical juncture, new scholarly terrain is called for to attend to myriad

‘irrational’ forces in politics e.g., emotional attachments to charismatic leaders, pre-colonial

nostalgia, and impossible aspirations.

In the first conference of our ERC project entitled “TAKHAYYUL: Imaginative Landscapes of Islamist

Politics Across Balkan-to-Bengal Complex” we bring together academic works that seek to offer a

fresh perspective that does not reproduce the irrational tropes yet is able to move beyond the

Eurocentric preoccupation with liberalism and secularism. While a growing consensus emerges on

the multiplicity of paths to modernity, the relationship of modernity with disenchantment and

secularization is being hotly debated. In the West, scholars note that disenchantment caused by the

retreat of religion in public life is replaced by the rise of ‘secular magic’- through charisma, myth, and

revelation. This conference seeks to contribute to the scholarship on contemporary forms of populist

politics through a focus on the mystical, charismatic, dreams, and the affective. We aim to develop a

discussion around various theoretical approaches on which to delineate the ways Islamist movements

forge imaginative landscapes.

In this conference, we ask: How can we expand our understanding of the formation of various

populist Islamist political milieus through a focus on longing, nostalgia, dreams, desire,

and other subjective, psychoanalytical, emotional, and aesthetic facets of everyday life? How

do imaginative and emotive references shape and steer the ideals of prosperity? If any, what

are the obstacles to those ideals in the formations of narratives around hope and a better


The conference brings together a wide array of scholars working on Muslim societies and Islamist

movements across the world. It will stimulate a debate on the parallels and differences between

various Islamist movements and their claims on the past, present, and future in an interdisciplinary

forum bringing together scholars of sociology, political science, anthropology, social and legal

history, and cultural studies.

Please express your interest in the conference by filling out the linked form before the 30th of June

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