Deadline extended to March 7: Alternative Archives in Muslim Asia: Int'l Workshop in Malaysia, July 5-6

Rian Thum's picture
Call for Papers
March 7, 2019
Subject Fields: 
East Asian History / Studies, Islamic History / Studies, Library and Information Science, South Asian History / Studies

International Workshop: Alternative Archives in Muslim Asia

Kuala Lumpur July 5-6, 2019

New proposal deadline: March 7

As Asian empires and dynastic realms gave way to nation-states in the 19th and 20th centuries, millions of Muslims across India, China, and Southeast Asian polities like Thailand and the Philippines found themselves in the unfamiliar position of national minorities. In many cases, the hardening of national borders severed or muted their global Islamic connections. Books and documents that had been central to inter-Asian Muslim communities became afterthoughts in the archival preservation and cataloging projects of new nation-states such as China, India, and Thailand. Meanwhile, some Muslim-majority states lacked the resources to establish effective preservation systems for their historical materials.

But in hidden corners of now-minority Muslim communities, traces of old textual circulations remain. Many sources survive in non-traditional archives, where the apparatus for accessing them is often poorly developed. This workshop aims to build a network of scholarship and archival practice that accelerates the recovery of these texts, rebuilds their trans-national context, and brings their stories of neglected Islamic traditions to life.

We invite individual paper proposals from historians, information science specialists, and archivists for work based in alternative archives among Muslim communities in Asia, such as mosque libraries, shrine collections, family archives, and antique dealers’ inventories.

We invite four types of submissions:

  1. From historians, anthropologists, religious studies specialists, and other scholars undertaking historical work that uses alternative archives as a main or significant part of the evidence base. Joint applications with caretakers are encouraged (see below).
  2. From caretakers of alternative archives (antique dealers, shrine caretakers, mosque staff) who have worked with academics on historical studies. Scholars who have worked with such caretakers and archivists may draft applications on their behalf.
  3. From library and information science specialists who have worked with or studied relevant alternative archives or other institutions that regard archiving as outside of their primary mission.
  4. Joint applications are encouraged, from historians and the caretaker/archivists with which they work, or from library science specialists who have worked with caretaker/archivists from alternative archives.

The language of the conference will be English, but interpreters may be provided in some cases, especially for joint proposals in which one applicant needs interpreting.

Proposal materials:

History/Anthropology/Religious Studies/Literature proposals should include: an abstract for a paper on the history of a Muslim community or network in Asia (up to 300 words); a description of the alternative archive(s) that forms a major evidence source for the paper (up to 150 words); and a CV. Please indicate the language of the materials in the alternative archive.

Caretakers and archivists’ applications should include: an abstract of a short paper or report about the issues facing the caretaker/archivist or their institution (up to 300 words); a description of the archive of for which they are responsible (up to 150 words).

Library science specialists’ applications should include: a paper abstract (up to 300 words); a description of the alternative archive(s) that they have studied or worked with (up to 150 words); and a CV.

Accepted presenters will receive travel funding for international transportation to and accommodation in Kuala Lumpur. This workshop is timed to allow participants to attend the Association for Asian Studies “AAS-in-Asia “ conference in Bangkok (July 1-4).

Send proposals to:

Convened by: Rian Thum (


Hosted by the Institute of Asia and Pacific Studies

University of Nottingham Malaysia