Special Issue - Constructing Islam: Politization of Muslim Identity in Contemporary World

Sofya Ragozina's picture
Call for Papers
September 1, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Islamic History / Studies, Anthropology, Area Studies, Sociology, Political Science

Journal Islamology invites you to participate in special issue in 2020 which will be devoted to constructing of Muslim identity.

“A practice is Islamic because it is authorized by the discursive traditions of Islam, and is so taught to Muslims—whether by an ‘alim, a khatib, a Sufi shaykh, or an untutored parent”, writes Talal Asad drawing attention on heterogeneity of the Islamic tradition. But what if, in contemporary public space, this pluralism is reduced to simple and seemingly understandable markers of ‘European’ or ‘radical’ Islam? The actors of public discourse employ the rhetoric of ‘social integration’, defined on the basis of political and cultural categorization of ‘our’ moderate Muslims and ‘not-our’/’alien’ extremist Muslims. Such actors also utilize the ideas of ‘formatting Islam’ (K. Stöckl), whereby a pluralistic Islamic tradition is replaced by the discussions about themes, such as ‘how a European Islam is compatible with the values of Western democracy’. First, this leads to what Olivier Roy calls the ‘essentialization of Islam’, or ‘an attempt to explain everything through Islam, thus forming a negative attitude towards the “Muslim community”’. Second, this also results in politicization of the very Muslim identity, as pointed out by Rogers Brubaker while describing the category of 'groupism' in his identity theory.

How do various actors ‘format’ Islam in the public space? How do established discourses politicize and transform the Muslim identity? Finally, how does the Muslim community respond to requests to unify/standardize its representation, and what effect does this exert on pluralism within the Muslim community? What new meanings emerge from such interaction?

In this issue we invite authors to examine in-depth the phenomenon of politicization of Muslim identity: on the one hand, what image is being shaped in different sectors of public space? and, on the other hand, how does the Muslim community react to the set frames? In what cases and why does a certain community position itself as ‘Muslim’? As a rule, even if these questions are examined in both Russian and Western historiography, the selection of cases does not allow to observe a comparative perspective. For example, ‘Euro-Islam’ is analyzed separately, as is the phenomenon of the Russian "traditional Islam" and the ‘soft Islam’ of Indonesia. The aim of this issue is to consider various models of constructing Islam in public space using broad (first of all, from the geographical point of view) empirical material, which enables their comparative analysis. Authors are welcome to focus on the following questions and topics, but not limited to them:

- What does it mean to be a Muslim? Identity theories and their applicability to Muslim communities;

- What are the mechanisms for constructing Muslim identity in public space? Securitization and domestication of Islam; narratives of the ‘clash of civilizations’; neo-imperial discourse and the categories of ‘tradition’ and ‘history’ in the construction of Islam;

- ‘Formatting’ of Islam and politicization of Muslim identity: images of Islam constructed in various segments of public space (mass media, political parties, academic research, etc.);

- ‘European’, ‘Russian’, ‘British’, ‘French’ Islam: transformation and sources of national Islamic discourses;

- The problems of terrorism, extremism, migration, security, citizenship in the discourse of various Muslim communities.

The authors are welcome to submit their proposals as abstracts with a title (not more than 500 words) to guest editor Sofya Ragozina (sofyaragozina@gmail.com) by June 1, 2020. If proposal is accepted, the full text of the article should be submitted by September 1, 2020.

The languages of the journal are Russian and English; you can send abstracts and articles in either of those languages.

We remind you that articles in the journal are produced using the sixth edition of the APA Styleguide (APA 6th ed.). For more details on the rules, click here. In case of positive reviews, the authors will have to reformat their texts in accordance with our requirements, if the original form of the article did not adhere to them.

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