What is the Global Muslim Encounters about?
The conference examines how Muslims have made sense of the fact that their religion is far from monolithic. From Morocco all the way to Indonesia, Islam is thought, lived, and practiced in a wide range of languages and political settings. We are asking what happens when believers from such diverse backgrounds meet and what impact this has on their understanding of Islam.
What are the big themes addressed by this conference?
The 20th century is often seen as a period of increasing homogenisation in Islamic belief and practice. Big players like Saudi Arabia and Iran employ their financial power to remake Muslim communities all over the world in their own image. We would like to explore alternative histories of religious change, including local resistance to purist pressures, unexpected reinterpretations of sacred texts, and various approaches – both conservative and liberal – to managing diversity.
Who will it be of interest to?
The conference is of interest to anyone concerned with the tension between the local and the global in the fields of history, politics, literature, religion, or current affairs.
How did this conference come about?
Muslim encounters play an important role in the research of Helen Pfeifer and Simon Wolfgang Fuchs, two of the organisers. While Pfeifer examines the multilingual Ottoman Empire in the 16th century, Fuchs focuses on interactions between Pakistan and the Middle East during the last one hundred years. We were keen to step back from our immediate expertise and to invite colleagues who cover a wide range of geographical and temporal settings in order to get at some of the broader, underlying processes of religious change. This is especially pertinent in light of the ‘global turn’ affecting many different academic disciplines; building on some of the work of the third organiser, Amira Bennison, we hope to consider what an Islamic perspective can add to our understanding of a globalising world.
Who are the speakers and what can delegates expect from the conference?
The conference brings together an exciting group of senior scholars, early career researchers, post-docs, and PhD students from the UK, the US, Europe, and Asia. Sparks will undoubtedly fly.
How can people find out more?
The programme is available here: http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/26819.