Wednesday, June 25, 2008

CFP: "Islamic Resurgence in the Age of Globalization: Myth, Memory, Emotion," Norwegian University of Science and Technology, September 4-6, 2009.

The resurgence of Islamic sentiment starting in the later part of the twentieth century assumed various forms, from moderate da'wa organizations to radical jihad vanguards. This multitude of Islamic and Islamist discourses and modes of collective action are now being integrated, together with the societies in which they are embedded, into the wider process of globalization. The dramatic increase in economic, social, cultural, and political connections across the globe, and the growing awareness that we all live in one world, have deeply affected many Islamists' perceptions of Self and Other, their assessment of the nature of the challenges Islam faces, and their modes of resistance to the hegemonic West and to local Westernized elites. Existing studies of the contemporary Islamic and Islamist upsurge include social surveys of various movements, analyses of the teachings of ideologues, and sophisticated reflections concerning their meaning and significance. The conference seeks to contribute to this ongoing research by adopting an interdisciplinary approach which combines two complementary perspectives, the historical and the cultural studies approach; the latter has in fact developed in conscious relation to globalization and its concomitant communications revolution. We invite interdisciplinary paper proposals dealing with the Islamic resurgence in the late 20th and early 21st centuries from the perspective of three key concepts: myth, memory and emotion. Myth is used here especially in Roland Barthes' sense as a form of meta- language in which given symbolical signs are appropriated and stripped of their original contexts, history, and significances only to be infused with new and "mystifying" conceptual content. Examples of myths could be the new significances ascribed to Saladin and the Crusades, Jerusalem and Karbala, the hijâb and the siwâq. This connects to memory (remembering and forgetting), either collective (such as different - liberal, radical, Sufi - "remembrance" of the legacy of al-salaf, of the Ottoman Empire, of the "orthodox" Sultan Awrangzeb, etc.) or private (inspired by childhood experiences, persecution of relatives, etc). Finally, emotion refers to the social and psychological mechanisms which motivate people to adopt religious attitudes, join Islamic organizations and movements of various types and shades, and sometimes even be prepared to sacrifice their lives on the path of God. Keynote speakers are:
  • Dale Eickelman, Dartmouth College
  • Armando Salvatore, Humboldt University
  • Hakan Yavuz, University of Utah

It is intended that an edited volume will be published, based on the proceedings of the conference. Traveling expenses and accommodation for paper presenters will be covered by the organizers, as will be an excursion to the fjords and a concluding dinner. Abstract proposals (maximum 400 words, with a brief CV, maximum two sentences) should be sent by January 31, 2009 to: Ulrika Mårtenson (, Itzchak Weismann (, or Mark Sedgwick ( Acceptances and rejections will be notified by April 2, 2009.

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