The Study of Islam and Muslims in the shadow of the “War on Terror”: Complexity, Reflexivity and Decolonising Methodologies
A major online conference delivered by the University of Edinburgh's Alwaleed Centre, Moray House School of Education and Sport, Centre for Education for Racial Equality Scotland & RACE.Ed.
The scope of the study of Islam and Muslims has proliferated since the events of 9/11. Unfortunately, the ‘War on Terror’ has reinvigorated Orientalist constructions of Muslims, to which academic knowledge production has contributed. The political securitisation of Islam has not only shaped research focus as well as teaching content in relation to Muslims and Islam, but also effected an upsurge in numbers of researchers who attempt to bring agency to Muslim voice and validate Islamic worldviews and epistemologies.
Nonetheless, researchers, to varying degrees, depending on their positionalities, find themselves confronting three key dynamics that shape the production of knowledge on Islam/Muslims. Firstly, the institutional constraints that determine research foci, secondly the broader political environment of securitisation of Islam and Muslim communities, and lastly, a set of mainstream theories that reinforce Orientalist approaches to the study of Islam.
This conference, taking place on Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th June 2021, aims to explore how the Decolonising the Curriculum Movement (DCM) at British Universities could enable research and teaching staff to tackle and transcend the aforementioned dynamics present in the study of Muslims and Islam within any discipline in the Humanities and Social Sciences. In so doing, it invites academics to critically explore the politics of engaging in research and teaching on Islam/Muslims at British universities through an exercise of self-reflection on their own research and teaching practises. It also aims to reflect more broadly on the political implications/limitations of producing knowledge about Islam/Muslims in the current socio-political context that differentially in(ex)cludes Muslim voices.
This online conference is free to attend but registration is essential. Click here to register.
This conference will be delivered online via Zoom. Delegates will receive Zoom joining instructions via email 24 hours before the conference begins.
Provisional Programme (all times BST)
Day 1: Tuesday 8th June 2021
13.00 - 13.15: Opening remarks by Rowena Arshad (Professor Emerita, University of Edinburgh)
13.15 - 14.00: KEYNOTE LECTURE
The Decolonial Challenge and Islamic Studies
Salman Sayyid (Professor of Social Theory & Decolonial Thought, University of Leeds)
14.00 - 14.30: Q&A and discussion
14.30 - 15.00: Virtual Comfort Break
15.00 - 16.45: Panel 1
Decolonising Methodologies: Alternative Possibilities
Chair: Ibtihal Ramadan (University of Edinburgh)
- Ajmal Hussain (University of Warwick): (Un)feeling Islamophobia
- Jaan Islam (University of Edinburgh): The Myth of ‘Salafi-Jihadism’: A Critique of the Western-centric Narrative
- Amina Shareef (University of Cambridge): Youth Participatory Action ethnography in the War on Terror
- Halima Rahman (University of Liverpool): “If a woman wants to wear a scarf then that’s her choice – that’s her feminism!"
Day 2: Wednesday 9th June 2021
10.00 - 11.45: Panel 2
Muslim Academics and the Decolonising Ethos: Complexities, Possibilities and Limitations
Chair: Khadijah Elshayyal (Hamid Bin Khalifa Univeristy/University of Edinburgh)
- Haroon Bashir (Markfield Institute of Higher Education) & Omer Aijazi (Brunel University London): Navigating ‘Islam’ in the Academy: Decoloniality, Muslim Subjectivity, and the Limitations of a Category
- Siti Sarah Muwahidah (University of Edinburgh): Decolonializing “Introduction to Islam” Pedagogy: Reversing the Gaze and Cultivating Intersectionality
- Asim Qureshi (CAGE): The Cardinal Sin of the ‘Bad Muslim’: Refusal to Condemn
- Ibtihal Ramadan (University of Edinburgh): Knowledge Production and Scholarly Engagement: The Predicament of good/bad Muslims in the thrust towards Knowledge Conformity
11.45 - 13.30: Virtual Lunch Break
13.30 - 15.15: Panel 3:
Navigating Epistemologies, Critical Reflections and Reflexivity
Chair: Hanane Benadi (University of Edinburgh)
- Chris Allen (University of Leicester): “Do you want to be a test case as the first UK academic accused of disseminating terrorist material online?”: Reflections on teaching terrorism online during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Tarek Younis (University College London): The War on Terror and the Psy-Disciplines: The Challenges in Navigating this Inevitable Union
- Sarah Marusek (University of Leeds): Decolonising knowledge about the Islamicate in the Western academy: An early career researcher’s critical reflection
- Suriyah Bi (University of Edinburgh): Decolonising Muslim Men: Subverting Grand Structures
15.15 - 15.45: Closing remarks by Nasar Meer (Professor of Race, Identity and Citizenship, University of Edinburgh)