March 29-30, 2012
A Two-Day Joint Academic Conference between University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
and the University of Toledo
University of Michigan sponsors include the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies and Islamic Studies Program and from The University of Toledo the Department of Philosophy and the Center for Religious Studies.
THIS CONFERENCE WILL BE WEB STREAMED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF TOLEDO ON THURSDAY AND FRIDAY IN FIELD HOUSE 1050.
The conference will comprise over a dozen academic
presentations by a range of leading specialists as well as emerging young
scholars to address this timely theme. Each paper will be based on original
academic research that combines current analysis of the revolutionary uprisings
in the Middle East and couches them, where relevant, in the long-standing scholarly
conversations on the region. The papers presented at the conference will be
considered for publication in a volume to be co-edited by Drs. Ovamir Anjum
and Abbas Barzegar.
Conference Theme: Despite the
incoherent array of excitement, optimism, and circumspection that public
commentators, policy makers, and academic onlookers have met the Arab Spring,
even at its earliest moments, the question of Islam took center stage and has
consistently remained a topic of speculation. Most forms of the public
conversation rely upon an outmoded and inapplicable dichotomy between
secularism and Islamism, where the central concern becomes the motives and
machinations of “Islamist” political parties. Will Egypt follow the Iranian
model? What will become of women’s rights in Tunisia? Is Turkey the example for
the Muslim Brotherhood? While these questions are not entirely unwarranted,
they do not begin to approach the complexity of the role of Islamic tradition
in the changing Middle East where Islam’s presence is a fait accompli. This
conference challenges the current debate on Islam in the Arab Spring by
bringing together scholars whose areas of expertise not only offer a nuanced
understanding of the geopolitics of the region, but also provide rigorous
conceptual and theoretical insight into the social processes that are set to
shape the emerging social and political culture in the Middle East.
are encouraged to identify social and political practices, cultural and governmental
institutions, and other cultural formations through which Islam—as a discursive
tradition—both influences and is influenced by the contemporary moment. Central
to this collaborative investigation is the role of the state as the ultimate
arbiter of power and simultaneously the contested object of political reform
even as its remains the central platform for the performance of democratic
procedure. Questions to be explored include, but are not limited to:
- Have the revolutionary social conditions—with their attendant
creative politics—in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya yielded identifiable changes in
the popular development and reception of Islamic discourses in the public
- If, as commentators have been arguing now for years that, the
Muslim world has entered a post-Islamist phase, then what is to explain the
continuing viability of political Islamic discourse as seen through electoral
gains? And how can we adequately account for its transformation yet incessant
recourse to tradition?
- As groups such as Ennahda in Tunisia having come to power and the
Muslim Brothers in Egypt may follow suit, do they incorporate the experiences
of Islamic governing projects as seen in Iran, Turkey, and elsewhere? Does this
signal the normalization of Islamic governance in the region?
- What is the effect of late capitalism and liberal economic
policy—which most countries are the Middle East are readily adopting—on the
Islamic discourse of social, political, and cultural change as proposed by
advocates of political Islam?
- In countries like Egypt, Syria and Bahrain where confessional and
sectarian boundaries intersect with national identity, how has the prominence
of nationalist rhetoric both limited and enabled Islamic communitarian and
broad publicity and timely publication of its proceedings, the Islam in the New
Middle East conference hopes to shape the contemporary conversation on Islam
both within the academy and in public discourse towards a more complex level of
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Movements in Post-Revolutionary Egypt"
Nathan Brown, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington UniversityMarch 29, 2012, 5:30 PM,
Hussey Room, The Michigan League,
911 N. University"Arab Spring to Arab Transitions"
Juan Cole, Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History,
The University of Michigan
March 30, 2012, 7:00 - 9:00 PM, Driscoll Auditorium,
2801 Bancroft, University of Toledo