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When Mar 13, 2015 - Mar 14, 2015
Where Queen's University
Submission Deadline Jan 25, 2015
Notification Due Jan 31, 2015

Call For Papers

Religious and Political Transformations in Muslim Societies

Keynote Speakers: Prof. Asef Bayat & Abdolkarim Soroush

Interdisciplinary International Conference
13-14 March 2015

Kingston, Ontario, Canada

The end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s witnessed major transformation globally. The Cold War, which had so definitively shaped world politics since World War II (1939–45), came to an end. At the end of the Cold War period, Olivier Roy in his The Failure of Political Islam (1994, original French 1992) argued that Islamists’ strategy to advance their agenda through capturing state power had failed. Since then, Asef Bayat has tried to explain and conceptualize a new emerging political, religious and social trend in Muslim societies after Islamists’ failure to establish an Islamic state based on Shari’a law. In his Post-Islamism: The Changing Faces of Political Islam, Bayat discusses the emergence of this new trend, which he calls “post-Islamism” and shows how the “post-Islamist turn” can be observed within a considerable number of Muslim societies in which Islamism no longer seems appealing, even to its original supporters.

Post-Islamism, as defined by Bayat, “represents an endeavour to fuse religiosity and rights, faith and freedom, Islam and liberty.” It emphasizes “rights instead of duties, plurality in place of a singular authoritative voice, historicity rather than fixed scriptures, and the future instead of the past.” However, post-Islamism is not an end of Islamism but rather a transformation of the Islamist experience in politics and of its political discourse. According to Roy, Islamism can be characterized as seeking to “capture the State” and invoke Islam onto the people via a top-down approach by emphasizing conformity, monopoly of religious truth and obligations. On the other hand, Bayat claims that post-Islamism does not use this strategy. Bayat’s work in post-Islamism has left a great imprint in the field alongside Roy.

Within this framework, the “Islamism and Post-Islamism” conference examines the evolution and the changing faces of what is commonly called political Islam. It will particularly examine the Islamist understanding of politics, Islamist political parties and movements, the debate on Islam and liberal democracy, Islamists and human rights, social movements and protests in Muslim societies, Islamists and political economy, the concept of post-Islamism and the emerging notion of neo-Islamism in the wake of the Arab Spring and ISIS. Therefore, papers may address, but are not limited to, one or more of the following topics:

-Islamism and the Question of the Religious and the Political
-Nation-State Formation, Sovereignty and Islamists
-The Evolution of Islamism as a Political Strategy
-Cold-War and Islamic Socialism & Marxism
-Radical Islamism and the Uses of Jihad
-Islamic States and Top-Down Islamization
-Political Economy of Islamism and Islamic Banks
-Arab Spring, Muslim Brotherhood and Democratization
-Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracies
-Islamists and the Question of Women & Sexuality
-The Green Movement in Iran and the Hizmet Movement of Gülen in Turkey
-Alternative Islamist Socio-Political Projects: Anti-Capitalist Muslims
-Social Movements and Protests in Muslim Societies
-Civil Religion, Official Religion and Folk Religion
-Concept of Post-Islamism
-Emergence of Neo-Islamism in the Post-Arab Spring


Paper proposals that clearly adhere to the conference topics should be e-mailed to Professor Mehmet Karabela ( no later than January 25, 2015. Please keep your proposal under 300 words and send it either as an attachment or in the e-mail body. Include the title of your paper, an abstract, your name and affiliation. Both English and French-language proposals are acceptable. Notification of selected proposals will be sent out by January 31, 2015. Please note: there is no registration fee and the conference is open to everyone.

PUBLICATION: Edited Volume on Islamism and Post-Islamism

Selected papers will be published in an edited volume by a prestigious press. Therefore, we welcome original and quality contributions from researchers working in a wide scale of disciplines ranging from history to sociology, religious studies to political science, and women’s studies to economic history. Senior and emerging scholars, recent Ph.D. recipients and graduate students whose research rest on the conference topic’s scope are highly encouraged to send their proposals.

For ACADEMIC Inquiries:

Professor Mehmet Karabela
School of Religion
Queen's University
Theological Hall Room 230
Kingston, Ontario, Canada, K7L 3N6
Phone: (613) 533-6000 ext 74313

For EVENT & MEDIA Inquiries:

Cheryl O'Shea
School of Religion
Queen's University
Theological Hall Room 213
Phone: (613) 533-2109

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