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Cambridge Interfaith Programme

 

Seeing Muslimness is an interdisciplinary conference for scholars, researchers, and practitioners.

The main organiser at Cambridge is Madiha Noman—a PhD student in the Faculty of English and affiliate of the Cambridge Interfaith Research Forum—acting in partnership with Abdul Sabur Kidwai of King’s College London. Here is their call for papers:

Seeing, whether through the lens of perception or representation, plays a pivotal role in shaping our understanding of the world and of those who inhabit it. Within this web of visual perception, knowledge construction, and power dynamics, we take ‘Muslimness’ as a focal point at which various modes of seeing converge, intersect, and often clash. This inquiry encompasses a study of ‘Muslimness’ as expressed in literature, film, culture, architecture, food, animal studies, fashion, and more broadly, as ‘presence’ in physical digital and spectral forms.

The act of seeing goes beyond mere observation; it influences our perception, understanding, and further representation of Muslimness. These modes of seeing, whether they be oppressive, digital, communal, individual, self-perpetuating, or self-fulfilling, create discursive notions of authenticity, representation, and self-fashioning within Muslim communities. We seek to explore the multifaceted dimensions of seeing, presenting, and representing Muslimness and its profound impact on being.

Building on scholarship that considers Muslimness as a plural and heterogenous social category, we aim to query what epistemological hierarchies determine how Muslimness is seen, shown and performed. What are the affective responses to Muslimness, and how do they manifest? In other words, what does Muslimness do, and what does seeing Muslimness do.

We invite scholars, researchers, and practitioners from across disciplines and genres to unpack these complex ways of seeing Muslimness and question its forms, formations and transformations. We welcome interdisciplinary perspectives from scholars engaged in fields such as cultural studies, sociology, anthropology, media & film studies, digital humanities, literature, and architecture. Potential paper topics include but are not limited to:

  • Gaze, surveillance, and stereotyping
  • Ideas of ‘Muslimness’ in animals, the supernatural, and the extra-human
  • Digital/Physical Visual symbols in local, vernacular and global contexts
  • Built and Digital Infrastructures
  • Muslimness in Everyday Life: personal and communal experiences.
  • Cross-border and cross-cultural Muslimness: Diasporic and migrational perspectives
  • Politics of unseeing, exclusion, and erasure
  • Politics of secularization
  • Violence (material and non-material)
  • Digital Activism
  • The Spectacle and the Narrative in art, media and popular culture
  • Muslimness in/as Environmentalism
  • Humanist and Posthumanist Perspectives

Abstracts of up to 300 words together with a brief biography can be submitted via the organisers’ Google form. The conference will be in-person.

Deadline for submissions: 30 April 2024 | Notification for final acceptance: May 15 2024

Conference schedule and further information

This is a two-day conference. Participants will be required to be present in Cambridge to attend.

Day 1 comprises a traditional conference with paper followed by Q&A, plus a book reading session and a keynote lecture.

Day 2 features a roundtable discussion, inviting Muslims engaged in creative industries to reflect on the processes of how the constructions of identity operate. It also welcomes both the public and academics to engage in discussions regarding the intricate intersections of identity within creative art forms.

Further information including the schedule and information for non-speaking delegates will be published on the CRASSH website in due course. View the dedicated conference web pages (via crassh.cam.ac.uk)

Queries should be directed to seeing.muslimness@gmail.com

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