Islam Asia Modernity Conference

May 5-8, 2005

Walker Ames Room, Kane Hall - University of Washington campus

8:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Sponsored by the Henry M. Jackson School at the University of Washington

On May 5-8, 2005, the Jackson School of International Studies’ Asia Centers will be holding an open conference and symposium on

Islam, Asia, Modernity at the University of Washington, Seattle campus. This exciting event will bring together preeminent scholars and public intellectuals from Asia, Europe, and the United States to share their expertise about the changing practices and politics of Asian Islam. The conference will consist of a public lecture by the cultural theorist Ziauddin Sardar, two days of panel discussions, and a pedagogy workshop for invited advanced graduate students preparing to teach about Islam in Asia.

The academic symposium examines how the changing practices and politics of Asian Islam are studied, documented, taught, and represented in the academy and the media and how these practices affect politics, society, and culture in Muslim Asia. Each panel will consist of three scholars, each of whom will present Asia and the aspects and impacts of Islamic practice there.

Panel 1: Islam, Asia, Modernity

This panel seeks to re-frame some of the debates about Islamic encounters with modernity, or the modernity of Islamic political, social, and/ or cultural movements, in the specific context of current discussions of globalization and post-cold war transformations of economic, political, and cultural relations. It examines how different Muslim people’s different ‘locations’ (both territorial and within socio-political hierarchies) in Asia, and Muslim subjects’ encounters with the universalistic claims of global interactions (including those concerned with the creation and management of Islam as a singular, rather than plural, tradition) inflect and transform the experience of ‘being Muslim’. We ask speakers to specifically comment on how the analytical language of their area studies specialty frames the ways that they theorize the universalistic claims of ‘Islam’, of ‘global society’, of the ‘citizen’, the ‘neo-liberal subject’, etc. from a particular place.

  • Central Asia: Azade-Ayse Rorlich “Whither the Umma? Community, Identity, and Empire: The Muslims of Late Imperial Russia
  • South Asia: David Lelyveld "Sir Sayyid's Enigma of Arrival: Empire and the Realm of the Secular"

  • South East Asia: Norani Othman: “Ulama, Women's Rights, Muslim Laws and the Islamic State in Malaysia

  • Discussant: Clark Lombardi
  • Chair: Kent Guy

Panel 2: Gender, Sexuality, and the Body in Asian Muslim Societies

This panel explores the constructions of gender and practices of sexuality in contemporary Muslim societies in Asia by focusing on the body as both a central site of the production of Islamic subjectivity (a site of regulated practice through which Muslims ritually produce themselves as conscious members of the temporal and spatial community of Islam) and as a central site of modern political rule (a primary regulatory site of the modern state and the seminal bearer of political messages). Panel participants will speak about the ordering and regulation of the practices and/ or values of gender and discuss how these practices and values are framed not only by supposed ‘Islamist’ legalist proscriptions on men and women, but also by re-workings of Muslim and Asian cultural values and the cultural, social, and political organization and regulation of bodily desire and pleasure.

  • Central Asia: Marianne Kamp: “Gender, Bodies, and Deference: Reproducing Hierarchy in Central Asia
  • South Asia: Huma Haq: “Majlis: A Discourse Analysis of a Shiite Ritual in Pakistan”

  • East Asia: Maria Jaschok: “‘Purity’ (jie) and the Muslim Body Politic: Women’s Mosques, Gate-Keeping and Gender Equality in Central China’s Hui Muslim Communities”

  • Discussant: Chandan Reddy

  • Chair: Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan

Panel 3: Islamic Arts and National Cultures

This panel explores the relationship between arts and artistic traditions which are specifically framed as ‘Islamic’ in relationship to those framed as ‘national’. How has the formulation of ‘Islamic arts’ changed in the context of national cultural projects (including shifting practices of patronage, support, and the dissemination of popular cultures) in particular national states? How do ‘Islamic’ artistic traditions, implicitly or explicitly, challenge or support attempts to formulate a national ‘cultural’ identity distinct from a regional one, or challenge the predominant orientations of that ‘region’?

  • Central Asia: Elmira Köchümkulkizi: “Reforming Kyrgyz Islam: Nomadic Customs vs.Islamic Shari’a”
  • South East Asia: Endo Suanda: “National and Regional Arts: Translating Islam into Local Cultures in Indonesia
  • Discussant: Francisco B. Benitez
  • Chair: Dan Waugh

Panel 4: The Crisis of Masculine Identities in Post Soviet and Post 9-11 Muslim Asia

In the past decade, war, political reconfigurations, and expanding multinational entrepreneurship have brought Islamic masculine identity to a crisis. This panel addresses the causes and conditions of this crisis and the politics of representation surrounding internationalized perceptions of Islamic manhood. How do particular groups of men who identify themselves as Muslim react to hostile images of which associate Islamic masculinity with terrorism and or the repression of Muslim women? What are the effects of the resulting constraints on masculine mobility in the domains of family and public life? In the context of the crisis of masculinity and increasing pressure from global governance organizations [U.N., Global Partnership for Women, etc.], how does the call for women’s liberation bring into being new configurations of Islamic masculine identities?

  • Central Asia: Jakob Rigi: “Muslim Masculinity in post-Soviet Space after 9/11: Money, State, War and Masculinity”
  • South Asia: Nazif Shahrani: Modern States, Governance and Crisis of Muslim Masculinity in Southwestern and Central Asia
  • South East Asia: Ulil Abshar Abdalla

  • Discussant: Carlo Bonura

  • Chair: Tani Barlow

Panel 5: Education and Islamic Legal Subjects in Asia

Conceiving of ‘education’ in the broadest possible sense (the regulated practice of socialization, as a policy of the modern state, the production of informed citizens, the disciplining of proper moral subjects, etc.) this panel examines the ways in which Muslims learn to be ‘Islamic’ legal subjects as constituted by either Islamic, national, or international legal practices. In this panel Shari’ia, Muslim civil code, international human rights law, and the regulation of practices seen as either obligatory or forbidden from Islamic, national, or international perspectives, might be taken up from different positions and examined ways in which the salience of Muslim political identities are actively produced in Asian societies.

  • South Asia: Imtiaz Ahmed: “Public Education and the Reproduction of ReligiousIntolerance: The Case of Bangladesh

  • East Asia: Gardner Bovingdon: “Islamic Subjects in School: The End of Faith-Based Initiative?”

  • Discussant: Kristen Stilt

  • Chair: Steve Hanson

Panel 6: Asian Islam and the Politics of Knowledge

  • Central Asia: Ali F. Igmen: How Does the March 2005 Revolution in Kyrgyzstan Transform the Discussion of Islam for the Historians of Central Asia?”

  • South Asia: Partha Chatterjee

  • South East Asia: Sumit Mandal “‘Moderate’ and ‘Extreme’ Islam in Southeast Asia: Origins and Contemporary Relevance”

  • Discussant: Cabeiri Robinson

  • Chair: Laurie Sears

Home Page
Continuing Activities
Evaluation Summary
Conference Panels
Speaker Biographies
Paper Abstracts
Pedagogy Workshop