Iqbal Centre for the Study of Contemporary Islam

Critical Muslim Studies Workshop

Critical Muslim Studies and Decolonial ‘Methodologies’ Workshop: A Practical Guide

Centre for Ethnicity & Racism Studies
Iqbal Centre for the Study of Contemporary Islam
Sadler Seminar Series

University of Leeds, Friday 9 March 2018, 14:00-17:30

Critical Muslim Studies.
Rationale: Starting points and ways forward:

This workshop focuses on Critical Muslim Studies not as a critique of positivism and Eurocentrism but rather as to what to do after that critique.

• What are the epistemological and methodological implications of the de-centring of the West?
• What kind of conceptual tools are adequate to a world in which the centrality of the Western enterprise can no longer be uncritically assured?
• Given the extent to which intellectual disciplines emerge in the context of Western centrality, what does the de-centring of the West mean for analytical tools forged in the smithy of European global domination?
• Can such tools adequately capture a post-Western world?

Questions such as these are already a staple of decolonial debates of various stripes. This workshop builds upon the validity of the questions and critiques already rehearsed, to explore further the possibilities of a decolonial method or approach.

Structure and Format:
The workshop is divided into three thematic sessions. Each session comprises an introduction to the theme by the facilitators (20-30 mins) followed by full participative discussion. Workshop discussions will also engage with and draw upon a few selected readings. Participants are requested to read these in advance of the meeting, and prepare some points for an introductory presentation based on one of the readings (details below).

I. Introduction. Getting Started
14:00-15:00 Session 1. Why do Critical Muslim Studies?
Activity based session. For this session participants are asked to read the introductory editorial of ReOrient: Journal of Critical Muslim Studies (see below) and select one point from this CMS manifesto for presentation: put the point in your own words, explain its significance, reflect on how it is pertinent to your own research and approach.

II Explorations. What are the political and theoretical presuppositions embedded in academic categories through which “Islam”, the “West”, and politics are often conceptualized, and how do we go beyond them?

15:00- 16:00 Session 2. Critical Muslim Studies: What is in a Name?
Why do we need Critical Muslim Studies? In the session, we present the case for its necessity and its genealogy. What is a Muslim in CMS- an example or a subject. How does CMS work across histories and geographies?

16:00-17:00 Session 3. Decolonial: Histories, Genealogies, and Methodologies
What practices need to be followed to feel confident that one is engaging in Critical Muslim Studies? Is a decolonial conceptual toolkit possible?

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