Appel à communications : 43nd Annual Conference of the North American Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies (NAAIMS), “The Concept of Authority in Muslim Societies: Political, Religious, Social and Literary”, Columbia University, New York (Etats-Unis), 20/09/2014 — LIMITE : 28/04/2014

43nd Annual Conference of the
North American Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies (NAAIMS)

“The Concept of Authority in Muslim Societies:
Political, Religious, Social and Literary”

Cosponsored By:
The Middle East Institute
Columbia University, New York, NY

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Abstracts: April 28, 2014
Final Papers: August 23, 2014

Based on a strict dictionary definition, authority is the power or right to control, judge, or prohibit the actions of others. Since the colonial era, political, economic, social and familial authority has been in flux, constituting some of the foundational crises of Muslims in the contemporary era. Social movements, women’s rights organizations, and Islamic family law reforms have challenged the authority of established forms of power in Muslim-majority nations from Morocco to Egypt over the past few decades. The rise of Islamist parties in the aftermath of the Arab Spring has brought new attention to the issue of Shari’a and its relevance to governance. What formal structure legitimizes the concept of authority in fiqh-based knowledge? What is the difference between Qur’anic or shari’a-based maqasid (objectives). The role of religion in governance has become a focal point in regimes that have emerged post ‘Arab Spring’. How is social and political authority determined in Muslim-majority nations like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Syria where authority is either in question or fluctuating? How is authority determined in Muslim-minority communities in the West? By studying the many manifestations of authority, this conference seeks to understand how and when it is exercised for good or for ill.

We invite a diverse range of papers from professors and advanced Ph.D. candidates in the humanities and social sciences that address the following sub-themes:

  • Concept of Authority in Qur’an and Sunnah
  • Concept of Authority in Fiqh
  • Authority and Authoritarianism
  • Political Authority
  • Authority in an Ideal Society
  • Authority and Legitimacy
  • Authority and Justice
  • Case Studies: Political or Religious Authority in Muslim-Majority Societies
  • Gendered Authority & Patriarchy
  • Female Authority: Religious, Family and Social
  • Ethnographies: Authority in Family, Village, or State Organizations
  • Authority in Contemporary Novels and Poems
  • New Forms of Authority in the 21st Century: Technological Age of the Internet
  • Historical Studies of Authority in Muslim Dynasties: Umayyad/Abbasid/Safavid, etc
  • Challenging Authority: Youth and Women’s Social Movements
  • Muslim Minority Communities in Europe and North America

Abstracts (250 words) are due by April 28, 2014:

Only abstracts from professors and from advanced Ph.D. candidates will be considered. Abstracts will be evaluated according to the following categories: originality of theme, clear data and methodology, clarity and relevance of the proposal to the conference theme, and contribution to the conference theme. Final papers must be submitted by August 23, 2014.

Program panelists are required to preregister and pay non-refundable conference fees by

May 31, 2014.

Program Chair:

Professor Lila Abu-Lughod, Columbia University, New York, NY

Send abstracts and final papers to Director of Academic Affairs, Layla Sein, at



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