Appel à communications : Panel “Contested Images of Muslims: Global Hegemony, Islamic Worldviews and Fragmented Ideologies”, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Denver, 18-22/11/2015 — LIMITE : 01/03/2015

Organizers: el-Sayed el-Aswad (United Arab Emirates University).

Certain boundaries between religion, global power and the state have been crossed to develop contested images of Muslims as well as to generate particular power oriented ideologies, secular or religious, serving specific groups with differing political agendas.  Global and local forces have in different ways impacted the images of Muslims in both their home societies and diasporic communities. Throughout history, Islam has been the primary foundation of great civilizations.  Those Islamic civilizations, however, have been reduced to fragmented and dependent states by old and new imperial forces, causing distorted, stereotyped or contested images of Muslims entailing humiliation and exoticism and resulting in unrest among Muslims. This is reflected in religious discourses, sermons, religious movements/organizations, uprisings, sectarian conflicts, social media, various websites, and online forums that proliferate images of Sunni versus Shi‘a, Sunni versus Sunni (Salafism/Sufism or Salafims/Muslim Brotherhood) and Shi‘a versus Shi‘a (the Twelver versus Fiver or Zaidi) among other contested images.  These contested images are not static, but undergo constant changes. For instance, in less than one year (June 2012- June 2013) images of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt changed from those of successful representatives of democratic transition into those of terrorists. Several images such as those of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) and those of the jihadists, including women, have unexpectedly emerged in regional and global landscapes. To give another example, unprecedented images of Muslim children as being victims and/or military combatants have garnered global attention and concern.

This interdisciplinary panel attempts to address the following questions. What are the most critical external/global and internal/local forces shaping and reshaping or altering the images of Muslims?  What are the positive and negative aspects of these images? To what extent have Western literature and media normalized or denormalized images of Muslims in both their homeland and their diasporic communities? What is the role of the nation-state in supporting or suppressing particular hegemonic images? To what extent does ideology manufacture gendered images of Muslims?  To what extent do Islamic worldviews and Islamist ideologies generate dissimilar and contested images of Muslims?

Media, historical, political, socio-economic, ethnographic and cross-cultural perspectives addressing certain aspects of the contested images of Muslims are welcome.

Please send an abstract (250 words) along with the title for your proposed paper (by March 1, 2015) to el-Sayed el-Aswad.

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