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28.09.2019 13:13 Alter: 18 days

Islam and Humanitarianism


Call for Papers

Theme: Islam and Humanitarianism
Subtitle: Interdisciplinary Inquiries on Islamic Forms of Aid
Type: International Conference
Institution: Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies, George
Mason University
Location: Fairfax, VA (USA)
Date: 1.–2.11.2019
Deadline: 30.9.2019


Humanitarianism has long been understood and approached as a secular
endeavor that has roots in modern Western traditions of liberalism
and cosmopolitanism. Efforts by various Muslim actors to provide aid
have often been looked down upon as particularistic or even
missionary undertakings with hidden political agendas that are
completely caught up in local and regional geopolitical interests.
Even in less condescending accounts, assistance by Muslim actors have
been framed as merely localized charity or philanthropy targeting
extreme poverty. In the last decade, the rapid growth of the
influence of transnational and local Muslim actors who actively
participate in the global humanitarian sector as a response to
massive displacement and refugee crises in many parts of the world
invites us to reconsider Islamic forms of aid as more than mere
charity. In addition to the emergence of transnational organizations
such as Islamic Relief as major global actors in humanitarian
assistance, many local organizations led by Muslims have increasingly
been making claims to being recognized as humanitarian actors who
could care for and help all human beings regardless of faith, race,
gender, or any other such consideration.

This conference proposes an interdisciplinary framework for unpacking
the link between Islam and humanitarianism in ways that recognize
both the significance of geopolitics, policy-making, and
transnational partnerships and the lived experiences of giving and
receiving help that are articulated in diverse contexts of suffering.
It proposes a nuanced study of Islamic humanitarianism using an
intersectional approach, i.e., the multifaceted ways in which
categories such as state, race, nationalism, sectarianism, class,
gender, space, and age shape the ways in which Islam interacts with
humanitarianism.

It will bring together scholars from diverse disciplines of social
sciences and humanities to discuss empirical, historical, and
conceptual issues related to these matters and their potentially
far-reaching implications. Putting into conversation rigorous
research focusing on different parts of the globe, we plan to address
following themes:

1. Defining and Conceptualizing “Islamic” Humanitarianism:

Which Muslim political and social actors claim to be humanitarian, in
what contexts, and to what effects? How do they understand terms such
as “the human,” “humanity,” or “humanitarianism?” In what ways do
their practices of humanitarian aid differ from other practices of
charity work and civil society activities? What analytical frameworks
can we develop to understand Islamic cosmologies, genealogies, or
theologies of aid, help, and humanness? What theories and concepts
can we employ to interpret Islamic forms of humanitarianism?

2. Historical Cases and Islamic Cosmologies of Aid:

What are the specific historical settings in which Islam has been
invoked as a major point of reference to encourage giving? What types
of historical processes have informed the emergence and
transformation of Islamic discourses of giving in different parts of
the world? In what ways have diverse political and economic actors in
imperial and nation-state regimes become involved in practices of
giving and aid, particularly in situations of wars and displacement?
How do different interpretations of Islam such as Sufism historically
inform Islamic practices of giving? In what ways do diverse
historical actors frame the relationship between religion/faith and
humanitarianism?

3. Contextualizing Muslim Humanitarians in Globalized World:

How do broader histories of colonialism, imperialism, the war on
terror, modernization, and development shape the emergence of Muslim
humanitarian actors and policies? How do current global and regional
histories of violence, war, and displacement inform Islamic
cosmologies of aid? How does the local politics of Muslim aid
intersect with transnational processes such as capitalism,
nationalism, and authoritarianism? What types of collaborations exist
between diverse groups of secular and Islamic humanitarian actors
ranging from the UN to local mosques? How do transnational and local
NGOs participate in this process of collaboration?

4. Everyday Politics of Humanitarianism by Muslims:

How do analytical categories such as class, race, and gender shape
everyday practices of humanitarianism by Muslims? How is power
distributed among different actors in everyday life and to what
effects? Can we speak of Islamic humanitarian expertise? If so, what
types of claims to universalism and moral authority are enacted in
the process? What types of existing hierarchies are reinforced and
what new hierarchies are formed within complex processes of giving
and taking? What is the conversation between secular and Islamic
discourses in everyday life of humanitarianism? How do Muslim actors
draw upon secular and religious vocabularies of humanitarianism in
their everyday work?

Submissions should include:
- A 250-300 word abstract
- A 2 page max CV/Resume

Submissions should be emailed to Conference Convener Dr. Yasemin
Ipek, Asst. Professor, GMU Global Affairs Program: yipek@gmu.edu

Timeline:

Submission Deadline: September 22, 2019
Notification of selected papers: September 29, 2019
Submission of Final Papers: October 24, 2019

The Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason
University will host the Conference at George Mason University’s
Fairfax Campus. Participants are expected to arrange and cover their
own travel and accommodation expenses.


Contact:

Dr. Yasemin Ipek
Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies
George Mason University
4400 University Drive, MSN 1H3
Fairfax, VA 22030
USA
Email: yipek@gmu.edu
Web:
https://www.themaydan.com/2019/08/cfa-islam-and-humanitarianism-interdisciplinary-inquiries-on-islamic-forms-of-aid/