call for papers

Shifting Boundaries: The Study of Islam in the Humanities
April 11th-12, 2015 | Burlington, VT

Call for Papers

Attacks on the humanities as viable and valuable have become widespread in recent years. Despite these growing critiques, the study of Islam is benefitting from incorporating a variety of disciplinary and cross-disciplinary approaches in humanities; in turn the study of Islam has pushed the boundaries of critical theory and its applications and created greater opportunities for scholars to connect humanistic inquiry with issues of global relevance. The result has been an increase in the breadth and depth of our understandings of how expressions of Islam have operated in society. The goal of the conference is to reflect on the role study of Islam plays in ongoing developments in humanities research, as well as critiques of “humanities” more broadly.

We seek dynamic papers that connect Islamic Studies–which we define as broadly as possible–to broader critical concerns in the humanities and related social sciences. We are especially interested in papers that address or engage critical cultural studies and issues of the academy (metanarratives about studying Islam that incorporate theoretical concerns, the value of the humanities, or issues of pedagogy). We also welcome papers that address the broad categorical study of Islam; aspects of Muslim life, “culture,” or practice; or Islamicate literatures or histories.

Topics may include:

  • “the death of humanities:” contributions to or critiques of the humanities from the perspective of Islamic Studies
  • “state of the discipline:” where Islamic Studies stands (historically, popularly, critically)
  • insider/outsider issues in constructing narratives of Islam
  • engagement with gender and post-colonial theories
  • Muslim literatures (political, novels, poetic, memoir, etc.)
  • issues of digitality (social media, accessibility of sources, internet Islams, etc.)

We acknowledge that just as Islamic Studies is not a monolith, neither are the humanities. We welcome scholars who engage in critical inquiry in what are traditionally understood as humanities fields and disciplines, which includes but is not necessarily limited to: religious studies, ethics, art history, linguistics, philosophy, literature, as well as those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods in fields such as anthropology, sociology, geography, and area studies.

Keynote Events

The Shifting Boundaries: The Study of Islam in the Humanities conference will span two days, and feature two keynote events. We warmly welcome Juliane Hammer (UNC-Chapel Hill) as a distinguished keynote speaker; Dr. Hammer will address both theoretical and practical concerns facing Islamic Humanities, as a professor, theorist, ethnographer, and current co-chair of the Study of Islam Section at the American Academy of Religion. We will also feature a keynote panel, highlighting scholars across various disciplines in humanities and social sciences and their approaches to research as well as broader discussions about disciplinary contours that shape the(ir) study of Islam. The panel highlights regional strengths in Islamic studies, broadly defined. It will feature Professors A. Kevin Reinhart (Dartmouth); Bogac Ergene (UVM); Ata Anzali (Middlebury); and Sajida Jalalzai (St. Michael’s College).

Proposal Deadlines

  • Abstracts (250 words) and proposals (no more than 1,000 words) are requested by November 30, 2014.
  • Acceptances will be sent by mid-December.
  • Full papers are expected by March 15, 2014.

Please email your abstract and proposal in .pdf format to