This conference will critically analyze the content and appeal of the notion of a global Islamic community of faith through an explicitly comparative and interdisciplinary approach. Historically, the concept of a transnational Islamic community has been inconsistent, but has been meaningful to followers and deployed by religious leaders at particular moments in and under particular conditions. The idea is now current again, used by critics of Islam to describe a transnational and unitary Islamic threat. While this project joins critical analyses of that perspective in arguing that such representations essentialize religious and political identities into a monolithic Other, we nonetheless argue that the increasing appeal of the idea of a global Islamic community among some believers merits analysis. Through scholarship situated in a diverse mix of national, cultural and historical settings, this conference will analyze the allure of the concept of a global Islamic community at the margins of and outside of the Middle East. The project includes faculty from multiple disciplines on the University of Colorado campus and a selection of esteemed outside scholars.
The conference is organized by Ruth Mas and Carla Jones, and is funded by an Innovative Seed Grant from the University of Colorado, and by the Center for Asian Studies.