04 December 2009

CFP: No!: Subjectivity and Agency in Muslim Rights/Rites of Negation

7th Annual Duke-UNC Graduate Islamic Studies Conference, at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA, 27-28 February 2010

Call for papers: "No!: Subjectivity and Agency in Muslim Rights/Rites of Negation"

Graduate students in Islamic Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are now accepting papers for this conference, including such on Muslim political theologies.

Keynote speaker: Kecia Ali (Boston University)

"And when a limit is established, norms and interdictions are not far behind" – Jacques Derrida

The concept and practice of "No!" can establish barriers and break them down. As Georges Bataille explained, "No" can be passive negation or active rebellion. Who gets to refuse and how they do so involves subjectivity – ways in which individuals relate to themselves and the other. The act of negation enacts the affirmation of possible alternatives. Such acts range from Satan's refusal to bow before Adam to a wife's legal inability to refuse her husband's sexual overtures in Muslim jurisprudence. In ordinary life, individuals enunciate negation through multiple media, including expressions of tact and satire. In politics, the state expresses its agency by codifying certain political ideologies, while individuals actualize their agency by negating or affirming them. Practices of negation, refusal, and dissent both constitute and are constituted by subjectivity and society. This connection has often been overlooked in recent studies of Islam.

Therefore, the organizers of this conference welcome diverse approaches to examine negation, agency, and the subject in the study of classical, medieval, and contemporary Islamicate contexts. They are particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches to this theme with regards to Muslim political theologies, Islamic textual canons, and Muslim minorities, including those of gender, sexuality, race, and class.

In addition to formal papers, they also welcome films related to theme of the conference.

Possible paper/film topics may include: Refusal or appropriation of normative categories of gender and sexuality; Approaches to difference in Muslim intellectual history; The construction of Sunni and Shi'a theology through mutual refusal; The role of dissent in contemporary Muslim politics; Rejection of Arabized Muslim identity; Negation as a hermeneutical tool in the construction of authority in jurisprudential methodology; Re-defining collective Muslim narratives and representations; Appropriation or negation of legal rulings through the utilization of objectives of Islamic law; Annihilating the self in Sufism; Muslim dissent as political threat; Asceticism and martyrdom as socio-political refusal in early Sufism; Disavowal of Muslim minorities; Refusing racial categories within Islam; Turns from Ash'arite theological hegemony in contemporary Sunnism; Appropriations and negations of the Muslim past in contemporary apologetic discourses.

The conference will proceed in an interactive workshop format. Those invited to present papers are asked to remain for the duration of the conference in order to engage the work of fellow participants.

To apply, please send a proposal of no more than 500 words (double spaced), the paper title, and your Curriculum Vitae to: dukeuncconf@gmail.com

Deadline for submissions: 15 December 2009

Organizers: Brandon Gorman (Department of Sociology, UNC-Chapel Hill), Matthew Hotham (Department of Religious Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill), Nadia Khan (Department of Religion, Duke University), Ali Altaf Mian (Department of Religion, Duke University), and Saadia Yacoob (Department of Religion, Duke University)

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