U.Va. Holds Conference on 'Islamic Traditions and Comparative Modernities'

September 10, 2009

September 10, 2009 — The University of Virginia's departments of Religious Studies and South Asian Languages and Cultures will cosponsor the Association of Muslim Social Scientists of North America annual conference Sept. 25 and 26.

The event, "Islamic Traditions and Comparative Modernities," is free to all U.Va. students and faculty, but registration is required. For all others, registration is $135 and $35 for non-U.Va. students for all activities. To register, visit www.amss.org.

The Association of Muslim Social Scientists is dedicated to bringing together Muslim and non-Muslim scholars to examine and define Islamic perspectives on issues of global concern that contribute to the prosperity of Muslims around the globe and the betterment of humanity.

Abdulaziz A. Sachedina, a U.Va. professor of religious studies, and association president Ali A. Mazrui, a Binghamton University professor of political science, will give welcoming and opening remarks Sept. 25 at 9 a.m., in the auditorium of the Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections Library.

"The goal of the conference is to explore the shifts in the ways Islamic tradition has interacted with modernity to respond to its secular and rational challenges," Sachedina said.

"The presenters carry the responsibility of demonstrating conceptual and methodological shifts that allow us to engage both plurality of Muslim tradition and appropriation of different modes of modernity to make sense of the drastic changes that are visible in all fields of human cultural and political engagement," he added.

U.Va. professor of politics William Quandt will give the keynote address, "Obama's Approach to the Muslim World: What Lies Behind the Change in Rhetoric," at a luncheon at the Cavalier Inn, to be held Sept. 25 at 11:15 a.m.

At a Sept. 26 luncheon at the the Cavalier Inn, scheduled for 12:15 p.m., Helena Cobban, author and publisher of JustWorldNews.org, will give a talk based on her book "Re-Engage! American and the World After Bush."

Over the course of the two-day conference, seven panel presentations and discussions focusing on Islamic traditions and the Islamic world today will be led by religion, politics and history experts.

All of the panels will take place in the auditorium of the the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture and the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library

The schedule:

Sept. 25

• Panel 1, 9:30-11 a.m., "Islam and the West"
Discussant: Cynthia Hoehler-Fatton, U.Va.
Chair: Ali A. Mazrui, Binghamton University
Presenters: Alan Godlas, University of Georgia; Aliaa Dakroury, Carleton University, Canada; Junaid S. Ahmad, University of Cape Town, South Africa

• Panel 2, 2:30-4 p.m., "Islam and the Media"
Discussant: Daniel Lefkowitz, U.Va.
Chair: Michelle D. Byng, Temple University
Presenters: Mahmoud Eid and Hossain Ali, University of Ottawa, Canada; Mahmoud Baroud, University of Sydney, Australia; Mucahit Bilici, City University of New York

• Panel 3 4:15-5:45 p.m., "Relation Between Religious and Secular in Islam"
Discussant: Elizabeth Thompson, U.Va.
Chair: Saeed A. Khan, Wayne State University
Presenters: Carrie Konold, University of Michigan; Ehsan Moghaddas, University of Tehran; Judith Rahima Jensen, Educational Solutions, Klamath Falls, Ore.

Sept. 26

• Panel 4, 9-10:30 a.m., "Islamic Revivalism and Modernity"
Discussant: Ahmed H. al-Rahim, U.Va.
Chair: Juliane Hammer, George Mason University
Presenters: Ermin Sinanovic, U.S. Naval Academy; Jacquelene Brinton, Davidson (N.C.) College; Marianne Farina, Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley, Calif.

• Panel 5, 10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m., "Islamic Literary Hermeneutics"
Discussant: Abdulaziz A. Sachedina, U.Va.
Chair: Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, writer and poet, India
Presenters: Hanadi Al-Samman, U.Va.; Alireza Korangy, U.Va.; Khaled Troudi, University of Exeter, U.K.

• Panel 6, 2:15 – 3:45 p.m., "Cultural Identity and Islam"
Discussant: Mazen Hashem, California State University, Northridge
Chair: Zakyi Ibrahim, California State University, Fullerton
Presenters: Mumtaz Ahmad, Hampton University; Cemil Aydin, George Mason University; Richard J. Cohen, U.Va.

• Panel 7, 4–5:30 p.m., "Public Role of Muslim Women"
Discussant: Hanadi Al-Samman, U.Va.
Chair: Katherine Bullock, University of Toronto, Canada
Presenters: Noor Mohammad Osmani, International Islamic University, Malaysia; Abu Umar Faruq Ahmad, Sule College, Sydney, Australia; Md. Yousuf Ali, International Islamic University, Malaysia; Juliane Hammer, George Mason University; Norbani Binti Ismail, International Islamic University, Malaysia.

Conference registration information and schedule are available at www.amss.org or by e-mailing conferences@amss.org.

— By Jane Ford