Most of the world’s Muslim population lives in Asia, but to date this important region continues to be underrepresented in studies of contemporary Islam. Contemporary Muslim leaders across Asia confront major changes in their diverse socio-political environments, experiencing varying degrees of democratization, the rise of populist religious movements, and the (re-) assertion of autocratic rule. Within these contexts, Muslim religious leaders face complex questions regarding how to exercise authority in the public sphere. This workshop will develop a nuanced assessment of the developing roles of Muslim religious leaders (ulama) in modern Asia, pursued through contextualized studies of social, legal and political dynamics of Islamic religious leadership in diverse Asian contexts. In doing so, it will address questions including, but not limited to:
• How do ulama and their religious organizations engage with electoral politics?
• What is the involvement of ulama and their religious organizations with political parties, politicians and the state bureaucracy?
• How are political activities undertaken by ulama and their religious organizations regulated by the state?
• What are the public perceptions of religious leaders who participate in politics?
• What are the potential consequences of ulama involvement in politics? How does their involvement in political activities bolster or compromise their spiritual and communal roles?
We invite those interested in participating in the workshop to submit original paper proposals which should include a title, an abstract of 250 words, a short biography of 100-150 words, and should be submitted using the Paper Proposal Submission Form (found on the main webpage). Please submit your proposal to Sharon Ong at email@example.com by 1 July 2011. Papers that have been selected will be notified by 1 August 2011. If accepted, the full paper must be submitted by 30 September 2011. Participants are encouraged to seek funding for travel from their home institutions. However, a limited number of travel grants will be available for the participants.
Dr Jeremy KINGSLEY (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
Assoc Prof Michael FEENER (email@example.com)
Asia Research Institute and Department of History, National University of Singapore
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