Unsettling Colonial Modernity: Islamicate Contexts in Focus
University of Alberta April 24-25, 2015
Keynote speakers: Dr. Sherene Razack*, Dr. Parin Dossa**
The late-19th century acceleration of European colonialism in the Middle East and North Africa gave rise to a range of cultural, sociopolitical, and socioeconomic projects seeking to restructure Islamicate societies after modern Europe. Such Eurocentric projects were predominantly advanced through subordinating Islamicate traditions, cultures, and identities. This traumatic historical experience evokes the image of a Muslim other laid on the Procrustean bed of European modernity; Islamicate traditions, cultures, and identities were either stretched out of shape or sawed off so that they would fit the hegemonic conception of modernity.
This homogenizing conception of modernity, however, has faced serious challenges from within and without its European bedrock. Critics have problematized the unilinear view of historical progress in the discourse of Enlightenment modernity and its homogenizing universalism; they have also highlighted the (in)formal colonial trajectory of European modernity in non-European contexts. Out of these critical engagements, have emerged counterdiscourses such as “indigenous modernities”, “multiple modernities”, and “alternative modernities”, as well as a rich body of literature provincializing Europe, historicizing lived experiences of European modernity, and unveiling its darker side. These critiques have opened up new possibilities for transcending false binary oppositions of West/East, modernity/tradition, secular/sacred, and culture/nature.
The organizing committee of this interdisciplinary conference invites contributions to the current rethinking of post-19th century identity formations and sociopolitical transmutations in Islamicate contexts (both national and diasporic) vis-à-vis the colonial project of modernity. We are particularly interested in examining practical implications as well as challenges and prospects of such dialogical investigations. Topics might include, but are not limited to:
§ Modern nation-building and its discontents
§ Postcolonialism, indigeneity, and decoloniality
§ Narrative resistance
§ Feminist theories of experience and first-person knowledge
§ Identity politics and intersectionality
§ Subjectivity, theories of the self, and narrative identities
§ Racialization and epistemologies of ignorance
§ Trauma, affect, memory, and their link to identity
§ The return of the repressed in myth, phantasy, and neurosis
§ Islamophobia in the post-War-on-Terror era
§ Orientalization of diasporic identities in popular culture
§ Radical pedagogies in interrogating Islamophobia/orientalism
§ Religion, secularism, and democracy
§ Orientalism and occidentalism
§ Critical race and whiteness studies
§ Marxist literary criticism
§ Critical (ir)realism
§ Technophobia, eco-criticism, and post-apocalyptic literature
§ Post-modernism as the return of Romanticism
§ Globalization and socio-economic development
Contributions can take the form of papers or posters. Please send abstracts (150-200 words for posters; 300-500 words for papers), along with a short bio of author(s), to email@example.com by November 30, 2014. Decisions on selected proposals will be sent out early January 2014. Presenters whose abstracts are accepted must submit their papers (3000-5000 words) or posters (2-4 slides) by March 27, 2015, one month prior to the conference date.
A selection of papers presented at the conference will be published in a peer-reviewed, edited volume. A final draft of selected papers is to be submitted within two months after the conference.
*Dr. Sherene Razack is Professor of Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. She is the author and editor of several books on feminism, race, gender, settler colonialism, and imperialism, including Race, Space and the Law: Unmapping a White Settler Society (2002); Dark Threats and White Knights: The Somalia Affair, Peacekeeping and the New Imperialism (2004); Casting Out: Race and the Eviction of Muslims From Western Law and Politics (2008); and States of Race: Critical Race feminism for the 21st Century (with Malinda Smith and Sunera Thobani) (2010).
**Dr. Parin Dossa is Professor of Anthropology and Associate Member in the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, at Simon Fraser University. Based on her research on social suffering and narratives of trauma, Dr. Dossa explores the differential effects of structural violence on the lived realities of Muslim women, including diaspora. Her works include Politics and Poetics of Migration: Narratives of Iranian women in the Diaspora (2004); Racialized Bodies, Disabling Worlds: Storied Lives of Immigrant Muslim Women (2009); and Afghanistan Remembers: Gendered Narrations of Violence and Culinary Practices (2014).
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