Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Islam and the Atlantic World - Call for Contributions


Islam and the Atlantic World: New Paradigms from Latin America and the Caribbean, edited by Aisha Khan

In scholarly and popular approaches, Islam has been imagined primarily as an “East” that is counter to, rather than a counterpart of “the West.” However, processes of globalization, notably diasporas of Muslims outside “typical” homelands of the Old World, have long linked East and West, and “old” and “new,” troubling these oppositional categories. Yet dominant discourse continues to focus on Muslim populations either as historical communities in original homelands or as contemporary, transitional communities adjusting (or not) to their new destinations. Muslims have been a part of Latin America and the Caribbean for over four centuries, yet in the Americas attention to them has been relatively sparse compared to other areas of research, and for the past decade predominantly reflects a U.S.—9/11 perspective.

Considering broader histories and destinations, Islam and the Atlantic World asks how “American” can be qualified, in order to produce a hemispheric perspective on Muslims that challenges both the notion of U.S. exceptionalism and the depiction of Islam as homogeneous, timeless, and thus incongruous with certain (i.e., Western) worldviews and value systems. Islam and the Atlantic World inquires into the ways that Islam becomes vernacular forms of belief and practice in the Americas, a process of translation by which Muslims are both sustained and created.

Another key question Islam and the Atlantic World asks is how to imagine, articulate, and analyze discourses of diversity and discourses of similarity. It is this volume’s premise that cross-cultural, pan-American comparisons based on close historical and ethnographic examination of the experiences of Muslim populations challenges stereotypes and opens the way for new paradigms in the study of regional and global Islam. Other considerations include:

*How might we be able to know Muslims in territories where they have not been a salient point of reference in the cultural imagination, or where their representation has been one-dimensional?
*What have the conditions, crises, and traditions been for Muslims in the Caribbean and Latin America?
*What can the lens of Muslim experience reveal about articulations between global North and South in the constitution of an American hemisphere?
*What does the concept of umma mean in historical and cultural regions which have their own relationship to the forces of global capitalism (not the least of which being slavery and indenture), nationalism, and anti-colonial movements?
*How might the familiar question about what Islam means for Muslims in the “modern world” change when considering Muslims and Islam in the region where, as some scholars have argued, modernity began?

Islam and the Atlantic World gathers together interdisciplinary contributions on historical and contemporary Muslim populations and communities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Submissions will not be limited to scholarly articles (which should be approximately 6000 words), and may include personal reflections, interviews with key individuals, or fiction (short stories or poems). Given that the Anglophone Caribbean is presently well-covered, particularly welcome are discussions from Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking Latin America and the French-, Dutch-, and Spanish-speaking Caribbean, as well as European and North American sites where there is a direct and on-going relationship with a Latin American or Caribbean country. Please submit your title and 300-350 word abstract by July 1, 2010 to: Aisha Khan, Once all chapter contributions have been confirmed, final negotiations with the university press publishing the volume will move forward. All relevant topics
are welcome for consideration.

Aisha Khan
Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology
New York University
Telephone: (212) 998-3751
Fax: (212) 995-4014

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