Democracy and Global Islam


 Until now, most academic studies focusing on Islam fall into one of two categories: Area Studies (Middle East, Central Asia etc.) or "Islamology," that is, the study of Islamic religion and history. The resulting patchwork of microcosmic field studies on the one hand, and a purely culturalist and holistic approach of Islam on the other, does not take into account the effect of globalization on Islam. Contemporary radical Islam, for example, is transnational and increasingly rooted in the West itself; it is less a legacy of traditional Islam than a product of globalization. As we have seen with particular urgency since 9/11, when the academic community fails to deal with Islam on these terms, the field is relegated to journalists or security experts. The goal of the conference was to go beyond the boundaries of existing academic fields to understand the new phenomenon of transnational Islam and to address the following issues: the globalization of Islam; the relationship between Islam as a universal religion and the specific cultures of the Middle East; the feasibility of democratization of Muslim countries; and the relationship between Islam and democracy. The conference was sponsored by CIG and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. The Center for Southeast Asia StudiesFrench DepartmentGraduate Theological UnionInstitute of European Studies,Townsend Center, and International and Area Studies also supported the conference. For a detailed description of the conference, click here. The conference was held in the Lipman Room (8th Floor, Barrows Hall) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.. For working papers from the conference, please click hereA webcast of the conference is now available here.