Islam and the West: A Love Story?

full name / name of organization: 
Sadia Zulfiqar, University of Glasgow, UK

Islam and the West: A Love Story?
A Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Symposium
University of Glasgow
Saturday 24th November 2012

Islam is a complex composite – a heterogeneous set of historically and contextually variable practices and beliefs shaped by region, ethnicity, sect, and class, as well as by varying responses to local and translational cultural and economic processes – all of which have diverse effects on the lives of Muslims. But in the West Islam has conventionally been reduced to the notion of a predetermined monolith. Sweeping characterizations of Islam have more or less succeeded in transforming various groups of people into one undifferentiated body, "Muslim". This totalizing tendency reduces Islam to an unchanging doctrine, and its adherents to a single identity. In a political environment of increasing hostility towards Islam, gender has been manipulated to reinforce the "Clash of Civilizations" thesis of Islam versus the West (Huntington, 1993). Goethe's "Inter cultural dialogue" in West-östlicher Diwan (1819) and Said's "Contrapuntal thought" in Culture and Imperialism (1993) are two ways of dealing with the question of Islam in West. This one- day symposium is seeking to understand this love-hate relationship and to explore new ways of thinking about this.
We welcome papers that address, but are not limited to, the following topics:
• Islam in literature, art, cinema and theatre
• Islam and the media
• Islam: where is she?
• Islam and homosexuality
• Politics of veiling in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
• What is (the) West?
• What is Islam?
• Postcolonial Islam
• Power struggles and Sharia
• Muslims and Scottish Independence
• Israeli/Palestinian conflict
• Islam and Africa

We are looking for contributions lasting approximately 15 minutes. Abstracts (maximum 300 words) and brief biographies (maximum 150 words) should be sent to Sadia Zulfiqar at by 30th of October 2012. You can also find us on Facebook at