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Contemporary Islam Unit

Call for Proposals

The Contemporary Islam Group is soliciting proposals for the 2020 AAR meeting on any topics related to the study of Islam in the contemporary period. This year we have particular interests in the following topics and would welcome papers or panels:

1) on academic freedom and professional risks including topics such as
-engagement with Title VI research centers
-BDS involvement
-public scholarship
-international research risks

2) that assess the contribution of diverse methodological experimentation in the study of Islam in recent years, such as the incorporation of critical race theory and black feminist thought in the study of contemporary Islam

3) on the impact of elections and state power on Muslim communities across the globe. We are especially interested in papers/panels on surveillance, Muslim bans, and citizenship revocation from a comparative Afro-Asian lens (Uyghurs, Black Muslims in the Americas, Indian Muslims, etc.)

4) on Muslim engagement with arts and aesthetic discourses

5) prearranged author-meets-critics style panel on a recently published book

6) proposals from people working outside of academia on Islam and involved in political work, policy, activism, think tanks, working with politicians, etc., or those who analyze such public engagement, for a potential panel on this topic.

Pre-arranged panels should reflect gender and racial/ethnic diversity as well as diversity of field, method, and scholarly rank as appropriate. We also encourage pre-arranged panels to take a broad and inclusive approach to what counts as “Islam,” recognizing the theological diversity within Islam and among Muslims; this includes but is not limited to Shi’a, Ahmadiyya, and the Nation of Islam Muslims.

If your proposal is accepted and you agree to be on the program, we expect you to show up to participate in the Annual Meeting, barring unforeseeable exceptional circumstances. Please note that it is the policy of all Islamic Studies program Units to ban no-shows at the Annual Meeting from the program for the following two years.

Statement of Purpose

The mission of this unit is to provide a venue for discussing emerging issues and developments within Muslim societies and Islamic studies during the past 200 years, particularly in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members

Review Process Comments