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Study of Islam Unit

Call for Proposals

This Unit encourages individual paper, paper session, and roundtable proposals in all areas of Islamic studies. Successful proposals will reflect theoretical and methodological sophistication and engagement with existing scholarship, along with innovative examination of Muslim practices, texts, and material culture in diverse contexts and geographies. We encourage the submission of coherent pre-arranged sessions involving multiple scholars, and these could include roundtable or other creative presentation formats.


As an explicit requirement of our Unit, a successful pre-arranged session or panel proposal must incorporate gender diversity. Diversity of race and ethnicity, theoretical method, and rank are also highly encouraged.


If your proposal is accepted and you agree to be on the program, we expect you to show up to participate in your session at the Annual Meeting, barring unforeseeable exceptional circumstances. Please note that the Islamic studies program Units have a policy according to which no-shows may be barred from the program for the following year.

For the 2023 meeting in San Antonio, we are also especially interested in paper and/or panel proposals on:

  • In light of Amir Husain’s presidential theme of “La Labor de Nuestras Manos,” we would like to encourage submissions reflecting on the state of Islamic Studies, and the boundaries and approaches in the field. In particular, we are interested in reflections on how the study of Islam within Religious Studies compares to the study of Islam in other academic areas; the incorporation of critical theory within Islamic Studies; the relationship between colonialism and the history of Islamic Studies in the West, as well as the study of Islam beyond the Western academy; the evolving place of constructive or theological work within Islamic Studies; the economics of Islamic Studies, including job markets and institutions of higher education; and the role of public-facing scholarship.
  • Also in connection with the presidential theme, we’d like to encourage submissions about Latino/a Muslims, as well as Islam and Muslims in the American Southwest.
  • New trends and developments in Islamic Philosophy. We are particularly interested in research that examines time-periods, regions, and languages that are typically overlooked; Islam's women philosophers and Muslim feminist philosophy; Islamic Neoplatonism; and Muslim occultism.
  • Critical engagements with the category of “ambiguity” and how it is deployed in the study of Islam.
  • We also seek papers for a possible co-sponsored session on comparative Hindu and Islamic philosophy (for co-sponsorship with Hindu Philosophy or Islamic Mysticism units). 
  • Graduate Student session: This special session will offer graduate students the opportunity to present for 5 minutes on their dissertation research, followed by short responses from other panelists and open discussion. If you are an advanced graduate student and interested in talking succinctly about your research in this session, please submit a paper proposal through the PAPERS system with the abstract and proposal the same text and length (maximum 150 words) and indicate that your submission is for this special session format at the top of the proposal.
  • As always, we encourage submissions on topics of general interest, such as the Qur’an and hadith, law and ethics, philosophy and theology, mysticism, ritual, gender and sexuality, race and politics, modernity and globalization, and other areas. Furthermore, we encourage proposals dealing with Shi’ism within and across these areas, as well as other forms of Islam that have been rendered marginal or peripheral.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit is a home for the academic study of Islam within the AAR. This Unit encompasses various approaches and subjects, from Qur’anic studies to modern reform movements and from textual research to sociology. The Unit also has enduring interests in pedagogical issues associated with the teaching of Islam and prioritizes, through two signature sessions, mentoring of early-career scholars. The purpose of the Unit is both to provide a forum for dialogue among differing approaches and projects within Islamic studies and also to provide opportunities for the discussion of work that affects the overall field of the study of religion. We normally meet for five to seven sessions at each Annual Meeting. We often coordinate our work with other Islam-related AAR Program Units, including the Contemporary Islam Unit, the Islam, Gender, Women Unit, the Islamic Mysticism Unit, Teaching Islamophobia Unit, and the Qur’an Unit.


Steering Committee Members





Review Process

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