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.
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Study of Islam Unit
Call for Proposals for November Meeting
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 2024 meeting in San Diego, we are especially interested in paper and/or panel proposals on:
- Sound and music
- Pedagogy, particularly feminist pedagogy (see below for details on Co-sponsored session with the Islam, Gender, and Women unit)
- Borders, barzakh, liminal spaces – especially relating to the geography of the meeting in southern California
- Islam outside the Middle East
- Islamophobia and anti-Semitism
- Non-profits, cultural preservation
- Muslim and non-Muslim relations
- Drugs and medicine
- Climate change
- Theory and method, especially how the field has developed in light of Orientalism
- Relationship between the seminary and academy
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.
For a special co-sponsored paper session with the Islam, Gender, Women program unit, we invite submissions that center on (1) tangible teaching methods, (2) assignments, (3) classroom activities, (4) curriculum design that foster a feminist pedagogical approach to the Islamic Studies classroom. We envision a session in which presenters share a specific pedagogical tool and discuss its application in the classroom, rather than presenting a traditional paper on feminist pedagogy in Islamic studies, followed by group discussions, thereby meeting our expectation of non-traditional session formats. Submissions should emphasize hands-on approaches, activities, and assignments that engage students in critical thinking and reflection while also paying attention to scholarship on teaching and learning. Proposal should explicitly demonstrate how your submission aligns with feminist pedagogical principles in Islamic Studies and contributes to creating an inclusive and empowering learning environment.
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
Steering Committee Members
Shatha Almutawa, Willamette University1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Samah Choudhury, Ithaca College1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Francesca Chubb-Confer, Whitman College1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Shankar Nair, University of Virginia1/1/2019 - 12/31/2024