On 11 April 2011, AKU-ISMC held an international workshop entitled “The Politics of Negotiation: Muslim Subjectivities in ‘Western’ Contexts”. This workshop brought together scholars from universities around the world to present their research on the ways in which the identity and subjectivity of Muslims living in Western societies are formed and challenged.
Scholars examined a wide range of Muslim experiences, from childhood (Muslim faith schools) to early adulthood (Muslim youth groups) to death (burial rituals for Shia Muslims in the UK). Particular attention was paid to youth culture, university culture, experiences of marriage in the UK and religious practices. The speakers emphasised the complexities of Muslim subjectivity and the need to recognise such complexity in the often simplistic public debates around multiculturalism.
Shaista Gohir MBE, Executive Director of the Muslim Women’s Network UK, concluded the workshop by discussing her work to empower women to take full advantage of their rights as Muslim women and British citizens.
The papers from this workshop will be published as an anthology. It is anticipated that by raising awareness of serious issues faced by Muslim societies today, this publication will deepen readers’ understanding of both the Muslim heritage and the lived experiences of Muslims in Western countries.
The workshop was organised by AKU-ISMC’s 2010-2011 Research Fellows for, Dr Fauzia Ahmad and Dr Chloe Patton. These Fellows are currently in residence at AKU-ISMC, carrying out research which takes forward one of the Institute’s research agenda’s, ‘Understanding Processes of Social Change in Muslim Cultures and Societies’. Within this broad area, one of the challenges which the Institute has set for itself is to understand more clearly and more deeply how Muslim populations in Western contexts are shaping and shaped by Western state, legal and educational structures and institutions.
Coordinator, Planning & Academic Development
Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations