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Conference: Islam in the New Middle East: Traditions, Transitions, and Trajectories

Thursday, March 29, 2012
12:00 AM
3/29/2012; 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Keynote Address: 5:30 – 7:00 PM Hussey Room, Michigan League 911 N. University 3/30/2012; 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM Assembly Hall, Rackham Graduate School 915 East Washington

A Two-Day Joint Academic Conference to be held at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and the University of Toledo. The conference will comprise over a dozen academic presentations by a range of leading specialists as well as emerging young scholars to address this timely theme. Each paper will be based on original academic research that combines current analysis of the revolutionary uprisings in the Middle East and couches them, where relevant, in the long-standing scholarly conversations on the region.
Despite the incoherent array of excitement, optimism, and circumspection that public commentators, policy makers, and academic onlookers have met the Arab Spring, even at its earliest moments, the question of Islam took center stage and has consistently remained a topic of speculation. Most forms of the public conversation rely upon an outmoded and inapplicable dichotomy between secularism and Islamism, where the central concern becomes the motives and machinations of “Islamist” political parties. Will Egypt follow the Iranian model? What will become of women’s rights in Tunisia? Is Turkey the example for the Muslim Brotherhood? While these questions are not entirely unwarranted, they do not begin to approach the complexity of the role of Islamic tradition in the changing Middle East where Islam’s presence is a fait accompli. This conference challenges the current debate on Islam in the Arab Spring by bringing together scholars whose areas of expertise not only offer a nuanced understanding of the geopolitics of the region, but also provide rigorous conceptual and theoretical insight into the social processes that are set to shape the emerging social and political culture in the Middle East. For additional information, please visit: INME Conference Website