Digital Islam: How the Internet and Social Media are Reshaping the Islamic Marketplace in Central Asia
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Internet and social media are slowly beginning to revolutionize the Islamic marketplace of ideas for Central Asians. In spite of the efforts of authoritarian governments and the region’s status on the periphery of the Islamic world, advances in communications technology and large-scale migration are allowing Central Asians to increasingly participate in trans-national Islamic discourses through digital media. Religious quarrels between Saudi Salafi scholars and competing styles of Islamically-inspired women’s fashion from Turkey or Egypt can now inform debates about how to be a good Muslim among young Uzbeks and Kazakhs who have no personal connection to the Middle East. A new generation of Islamic scholars educated and living abroad increase the representation of trans-national Islam, often translating texts and popular religious media and sharing them through social media and sites supported by foreign religious foundations dedicated to popularizing piety and often “purifying” Central Asian beliefs and practices. This workshop will examine the medium and the messages in this expanding marketplace, draw comparisons both within the region (with scholars working in Uzbek, Kazakh, and Tajik) and with other contexts where this process is already well underway, and lay the foundations for a larger research project to explore the issues in detail and try to assess their social impact.
Schedule of Events
2:00-4:15 Presentations, followed by Q&A
4:15-4:30 Coffee Break
4:30-5:30 Round table discussion
This event is co-sponsored by CMENAS and CREES.