Controlling Islam? colonial and postcolonial policies compared

An interesting CFP from a Sociology of Islam list. I’ll be attending a workshop at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen at the exact same time, so unfortunately won’t make it to this 18th International Congress of Contemporary Research on the Middle East, held in Berlin, October 6-8, 2011.

Call for Papers for the Panel
Controlling Islam? colonial and postcolonial policies compared

18. Internationaler DAVO-Kongress zur gegenwartsbezogenen Forschung im
Vorderen Orient, Berlin, 6. ? 8. Oktober 2011

Chairs: Dr. Chanfi Ahmed (ZMO-Berlin)
Britta Frede (ZMO-Berlin)
Discussant: N.N.
Deadline for Papers: 15. Juni 2011

Controlling Islam was a highly controversially issue from the early beginning of the modern territorial based state. Islamic movements were with its trans-territorial decentralized organizational structures seen at one hand as a potential danger to state sovereignty, and on the other hand as a possibility to reach political goals in and beyond the territorial borders. For controlling this potentially dangerous religion, the French Empire as a “Muslim Empire” developed strategies of manipulating the religious field, for example by incorporating chosen religious leaders into the patronage system of the colonial administration while exiling, imprisoning or simply excluding others.

Even if the French Islamic policy was maybe more radical than the British, we can say, that the British Colonial administration followed comparable strategies. Using Islam as a vehicle for political propaganda was a pattern which existed on both sides of the colonial states: the rulers and the ruled. Independence struggles were often using Islamic arguments and Islamic symbolic for claiming their political rights. The postcolonial state was thus inheriting these patterns of politicized Islam. They saw themselves in a need of controlling, manipulating and using Islam for their own purposes.

This panel seeks to discuss in a comparative perspective how the colonial and the postcolonial state tried to control Islamic institutions and Islamic movements. The line of comparison could be a historical perspective. We are especially interested in studies about colonial or postcolonial Islamic policies with the prospect of finding points of continuity and rupture.

This could be done by considering, for instance, how the two states have tried to control Islam in the following two areas, first, Islamic institutions like law, mosques or schools, etc. or second, Movements and Associations aiming to bring religious, social or political change. We are expecting contributions on case studies or conceptional papers from different disciplines (Political Science, History, Anthropology, and Islamic Studies).