Wednesday, February 11, 2009

CONF.- The Changing Social Role of Islam in Post-Soviet Eurasia, Harvard Univ., Mar. 20-21, 2009

Distrib. by: Central-Eurasia-L - Announcement List for Central Eurasian Studies

CONF.- Changing Social Role of Islam in Post-Soviet Eurasia, Harvard, Mar 20-21

Posted by: Project on Islam in Eurasia <>

Dear Colleagues:

We are pleased to announce the upcoming event of the Project on Islam
in Eurasia:

Conference on "The Changing Social Role of Islam in Post-Soviet Eurasia"

March 20-21, 2009
Harvard University
Project on Islam in Eurasia
CGIS South Room S020
1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

The Project on Islam in Eurasia will hold a conference on "The Changing
Social Role of Islam in Post-Soviet Eurasia" on March 20-21, 2009.
The conference will gather a number of the scholars who have been most
focused on trying to understand the social transformations in which
Islam plays a role in the post-Soviet period. The purposes of the
conference are to assess the current state of scholarship and to identify
key issues that deserve further investigation.

This conference is a part of the Project on Islam in Eurasia, which
seeks to develop a better understanding of the dynamic changes which
are taking place in the social life of post-Soviet Muslim societies.
The Project also aims to help this understanding reach a wider
audience both in the West and in the region itself, and especially to
help policy-makers make more informed decisions related to this topic.
Unfortunately, scholarship, public attention, and policy making have
been heavily focused on the "problems," "risks," and "threats" that
Islam is considered to pose for post-Soviet societies and states, with
very little attention being devoted to the broad spectrum of other
issues for which Islam plays an important role. For more information
about the focus and activities of the Project on Islam in Eurasia,
please see our website (

We invite those interested in attending the conference to submit the
Registration Form on our website:

Please note that while the conference is free and open to the public,
the number of attendees that we can accommodate is limited, and we
will select attendees, in part on a first-come, first-served basis,
but also taking into consideration the prospective attendee's profile,
since we are aiming to foster a strong discussion in the conference
and audience participation is a crucial part. The target group of
attendees would include scholars and advanced students who are
studying themes related to the conference, and those who work in
government and development institutions, as well as non-governmental
entities which are concerned with social policy and the situation
regarding religion in this region. In completing the form below,
please make sure the extent to which you fit this profile (or another
profile that could be as relevant for the conference). Note that we
will accommodate others as well as space allows.

The conference will be held in Room S020 on the Concourse Level of the
CGIS South Building at Harvard University (1730 Cambridge St.,
Cambridge, MA 02138, USA). The public portion of the conference will
begin at 9:00 am on Friday, March 20 and conclude at 5:30 pm on
Saturday, March 20, 2009.

The following is a list of those who will present papers at the
conference with their paper titles (many not yet finalized), and the
discussants, who will also play a major role in the conference. The
order of presentations is not yet finalized. Each presentation,
together with the discussant's response and general discussion, will
be given 45 minutes.

Paper Presentations:

Bakhtiyar Babadjanov (Institute of Oriental Studies, Tashkent)
-- TBA [based on field research in Uzbekistan]

Bayram Balci (French Institute for Central Asian Studies, Tashkent)
-- TBA [based on field research in Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan]

Vladimir Bobrovnikov (Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Moscow)
-- [Tentative: The Transformation of Shari'a into Communal Rituals in
Post-Soviet Daghestani Kolkhozes]

Kathleen Collins (Univ. of Minnesota)
-- TBA [based on survey research and fieldwork in Central Asia and Azerbaijan]

Habiba Fathi (Institute for Ismaili Studies, London)
-- [Tentative: Views of Secularism among Muslim Believers in Central Asia]

Morgan Liu (Ohio State University)
-- TBA [based on fieldwork in Southern Kyrgyzstan]

Maria Louw (Aarhus University)
-- "Navigating Ambiguous Secularisms"

Aleksei Malashenko (Carnegie Center, Moscow)
-- [Tentative: Sufis, the Shari'a, Islamic Education and the State:
Changes from the 1990s to the Present]

Makhach Musaev (Institute of History, Makhachkala)
-- [Tentative: New Developments in Islamic Education in Daghestan]

Nabi Rahimov (Khujand State University)
-- [Tentative: Islam and Ideas of Nation in Tajikistan]

Rufat Sattarov (Humboldt University, Berlin)
-- "Pillars of 'Local Islam': Religious Practices in Today's
Azerbaijani Society"

John Schoeberlein (Harvard University)
-- "A Critique of Conceptual Frameworks for Assessing Post-Soviet Islam"

Mukaram Toktogulova (American University of Central Asia, Bishkek)
-- [Tentative: Diverse Visions of Islam in Kyrgyzstan]

Discussants (list is not finalized):

Laura Adams (Harvard University)
Devin DeWeese (Indiana University)
Jocelyne Cesari (Harvard University)
Michael Hall (Open Society Institute, New York)
Ed Schatz (Univ. of Toronto)
Thomas Simons (Harvard University)

For Those Wishing to Attend

If you are interested in attending the conference, please complete the
form below. Please note that space is limited, so only those to whom
we send a confirmation will be able to attend the conference. We will
send additional information about the conference to confirmed
attendees as the conference dates approach.

Please note: attendees must find their own resources to cover
conference-related expenses, as we have no resources to assist in
covering travel or accommodations. You will also need to make your
own arrangements for travel and accommodations. See our website for
additional information (

I want also to mention - especially to those who expressed interest in
presenting their paper at this conference: We had a huge response when we
made the preliminary announcement of the conference (over 1,000 responses!).
Though we could not accommodate additional presentations in this conference,
this tremendous response convinced me that there is a great deal of interesting
work being done, and we should strive to organize another conference that would
provide the opportunity for presentation and discussion of that work. I have
resolved to try to mobilize the resources to hold another conference next year
for which we will announce an open Call for Papers if I am successful.

We hope in any case to remain in dialogue with those who are unable to
present at or attend our March conference. The Project on Islam in
Eurasia is a three-year project (and perhaps the beginning of
longer-term undertakings), so we look forward to future cooperation
with those who share this common interest. For those who are unable to
attend, I would mention that the papers of the conference will be published
as a book -- check our website for more information about the Project's
future publication.


John Schoeberlein
Director of the Project on Islam in Eurasia and of the Program on
Central Asia and the Caucasus at Harvard University

Project on Islam in Eurasia, Harvard University

Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus, Harvard University

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