LECTURE- The Akromiya Phenomenon, John Schoeberlein, George Mason Univ., Apr. 6
Posted by: Eric McGlinchey <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"The Akromiya Phenomenon: Testing Our Knowledge of Central Asian Islam"
April 6, 5 pm
George Mason University, Student Union Building II, Ballroom 1, Front
If one attempts to survey the landscape of post-Soviet Islam based on
Western sources and the declarations of governments in the region, the
dominant features appear to be a series of radical movements,
including the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Hizb ut-Tahrir, and
"the Akromiya movement." These movements are offered as evidence of
the threat to civil order and thousands of arrests have been made
across Central Asia of people accused of association with these
movements. But what of the evidence that these claims are based on?
The so-called "Akromiya movement" offers the starkest example of
far-reaching threat claims -- and indeed, justification of the largest
massacre in Central Asia since early Soviet times (i.e., in Andijan,
May 2005) -- in the absence of reliable evidence. As such, this case
allows a particularly revealing study of how threat claims are
produced, and on what they are based in lieu of evidence. The study
of "knowledge production" that forms the basis of "expertise" on Islam
in Central Asia suggests that production of "expertise" is guided more
to meet particular demands than by the availability of evidence. The
key actors in the knowledge production process include the "experts",
as well as those institutions which create demand for that the expert
positions and which finance the expert analysis.
John Schoeberlein (http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~schoeber/) is
Director of the Project on Islam in Eurasia and the Program on Central
Asia and the Caucasus, Harvard University.
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