Friday, April 17, 2009

ROUNDTABLES- Religion, Education and Society in the Former Soviet Muslim Lands, Bishkek, Apr. 20-21

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

ROUNDTABLES- Religion, Educ. & Society in Former Soviet Muslim Lands, 4/20-4/21

Posted by: John Schoeberlein <>

Dear Colleagues:

We will be holding two roundtable discussions considering the
importance and challenges of teaching about Islam in former Soviet
contexts, such as in Central Asia. We would like to encourage
attendance by teachers, students and university administrators and
policy-makers. These will include a meeting for broad participation on:

"The Place of Religion in Higher Education"
April 21, 16:00-17:30, American University of Central Asia, Room 315

Synopsis: The purpose is to consider the challenges of making religion
part of a social science and humanities curriculum in the post-Soviet
context, given that there is a strong tradition of antipathy toward
religion in the region's higher education, and that students are
generally not given serious training in pre-university or university
education that would prepare them to deal with religion as a subject.
What changes in attitude and what intellectual tools are needed in
order to achieve an appropriate treatment of religion? What are the
consequences of the Soviet scholarly tradition of discrediting and
discouraging religion? This meeting is meant to evoke perspectives on
the problems that students and faculty experience when treading into
the territory of religion.

The second meeting, open to university teachers and curriculum
planners, will be on April 20. If you are a teacher or curriculum
planner and would like to attend, please contact Mukaram Toktogulova
at for details. The this meeting will be:

"Bridging between Religious Education and the Study of Religion"
Synopsis: The purpose is to consider the gap that exists in a
post-Soviet context such as Kyrgyzstan between teaching religion to
believers and teaching about religion from a "non-religious"
perspective. Further, there will be discussion of what can be gained
through dialogue between these approaches; what can happen if social
science and humanities scholars treat religious belief and practice as
having intrinsic worth, and what happens if those who teach religion
to believers treat their subject as something that warrants critical
and contextualized analysis.

We look forward to lively discussion!

John Schoeberlein (Harvard University)
Mukaram Toktogulova (American University of Central Asia)

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