The Muslim World and Politics in Transition Book Launch in London

Wed, 04 Dec 2013 18:30 in Discussion Forums
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Where: Dialogue Society, 402 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PZ
Date: 4th December 2013
Time: 18:30

Speakers

  • Prof Paul Weller, University of Derby
  • Dr Ihsan Yilmaz, Fatih University, Istanbul

Reviewers

  • Dr Carool Kersten, King's College London
  • Dr Amina Yaqin, SOAS, University of London

Abstract

In recent times, many countries in the predominantly Muslim world moved into a time of promise for transition and of opening to democratic development, of which the so-called Arab Spring formed a part. Despite the recent reversals of these processes in Egypt and the ongoing tragedy of Syria - and perhaps even more so by way of contrast to these, notwithstanding the recent civil unrest in Turkey itself - there has been a developing interest in the "Turkish model" of transition from authoritarianism to democracy.

As a leading movement in contemporary Turkey with a universal educational and inter-faith agenda, the Gülen movement aims to promote creative and positive relations between the West and the Muslim world and to articulate a critically constructive position on such issues as democracy, multi-culturalism, globalisation, and interfaith dialogue in the context of secular modernity.

The Muslim World and Politics in Transition includes chapters written by international scholars with expertise in relation to the contexts that it addresses. It discusses how the Gülen movement has positioned itself and has sought to contribute within societies - including the movement's home country of Turkey - in which Muslims are in the majority and Islam forms a major part of the cultural, religious and historical inheritance.

An introductory overview of the book's chapters and themes will be provided by one of its co-editors, Paul Weller, Professor of Inter-Religious Relations at the University of Derby, leading into discussions with respondents to the book as well as wider participants in the event.

Biographies

Speakers

Biography of Paul Weller

Paul Weller is Professor of Inter-Religious Relations at the University of Derby, where he is Head of Research and Commercial Development in the Faculty of Education, Health and Sciences. He is a Visiting Fellow in the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture at Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford and a founder and Trustee of the Multi-Faith Centre at the University of Derby (http:// www.multifaithcentre.org). He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Dialogue Society and a Trustee of the Interreligiöse Arbeitsstelle in Germany (http://www. interrel.de). He was a founder member of the Joppa Group of Baptist Christians engaged in inter-faith dialogue and is currently a member of the Baptist Union of Great Britain’s Inter-Faith Working Group. On a European level he has been a consultant to Belieforama (http://www.belieforama.eu), a community of practice based around the development of a prize-winning training programme in religious diversity and anti-discrimination.

Biography of Ihsan Yilmaz

Ihsan Yilmaz is Associate Professor of Political Science at Fatih University, Istanbul. He is the author of Muslim Laws, Politics and Society in Modern Nation States: Dynamic Legal Pluralisms in England, Turkey and Pakistan, (Ashgate, 2005) and co-editor with John L. Esposito Islam and Peacebuilding: Gülen Movement Initiatives (Blue Dome, 2010). Together with Paul Weller, he is also co-editor of European Muslims, Civility and Public Life: Perspectives on and From the Gülen Movement (Continuum, 2012).

He is the editor of Turkish Journal of Politics (TJP), and has published his work in international scholarly journals such as British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Middle East Journal, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, International Law and Politics Journal. He is a regular columnist of Today's Zaman, an English language daily published in Turkey. His current research interests are Islam-constitutional law-human rights; and Federal Sharia Court of Pakistan.

Reviewers

Biography of Amina Yaqin

Amina Yaqin is Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial Studies and Urdu and Chair of the Centre for the Study of Pakistan at SOAS, University of London. She has recently edited a special issue of the Pakistani poet, Faiz Ahmad Faiz for the journal Pakistaniaat. She is co-editor of a book on Culture, Diaspora and Modernity in Muslim Writing (Routledge, 2012), and is co-author (with Peter Morey) of Framing Muslims: stereotyping and representation after 9/11 (Harvard University Press, 2011).

She has published widely on themes of gender, sexuality, Urdu poetry, communal politics and South Asian English literature. She is working on her next book Twentieth Century Women’s Poetry from Pakistan: feminist resistance and gendered subjectivities. She has also been Co-Director of the International Research Network on Framing Muslims from 2007-2010 and is currently working on a major research project that looks at matters of ‘Muslims,Trust and Cultural Dialogue’ with Peter Morey.

Biography of Carool Kersten

Carool Kersten is Senior Lecturer in the Study of Islam and the Muslim World at King’s College London. He also is a Research Associate at the Centre for South East Asian Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

He is the author of Cosmopolitans and Heretics: New Muslim Intellectuals and the Study of Islam (2011) and of Islam in Indonesia: The Contest for Society, Ideas and Values (forthcoming), as well as the co-editor of Demystifying the Caliphate (2013) and Alternative Islamic Discourses and Religious Authority (2013). In addition, he is the editor-in-chief of the book series Contemporary Thought in the Islamic World for Asghate.

Carool Kersten has a PhD in the study of religions from SOAS, University of London, a MA in Arabic Language and Culture from Radboud University Nijmegen (the Netherlands) and a Certificate in Southeast Asian Studies from Payap University in Chiang Mai (Thailand). He has held a fellowship of the Arts and Humanities Council (AHRC) and received research grants from the British Academy, European Science Foundation, Higher Education Academy (HEA), and University of London.

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