Call for Papers: The Future of British Muslim Studies

A one-day Muslims in Britain Research Network conference organised in partnership with the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, Cardiff University

Date: 24 April 2019

Since the Muslims in Britain Research Network was established over 25 years ago, British Muslim studies has grown exponentially. Yet despite this, the field faces significant challenges and uncertainty about its future direction. With so much of the focus on British Muslims being driven – both in academia and in wider society – by instrumental concerns about security and terrorism, much needed debates about the field’s core goals and purpose have often been obscured. The near constant use of research reports and polls on British Muslims in service of political agendas has meant that not only do those researching British Muslims often struggle to get their voices heard, but they are also forced to face difficult questions about their positioning and politics.

This one day event will bring together those from within and outside of academia who have an interest in shaping the study of Muslim Britain in order to discuss and debate the challenges facing the field and where it should go from here. What should British Muslim studies do, and who should it be for? Should it be seen as part of a project of improving Muslims’ rights and representation, as with the case of comparable fields like Black Studies, or remain at a critical distance from Muslim politics? Is the field itself sufficiently inclusive of the diversity of Muslim and non-Muslim voices, and is sufficient recognition given to those outside the academy producing research into Muslims? When, and how, should academics partner with Muslim and community and activist groups? With researchers in the field scattered across disciplines, and with religion increasingly marginalised in the academy, how can the field cohere and have a positive impact?

Abstracts are invited for papers that address any of the conference themes:

  • Emerging research agendas in, and challenges for, the field of British Muslim studies
  • The politics of producing knowledge about Muslims in the West
  • The relationship between academic scholarship and Muslims’ presence, voice and activism
  • Partnerships between academic and Muslim community groups in the UK
  • ‘Insider’ and ‘outsider’ dynamics in the study of British Muslims
  • Complementarities and tensions between disciplinary approaches to the study of Muslims and Islam
  • Securing the study of Muslims and Islam within and beyond UK higher education

Participants will be asked to present their research in a short format as part of a panel. To participate please send a 250 word abstract to the email address below by 1st March along with a biographical note of no more than 50 words.

Abstract submissions and any general questions should be sent to the conference organisers at MuslimsinBritainRN@gmail.com.