Thinking Thru' Islamophobia
University of Leeds
Since the end of the Cold War, a series of 'moral panics' have swept over Western plutocracies at the heart of which has been the figure of the Muslim. Contestations about Western values such as freedom of expression, gender equality and national belongings have been raised through interrogation of Muslim settlement in major Western conurbations.
For many, these moral panics are reminder of the growing Islamophobia; for others, they are a testimony to real problems in Muslim communities and the talk of Islamophobia is, at best, a distraction and, at worst, a form of cultural censorship under the cover of which Muslim extremism and intolerance are allowed to go unchecked. Those who see Islamophobia not as a polemical but analytical term are confronted by the paucity of its current formulation.
It is a concept that is neither consistently defined or deployed or understood. This lack of conceptual rigour and depth allows Islamophobia to circulate widely but ineffectively. Like a buzzing fly, Islamophobia seems to irritate without bringing any illumination. Policy and opinion makers often resort to platitudes and clichés when Islamophobia is mentioned unable or unwilling to see its analytical value as a tool for justice.
The aim of this workshop is to explore the analytical value of Islamophobia and its limitations. To this end, we will address a number of key questions.
- How was the phenomena that Islamophobia seeks to conceptualise dealt with prior to the formation of the concept?
- What is it that the category of Islamophobia brings to the table- is it useful and if so why?
- How would a consistent and clearer understanding of Islamophobia help?
- How does Islamophobia relate to others of social exclusion?
- What is the relationship between Islamophobia and racism?
Workshop presentations and discussion fall into three areas. Between them, it is hoped contributors will cover the representative diversity of conceptual and empirical contexts of Islamophobia, including Muslimstan.
Contributions to the first panel Genealogies of Islamophobia explore the function that the category of Islamophobia was recruited to perform, and examine the processes by which Islamophobia entered public discourse.
In an effort to furnish a rigorous understanding of the concept, the second panel Morphologies of Islamophobia is dedicated to the analysis of Islamophobia's relationship with racism and anti-Semitism.
The third panel Sociologies of Islamophobia addresses concrete instances of Islamophobia, trends, monitoring institutions and instruments, and published reports and policies.
The format adopted for the workshop is that of short presentations based on drafts circulated in advance of the meeting, followed by comments by fellow panellists and discussion open to all workshop participants.
- Abdool Karim Vakil, King's College London
- Adrian Brockett, York St John University
- Amir Saeed, University of Sunderland
- David Tyrer, Liverpool John Moores University
- Gabriele Marranci, University of Aberdeen
- Gargi Bhattacharyya, University of Birmingham
- Karima Laachir, University of Birmingham
- Liz Fekete, Institute of Race Relations, London
- Yahya Birt, independent researcher
- Serena Hussain, University of Leeds
- Samia Bano, University of Reading
- S. Sayyid, CERS, University of Leeds
Registration fee: £30 for academics and the unwaged, £60 for others.
Registration will include morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea.
The University of Leeds School Centre of Ethnicity and Racism Studies has had a history of critical interdisciplinary engagement with the origins, production and conditions of racism. This symposium seeks to elaborate a robust conceptualisation of Islamophobia as it relations to social policy and sociological theory.
The exact location is to be confirmed.