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Workshop "Islamic Pasts and Futures in East Asia's Worldmaking"

Sep 23, 2022 - Sep 24, 2022

As the first quarter of the twenty-first century approaches, East Asia’s heterogenous Islamic landscapes are undergoing a radical transformation. In Central Asia and China, state-led securitization and localization campaigns are rupturing and remolding expressions of piety while silencing the visibility of the faith, expressed in the most extreme form in the ongoing crisis in Xinjiang. Meanwhile, in Taiwan, Korea, and Japan, indigenizing currents and immigrant influxes are re-shaping the presence of Muslims and their wider societal environment, all under cautious and technologically sophisticated state monitoring and management. Constantly upgraded technological mediums and innovations, while facilitating communications and migrations across borders, also operate to limit and eradicate mobility on the most granular level. These changes are informed by contradictory trans-regional trends and discourses – the forces of globalization and state-led economic outreach (i.e. the Belt and the Road Initiative), the popularization of visions of 'nationalized Islams', the specter of the War on Terror, and the successes and failures of political Islamism – as well as more local dynamics such as xenophobia and demographic angst, among others.

Against this backdrop, the workshop “Islamic Pasts and Futures in East Asia’s Worldmaking” brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to reflect on the current moment and futures of Islam(s) and Muslims across East Asia. With an eye toward the millennium-long histories of Muslim presence in the region, we want to redraw the geographies of Islam in and beyond East Asia, and trace patterns of continuity and change across time. The themes of the workshop include visions and instrumentalizations of Islam in Asia, community and crisis in Altishahr/Xinjiang, transnational minoritization of Muslims, the aesthetics of 'acceptable' Islam, and tensions and opportunities between 'nationalized Islams' and global Islamic landscapes.


Historische Sternwarte, University of Göttingen, Geismar Landstraße 11, 37083 Göttingen

There is a limited number of seats for attendance onsite. Please direct inquiries to xiaoyang.zhao[at]stud.uni-goettingen.de


September 23, Friday

11:00 - 11:20

Opening and Introduction

Dominic Sachsenmaier (University of Göttingen)

Janice Hyeju Jeong (University of Göttingen)

Mohammad Alsudairi (King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies)

11:30 - 14:00

Panel I. Visions and Instrumentalizations of Islam in Asia: Historical Trajectories

Chair: Janice Hyeju Jeong (University of Göttingen)

Cemil Aydin (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill)

Inter-Asian Muslim Experiences of World-Making and World-Breaking in the Long 20th Century

Ulrich Brandenburg (University of Zurich)

Asia, Muslim Asia, and the Challenge to Geography

Yee Lak Elliot Lee (Leipzig University)

Re-Territorialization of Hui Muslims in Early 20th Century China: Historical and Demographic Knowledge Production

Hale Eroglu (Bogazici University)
The Awakened Muslim: Turkish Modernity in Chinese Muslim Reformist Thought

15:30 - 16:30


Keynote Address by Selcuk Esenbel (Bogazici University)

Islam and East Asia in World-Making: Local and Regional Maps Embedded into a Globalizing World

17:00 - 18:45

Panel II. Crisis, Community, and Control in Altishahr/Xinjiang

Chair: Cemil Aydin (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

Elke Spiessens (Leiden University, WWU Münster)

CCP Policy towards Uyghur Islam in the 21st Century: What Changed?

Björn Alpermann (University of Würzburg)

A Vanishing Act? Islam in Contemporary Xinjiang

Rachel Harris (SOAS University of London)

Religious Experience and Manufactured Spectacle in Xinjiang

September 24, Saturday

10:00 - 11:45


Panel III. The Question of “Muslim” Ethnicities and Minorities in “non-Muslim” Asia

Chair: Selcuk Esenbel (Bogazici University)

Rian Thum (University of Manchester)

Inter-Asian Islamophobia

Wlodzimierz Cieciura (University of Warsaw)

Huizu – a Chinese ‘Muslim race’? Muslim Racialization and Self-Racialization in Modern China.

Yoko Yamashita (Sophia University)

Multicultural Freedom and Discursive Modes of Control over Muslims in Contemporary Japan

13:00 - 14:45

Panel IV. The Politics of “Acceptable” Islam: Aesthetics and Public Visibility

Chair: Liu Kang (Duke University)

Yi Soojeong (Sogang Euro-MENA Institute, Sogang University)

Social Integration in South Korea: Ban-Opticon and Recognition Struggle

Yang Yang (National University of Singapore)

Traveling Muslim Men as Cultural Assets: Popularized Islam, Heritage Diplomacy, and the Silk Road in China

Michael Malzer (University of Würzburg)

From Arabian Nights to China’s Bordeaux: the Vanishing Role of Islam in Yinchuan, Ningxia

15:00 - 16:00


Keynote Address by Engseng Ho (Duke University)

Mobile Muslims and Majoritarian States: Open and Shut Cases

16:30 - 18:15

Panel V. Dwelling in Migration and Displacement: Tensions and Opportunities between Global Expanses and Westphalian Borders

Chair: Zhu Guohua (East China Normal University)

Francesca Rosati (University of Leiden)

Muslim Women in Northwestern China between Islamization and Chinafication: The Case of Women’s Madrasas in Linxia

Leila Chebbi (CETOBaC)

In the ways of Tabligh: Sinicization as a Survival Strategy for a Global Islamic Revivalist Movement?

Atsushi Yamagata (University of Wollongong)

Responses to the Syrian Refugee Crisis in Japan