Graduate Student Conference

Past conferences

2016: Islam and the Modern State

April 7-8, 2016

The conference examined how modern states exist in tension with the practices, institutions, and sensibilities associated with Islam. This interdisciplinary conference drew together advanced graduate students and senior scholars to probe the enduring entanglement of religion and modernity, and to understand how this entanglement bears on contemporary debates about modern statehood.

Panels investigated:

  • how states grapple with nationalism, neo-liberalism, and secularism in relation to local and global iterations of Islam;
  • the strategies that individuals and communities employ to subvert, comply with, or otherwise amend state sovereignty and its projects to cultivate ideal citizens;
  • and the modes through which the Islamic tradition is being transformed as a result of these processes.

Keynote address: Ebrahim Moosa, professor of Islamic studies at the University of Notre Dame with appointments in the Department of History and the Kroc Institute for International Studies in the Keough School of Global Affairs.

Conference Organizers

  • Mona Oraby: PhD candidate in political science, Northwestern University. Her research investigates the legal regulation and administration of religious difference in the contemporary Middle East.

  • Bilal Nasir: PhD candidate in anthropology and part of the Initiative for Comparative Race and Diaspora at Northwestern University. His research examines the intersection between racialization, social movements, and Islamic learning among Muslim youth in the greater Los Angeles area.

  • Nathaniel Mathews: PhD candidate in history, Northwestern University. He works on the history of modern citizenship, ethnicity and the nation-state in Zanzibar, Oman, and the Swahili Coast.
  • Nurhaizatul Jamil: PhD candidate in anthropology, Northwestern University. Her research focuses on Muslim women’s participation in Islamic self-help classes in contemporary Singapore.