The Creation of Shi’a Identity: Religion, History, and Community from the 16th to the 21st century (by invitation only)

23rd @ 09:30 - 24th May, 2022 @ 16:30


This workshop seeks to bring a more diachronic approach to the emergence and transformation of Shi’a Islam across time and space. There is growing scholarly interest in Shi’a Islam, partly as a result of the contemporary politicisation of Shi’a sectarian identity in the Middle East, but also due to a growing consensus regarding the heterogeneity and specificity of different Islamic histories, communities, and practices. We build on and diversify current scholarship on Shi’ism, in particular, by studying the uses of history, politics and religious authority and how these shaped local and transregional Shi’i identities from the early modern to the modern period (16th-21st centuries). Our explorations are guided by the following heuristic questions:

Contributions to the workshop bring together a range of themes across place, space, time, minority experience, and difference to offer a more nuanced picture of Shi’a Islam as a mode of belonging and an ongoing process of community formation both past and present. They thereby open up conversations between academic disciplines, including history, religious studies, sociology, and urban studies, to engage with both indigenous and migrant Shi’a traditions from across Africa, Asia and Europe.

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