I am scheduled to participate in a a multidisciplinary panel of undergraduate and graduate students during the Religion and Culture collaborative student colloquium, “Cultural Appropriation/Cultural Representation.” As a convert to Islam who spends most of his time with North Africans, this is an issue I think about a lot. I look forward to exploring it with my peers.
Date: Fri Jan 20, 2017
Time: 12:00 – 1:20 p.m.
Place: The Paul Martin Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University.
This video portrays Casablanca as I was privileged to discover it during the two years I lived there. It does not however depict life in the poorer neighbourhoods, home to most of the city's inhabitants. These neighborhoods may not offer the clean modern image presented in this film, but an attentive eye can easily discover beauty amidst their bustling cacophony. In any case, this elitist representation of my dear Casablanca is worth watching.
This is the name of the paper I will present insha Allah at the Institute of Islamic Studies Student Council Graduate Student Symposium at McGill University in good old Montreal. The symposium lasts from April 28 to 29. I am scheduled to present at 11:15 on Friday 29. Here is the link for the symposium: https://sites.google.com/site/miisscsymposium/2016-symposium/preliminary-program
Here is the abstract for my paper:
This paper explores the intersection between decolonialism and Islam in contemporary scholarship. It is inspired by the work of ethnic studies professor Ramón Grosfoguel (UC Berkeley). The first section introduces decolonialism as a type of world-systems analysis produced from peripheral epistemologies. Grosfoguel argues that this is different from postmodernism and postcolonialism, which remain epistemically Eurocentric critiques of Eurocentric modernity. For scholars of Islam, decolonialism entails responding to the problems facing humankind today as Muslims or with Muslims, rather than simply producing scholarship about Muslims. It entails considering Islam an epistemic perspective from which to actively generate critical thought, rather than a passive object of study. Moreover, decolonialism engages in inter-epistemic ‘pluriversal’ communication, and seeks to avoid Eurocentric universalism, Islamic takfiri discourse, and other forms of exclusivism. The second section examines Grosfoguel’s contention that epistemic Islamophobia is a constitutive element of the “modern/colonial capitalist/patriarchal western-centric/Christian-centric world-system.” He argues that modern social sciences and globalized structures of knowledge are deeply rooted in the four genocides/epistemicides of the long sixteenth century (against Jews and Muslims in Al-Andalus, indigenous peoples in the Americas, African victims of the transatlantic slave trade, and European women accused of sorcery). The third section discusses the contributions to decolonial Muslim thought by three intellectuals from Berkeley, California. After further consideration of Grosfoguel’s work, Hatem Bazian is introduced. He is a co-founder of Zaytuna College, the first accredited Muslim liberal arts college in the United States, where he works as a professor of Islamic law and theology. Furthermore, he lectures on Islam in America and Islamophobia at UC Berkeley. Dustin Craun, the third figure to be discussed, is an anti-racist educator, communications consultant, editor, and writer. He is also the founder and CEO of Ummah Wide, a San-Francisco based digital media and film production start-up focused on Muslim issues.
I just attended a wonderful talk at Wilfrid Laurier University by Oren Lyons, "Faithkeeper" for the Onandaga Nation and UN activist for Indigenous Peoples. His words and presence, as well as those of other beautiful people at the conference, inspired me to formulate some thoughts on decolonialism that had been floating around my mind for a while. Here is this formulation:
Seen from the subaltern side of the modern/colonial divide, modern civilization distinguishes itself as uniquely destructive. Colonized and neo-colonized bodies and epistemologies are being destroyed, languages are disappearing at an alarming rate, nuclear weapons continue to threaten the existence of humankind, the ice is melting (as our speaker kept reminding us)...the list of victims is endless. From below the colonial divide, modern Western-centric civilization appears as the civilization of unsurpassed death and destruction. Delinking involves realizing that this system can't be defeated on its own terms. No amount of violence from below can hope to counter the violence coming from above the colonial divide. Only life, love, and wisdom can defeat death, hatred, and arrogant scientism. We are beyond arguments of moral equivalence. It is a matter of survival.
C'est le titre d'une présentation que je donnerai dans le cadre d'un atelier au CEETUM (Centre d’études ethniques des universités montréalaises) à Montréal.
I will be presenting a paper at the graduate symposium of the CEETUM (Centre d’études ethniques des universités montréalaises) in Montreal.
Voici les coordonnées :
Here is the information for the workshop:
Salle 530-1-1 Atelier 12 (1re partie) Islam, islamophobie et migrants musulmans
18 mars, de 9 h à 11 h (partie 2 de 11 h 15 à 13 h)
I gave a lecture to an undergraduate class today. It was entitled Islamophobia and the Americas: The Big Picture. The objective was to provide them with a longue durée analysis of how Islamophobia and the European conquest of the Americas are inextricably linked processes constitutive of modernity. I drew extensively on Enrique Dussel, Ramon Grosfoguel, Walter Mignolo and Dustin Craun. I don't think most of these young students had ever been introduced to such a narrative from a modernity/coloniality approach.
The birthdate of modernity is 1492, even though its gestation, like that of the fetus, required a period of intrauterine growth. Whereas modernity gestated in the free, creative medieval European cities, it came to birth in Europe's confrontation with the Other. By controlling, conquering, and violating the Other, Europe defined itself as discoverer, conquistador, and colonizer of an alterity like-wise constitutive of modernity. Europe never discovered (des-cubierto) this Other as Other but covered over (encubierto) the Other as part of the Same: i.e., Europe. Modernity dawned in 1492 and with it the myth of a special kind of sacrificial violence which eventually eclipsed whatever was non-European.
The invention of the Americas: eclipse of "the other" and the myth of modernity
Transdisciplinary scholar of Islam and Sufism.