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This Unit encourages individual paper, paper session, and roundtable proposals in all areas of Islamic studies. Successful proposals will reflect theoretical and methodological sophistication and engagement with existing scholarship along with innovative examination of Muslim practices, texts, and material culture in diverse contexts and geographies. We encourage the submission of coherent pre-arranged sessions involving multiple scholars, and these could include roundtable or other creative presentation formats.

As an explicit requirement of our Unit, a successful pre-arranged session or panel proposal must incorporate gender diversity. Diversity of race and ethnicity, theoretical method, and rank are also highly encouraged.

If your proposal is accepted and you agree to be on the program, we expect you to show up to participate in your session at the Annual Meeting, barring unforeseeable exceptional circumstances. Please note that the Islamic studies program Units have a policy according to which no-shows may be barred from the program for the following year.

For the 2021 meeting in San Antonio, we are also especially interested in paper and/or panel proposals on:

● As always, we welcome submissions dealing with the Qur’an and the Sunna, law, philosophy, theology, mysticism, ritual, gender and sexuality, modernity and globalization, teaching, religious pluralism, and other areas of general interest. Furthermore, we encourage proposals dealing with Shi’ism within and across these areas.
● graduate session: This session will offer graduate students the opportunity to present for 5 minutes on their dissertation research, followed by short responses from other panelists and open discussion. If you are an advanced graduate student and interested in talking succinctly about your research in this session, please submit a paper proposal through the PAPERS system with the abstract and proposal the same text and length (maximum 150 words) and indicate that your submission is for this special session format at the top of the proposal;
● joy, life, love, beauty in Islamic and Muslim contexts
●Indigeneity, Settler-Colonialism, and Decoloniality in Islamic Studies"?]
●Islamic Studies beyond the North American academy; perspectives from the Global South
●methods in studying Islam/Muslims through social media, digital ethnography, and other digital mediums
●co-sponsored panel with Cultural History of Religion Unit: Twenty Years Since the Towers: 9/11 as an Event in the History of the Discipline —The 2001 al-Qaeda attacks on various US sites were not just an event of political and cultural significance, prompting virulent Islamophobia, new regimes of profiling and racializing religion, and a reformulation of US empire. It was also a major event in the history of the study of religion, prompting several long-overdue reckonings in the discipline. The years that followed saw a thoroughgoing critique of the secularization thesis; a renewed engagement with questions of religious literacy and public scholarship; and a sophisticated new body of work across the various fields of Islamic studies. We invite paper and panel proposals that revisit this formative moment on the occasion of its twentieth anniversary. What histories of this moment have yet to be told? What opportunities were missed? Where do we stand now?

Mission Statement:

This Unit is a home for the academic study of Islam within the AAR. This Unit encompasses various approaches and subjects, from Qur’anic studies to modern reform movements and from textual research to sociology. The Unit also has enduring interests in pedagogical issues associated with the teaching of Islam and prioritizes, through two signature sessions, mentoring of early-career scholars. The purpose of the Unit is both to provide a forum for dialogue among differing approaches and projects within Islamic studies and also to provide opportunities for the discussion of work that affects the overall field of the study of religion. We normally meet for five to seven sessions at each Annual Meeting. We often coordinate our work with other Islam-related AAR Program Units, including the Contemporary Islam Unit, the Islam, Gender, Women Unit, the Islamic Mysticism Unit, Teaching Islamophobia Unit, and the Qur’an Unit.

Method of Submission:




Zaid Adhami, za2@williams.edu

Elliott Bazzano, bazzanea@lemoyne.edu


Steering Committee:

Shatha Almutawa, skalmuttawa@yahoo.com

Samah Choudhury, schoudhury@ithaca.edu

Shankar Nair, san2k@virginia.edu

Kristian Petersen, kristianpetersen20@mac.com

Walid Saleh, walid.saleh@utoronto.ca


Session Allotment: Tier 5 – Three 2-hour sessions and three 90-minute sessions

Next Review: 2025