Call for Papers

Unsettling Colonial Modernity: Islamicate Contexts in Focus  

University of Alberta
April 24-25, 2015

Keynote speakers: Dr. Sherene Razack*, Dr. Parin Dossa*

Submission Deadline: Dec. 15, 2014

 The late-19th century acceleration of European colonialism in the Middle East and North Africa gave rise to a range of cultural, sociopolitical, and socioeconomic projects seeking to restructure Islamicate societies after modern Europe. Such Eurocentric projects were predominantly advanced through subordinating Islamicate traditions, cultures, and identities. This traumatic historical experience evokes the image of a Muslim other laid on the Procrustean bed of European modernity; Islamicate traditions, cultures, and identities were either stretched out of shape or sawed off so that they would fit the hegemonic conception of modernity.

This homogenizing conception of modernity, however, has faced serious challenges from within and without its European bedrock. Critics have problematized the unilinear view of historical progress in the discourse of Enlightenment modernity and its homogenizing universalism; they have also highlighted the (in)formal colonial trajectory of European modernity in non-European contexts. Out of these critical engagements, have emerged counterdiscourses such as “indigenous modernities”, “multiple modernities”, and “alternative modernities”, as well as a rich body of literature provincializing Europe, historicizing lived experiences of European modernity, and unveiling its darker side. These critiques have opened up new possibilities for transcending false binary oppositions of West/East, modernity/tradition, secular/sacred, and culture/nature.

The organizing committee of this interdisciplinary conference invites contributions to the current rethinking of post-19th century identity formations and sociopolitical transmutations in Islamicate contexts (both national and diasporic) vis-à-vis the colonial project of modernity. We are particularly interested in examining practical implications as well as challenges and prospects of such dialogical investigations. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Modern nation-building and its discontents
  • Postcolonialism, indigeneity, and decoloniality
  • Narrative resistance
  • Feminist theories of experience and first-person knowledge
  • Identity politics and intersectionality
  • Subjectivity, theories of the self, and narrative identities
  • Racialization and epistemologies of ignorance
  • Trauma, affect, memory, and their link to identity
  • The return of the repressed in myth, phantasy, and neurosis  
  • Islamophobia in the “War on Terror” era
  • Orientalization of diasporic identities in popular culture  
  • Radical pedagogies in interrogating Islamophobia/orientalism
  • Religion, secularism, and democracy
  • Orientalism and occidentalism
  • Critical race and whiteness studies
  • Marxist literary criticism
  • Critical (ir)realism
  • Technophobia, eco-criticism, and post-apocalyptic literature
  • Post-modernism as the return of Romanticism
  • Globalization and socio-economic development

Contributions can take the form of papers or posters. Please send abstracts (150-200 words for posters; 300-500 words for papers), along with a short bio of author(s), to by December 15, 2014. Decisions on selected proposals will be sent out early January 2015. Presenters whose abstracts are accepted must submit their papers (3000-5000 words) or posters (2-4 slides) by March 27, 2015, one month prior to the conference date.

A selection of papers presented at the conference will be published in a peer-reviewed, edited volume. A final draft of selected papers is to be submitted within two months after the conference.

Should you have any questions or require more information, please contact us via email at, or visit

*Dr. Sherene Razack is Professor of Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. For more information about Dr. Razack please visit the Keynote page.

*Dr. Parin Dossa is Professor of Anthropology and Associate Member in the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, at Simon Fraser University. For more information about Dr. Dossa please visit the Keynote page.



Call for Posters (Undergraduate Session) 

Dear enthusiastic undergraduate students,


The organizing  committee of “Unsettling Colonial Modernity: Islamicate Contexts in Focus” (UCM 2015), in collaboration with AP!RG, is accepting undergraduate posters for presentation at the conference!

UCM  is an anti-­‐colonial, anti-­‐racism scholarly initiative that focuses on historical and contemporary issues in what may be referred to as “Islamicate Contexts”. Featuring keynote speakers: Sherene Razack and Parin Dossa, prominent race scholars in Canada.

Why  Islamicate?

Marshal G.S. Hodgson, an Islamic studies scholar at the University of Chicago, in using the term “Islamicate” (instead of Islamic) for describing the cultural practices associated with Islam as a religion. In order to note the Euro-­‐American character of the literature on Islamic studies, Hodgson proposes a shift of focus in this discourse. In doing so, he opens up new academic research directions for the study of  cultural practices that are not strictly speaking religious, in regions with dominant muslim populations.

A good example of such cultural practices is wine poetry in Iranian literature. He examines these kinds of cultural  practices under the general rubric “Islamicate”.

“Unsettling  Colonial Modernity: Islamicate Contexts in Focus” (UCM 2015)

UCM  is the first international academic conference at the University of Alberta with this specific anti-­-colonial focus. For more information about the purposes of the project, please visit the UCM website and read our Call for Papers

Undergraduate Poster Session:

Selected  (individual or group) poster presenters will have the opportunity to present their academic, activist and/or ethnographic (personal) conceptions in   an interdisciplinary international conference in Edmonton and get feedback on their works-­‐in-­‐progress from the broad range of its participants and audience.

The  submitted poster abstracts will be selected on the basis of the clarity and the novelty of the ideas they present. Selected posters will be  printed (free of charge) for presentation during the conference. The printed versions of posters will remain on the conference venue for the entire duration of the conference and will be yours to keep afterwards. *Please note: Organizers will provide support in creating the posters if needed.

Selected  poster presenters will be   given a couple of minutes to deliver the main idea of their posters in   a half-­‐an-­‐hour “Digital Poster Presentation Session” at the beginning of the conference. The main idea of a “Digital Poster Presentation Session” is  to create a lively and intellectually challenging environment for undergraduate students to relate their ideas to a sophisticated audience and to invite discussions of

their   ideas during the conference. The organizing committee of the conference will assign the posters to the  10 panels of the conference, and will invite poster presenters to join the discussions of the panels relevant to their work.

Please send posters abstracts of 150-­‐200 words, along with a short bio of the author(s) to or by April 18th 2015. Decisions regarding selected posters will be made by April 21st.

For  more information please see the UCM 2015 website

Conference Program


Recent Posts

20% Discount for Online Purchase

Many thanks to everyone who came out to last week’s Toronto book launch and made it a fun evening. We had a lovely time with you all and missed those who could not make it.

We look forward to hearing your comments and thoughts on the book itself in the next few months. For those of you who are interested in purchasing the book or wish to recommend its purchase to your campus or community library, please note that there is a 20% discount available for those who order the book online through the publishers’ website.

To use this discount, simply go the publisher’s website and use the discount code unsettling20:

Hopefully, the discount will make this great selection of essays widely available to anti-colonial scholars, activist, and all those with a passion and commitment for decolonization, broadly speaking.

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