Friday, April 3, 2015

Zaytuna College Conference (Livestreamed) Tomorrow: Forging Islamic Authority: Navigating Text and Context in the Modern World

The Muslim world is in crisis, and the crisis is multi-layered. In many ways, the crisis revolves around the issue of Islamic authority. If international law recognizes nation states, what role is there for solidarity on the basis of a trans-national ummah? With national boundaries, to what extent can Muslims have solidarity with non-Muslims, whether as minorities in non-Muslim lands or in countries with a Muslim majority? Are there limits to a believer’s allegiance to a secular state? What texts are to be considered authoritative when approaching these questions? And is there one locus or multiple loci for legitimate interpretive authority? While the focus of the public discourse remains on the headlines, a much deeper epistemic debate is at hand centering on re-constituting Islamic authority in the post-Ottoman, nationalist and post-colonial periods. The complexity of this debate is muddled by a set of external circumstances that impinge into a scholar’s inner sanctum: globalization, neoliberal economics, corporatization, and commodification of knowledge, all of which challenge traditional frameworks for analysis and modes of transmission. Attempts at re-constituting Islamic authority have taken many forms but questions still remain. Indeed, we have arrived at a point where Islamic authority is limited, non-existent, sidelined, or mocked due to engagement in tangential and inconsequential debates. Where are we? Who are “we?” And where are we going?
To view the free livestream, please visit this page on Saturday, April 4, 2015 at 8 a.m. PDT.