Trajectories of Global Islam

Tuesday, June 4, 2024 - 12:00 to 13:45

Trajectories of Global Islam - Religious Diplomacy Seminar


Sadia Abbas

Rutgers University


June 4, 2024



Siena, MattioliBuilding

Via Mattioli 10,Siena

Aula seminario –Second floor


For info and registration

Marco Ventura



Drawing from postcolonial studies, Sadia Abbas offersintroductory remarks on Islam as a discursive site for debating central tensions and aporias inmodernity. As a product of complex histories of identity and struggle, bothlocal and global, Islam is a multifaceted religion that is tied through complexcolonial histories to Western perspectives on concepts such as secularism,gender, individualism, political and economic liberalism. In this sense, Islamis ‘global’ not only because it is a world religion, but also due to the waythat varieties of Muslim practices and experiences have been shaped byWestern-centric narratives on law and politics generally, and freedom inparticular. From this vantage point, Islam in the West is generally overlookedas a potential resource that could foster change in the assumptions, valuejudgments, and actions of modern societies that are constituted by multipleencounters with Islam bithw withn Europe and American and outside. Often seenas a site of otherness, rethinking Islam from Abbas’ viewpoint opens avenuesfor rethinking the role of Islam and Muslims in global politis, diplomacy andwithin diasporic communities. This shift in perspective prompts explorationinto what it could mean for the common objective of peace if international andEuropean organisations engaged more creatively with Muslim partners both withinthe West and outside.



Sadia Abbas grew up in Karachi and Singapore, lives in NewYork and spends all the time she can in Lesbos, Greece and Siena, Italy. Shehas served as director of the Center for European Studies at Rutgers-NewBrunswick and associate professor of postcolonial studies at RutgersUniversity-Newark. She is the author of At Freedom’s Limit: Islam and thePostcolonial Predicament, winner of the MLA first book award, and the novelThe Empty Room, shortlisted for the DSC prize for South AsianLiterature, and co-editor (with Jan Howard of the RISD museum) of ShahziaSikander: Extraordinary Realities, a volume on Shahzia Sikander’s art,which was listed as one the best art books of 2021 by the New York Times.  She has written numerous essays on subjectsincluding Jesuit poetics and Catholic martyrdom in Early Modern English poetry,neoliberalism and the Greek debt crisis, Pakistani art, the uses of Reformationin contemporary Muslim thought, and Jewish converts to Islam and treatments ofsubjectivity in contemporary theorizations of Muslim female agency. She hasalso written essays and opinion pieces for Dawn and Daily Times (the Pakistanidailies), Naya Daur, OpenDemocracy, CommonDreams and TANK magazine. She iscurrently completing, Revenant Ruin: Colonialism and the Management of Lifeabout the connected afterlives of ruins and monuments in India, Greece and theAmericas and their role in the production and control of racial, religious andethnic identities and the creation of borders. She is co-founder and co-editorof Ideas and Futures, a multi-media, interdisciplinary e-journal of culture andpolitics and Executive Director of Ideas and Futures:  A Collaborative for Just and VibrantSocieties.