Northwestern University

Wed 12:00 PM

Orientalism and Islamism: A Comparative Study of Approaches to Islamic Studies

When: Wednesday, February 4, 2015
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM  

Where: 620 Library Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Program of African Studies   847.491.7323

Group: Program of African Studies

Category: Academic


Abstract: The research addresses the interaction between non-Muslim western writings about Islam (Orientalism) and Muslims’ radical interpretations of Islam (Islamism) and how their discourses have been shaped through reaction to the perceived “other.” Edward Said’s Orientalism though severely criticized diminished Orientalism and the influence of the book continues to rise in the Muslim world just as Islamism becomes violent. The impact of the two ideologies to human knowledge and interactions is enormous and a harmony is crucial to global peace and human understanding. The American intellectual environment and other resources hold the best promise for the study and enhancement of the evolution of the dialogue between these two globally important schools of thought. Correcting long held stereotypes and presuppositions and developing meaningful discourses of Orientalism and Islamism on such issues as mutual understanding, peaceful interactions, modernity would be of strategic importance to international peace and development.

Bio:Ibrahim Haruna Hassan is an associate professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Jos, Nigeria. His teaching and research focus on Islamic sciences as well as Islam in the modern world in general – with specific focus on the intersection of Islamic thought and western political, economic and social thought.
Hassan’s PhD dissertation, at Bayero University, Kano in 2008, Towards an Islamic Theory of Development is published by Lambert, Germany. He participated (2009-2012) in the Religion and Development (RaD) research program of University of Birmingham, UK which explores the relevance of religion in development thought and practices in Europe, Africa and Asia. For his AHP/ACLS fellowship (2010) Hassan published papers on the 'development' thoughts of the Fodio family (18th century Jihad Scholars and founders of the largest polity in African History). Hassan participated in the Minnerva project (2011-2014) of the University of Arizona which seeks to find allies in the war of words - Islamic radicalism and counter-radicalism in Europe and Africa.
Hassan’s current Fulbright research focus is titled “Orientalism and Islamism: A Comparative Study of Approaches to Islamic Studies”. The research explores non-Muslim western writings on Islam and Muslims (Orientalism) and Muslims’ radical interpretation of Islam (Islamism) with a specific focus on how these discourses evolve in American scholarship. The research seeks ‘reading beyond’ Orientalism and beyond ‘Islamism to pursue dialogue between these two globally influential schools of thought.

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