[P4762] Tradition and Modernity: Reform, Gender, and Neo-traditionalism in Egypt and beyond

Created by Mark Sedgwick
Tuesday, 11/21/17 10:30am

SUMMARY:

The panel looks at the uses and status of tradition in modern and contemporary Islam, with especial reference to the nature of modernity. How is tradition incorporated into modernity, and what relationship does modernity have with tradition? How should both tradition and modernity be best understood? To answer these questions, the panel takes a multidisciplinary approach, drawing on sociology, gender studies, textual sources, and ethnographic fieldwork. All papers are both grounded in empirical work (textual or ethnographic) and theoretically sophisticated. Egypt is considered in three of the four papers, but given the global nature of contemporary Islam, other areas are also considered, from Turkey and Yemen to Berkeley, California, and Cambridge, England.

The first paper sets the scene by critically reflecting upon Shmuel Eisenstadt's concept of multiple modernities, arguing that this can help us understand the role of tradition in modern Islamic social imaginations. It places this argument within the context of the attempted construction of one form of Islamic modernity by the nineteenth-century Islamic reform movement in Egypt, Turkey and South Asia. The second paper moves forward chronologically to one of the consequences of this period, the 1929 personal status law in Egypt, arguing that the modernization of the Egyptian legal system narrowed the construction of Islamic religious traditions, and that this helped ease male anxiety about the effects that modernization had on women. The third and fourth papers then move on to the present day, looking at the Neo-traditionalist network that spans both Muslim world and West. One paper looks at this network in general, asking how its relationship with modernity can best be understood, and arguing that the concept of multiple modernities facilitates a productive understanding of Neo-traditionalism as postmodernism. The other paper looks more specifically at the use of Islamic tradition, using ethnographic methods to argue that while this is central to Neo-traditionalism in theory, in practice what is in fact central is not so much this, as the role of the shaykh.

DISCIPLINES:

Socio

ABSTRACTS:

MEMBERS:

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Mervat Hatem

(Howard University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;
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Mark Sedgwick

(Aarhus University)
Mark Sedgwick teaches at Aarhus University in Denmark.
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Morten Valbjorn

(Aarhus University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair;
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Dietrich Jung

(University of Southern Denmark)
Dietrich Jung is a Professor and Head of Department at the Center for Contemporary Middle East Studies, University of Southern Denmark. He holds a MA in Political Science and Islamic Studies, as well as a Ph.D. in Political Science from University of...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Kirstine Sinclair

(University of Southern Denmark)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;