(Kirstine Sinclair, University of Southern Denmark)
The societal role of religion in the Muslim world has raised an intense scholarly and public debate, which almost entirely has directed our attention toward “political Islam,” i.e. the desire of Islamist social movements for implementing a social order based on Islamic principles. In light of this preoccupation on Islam and politics, this subproject aims at a change of perspective. Instead of focusing on politics it will address the societal role of Islam in cultural terms. It will address the formation of modern Muslim subjectivities as historically specific cultural types, understanding culture as a complex discursive mesh of orders of knowledge, systems of meaning and classification, as well as social practices. More precisely, this project will analyze the formation of meaningful selves in the educational context of Islamic Universities in Europe and the United States. The specific aim of the project is to investigate how Islamic universities in the West both facilitate and condition the formation of Muslim subjectivities. This will be done through analyses of two universities’ curricula, the background of the institutions, their values and aims, as well as through interviews with members of the leadership, faculty and students. Alongside the textually founded analyses and interviews, observation of teaching and extra-curricular activities on campus will take place.