The Public Role of Muslim Intellectuals: Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Challenges

Conference Date: 
Monday, April 30, 2012 - 10:15

Convened by Pegah Zohouri Haghian and Olivia Luce, Middle East Centre and History Faculty, University of Oxford.

Conference Abstract

The field of Islamic intellectual history is often neglected as a subcategory of Middle Eastern Studies. The Arab Spring has shown how the contemporary focus is dominated by socio-political factors, while the intellectual dimension contextualizes these contemporary events within the evolving historical dialogues on religion, government and society which have occupied Muslim thinkers for centuries. There is therefore a need to bring greater recognition to the value of this academic field, developing our understanding of both contemporary and historical events.

Despite often acting as representatives of civil society, mediators with government and intellectual innovators, challenging or reasserting the status quo, Muslim intellectuals are rarely afforded proportionate academic significance. This conference thus seeks to explore the category of a Muslim intellectual and their function within the public domain; Deliberating their public role engenders further debate on the challenges faced by Muslim intellectuals today. It will also permit greater focus on the framework under which they are perceived and studied in the scholarship and in the media.

Thank you!

We would like to thank everyone who was involved in making the conference a success.

In particular we would like to thank The St Antony's Development Fund and Middle East Centre for financing the conference.

Our thanks also go to:

  • Michael Willis and Julia Cook at the Middle East Centre for their support throughout the conference
  • Kärin Leighton and Jane Smith for their administrative assistance
  • Rowena Abdul Razak, Meighen McCrae, Tania Saeed and Anoush Modarresi for their help on the day
  • Suzie Grange for all her tireless website help and expertise
  • All the speakers and chairs for their respective contributions to the day
  • And of course to all those of you who expressed an interest, turned up on the day, listened and contributed to the overall debate

Thank you all.

Facebook Event:


The Nissan Lecture Theatre and Fellow’s Dining Room, St. Anthony's College
62 Woodstock Road
Oxford OX2 6JF
United Kingdom

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