Call for Abstracts: Islam and the Construction of New Economic Moralities

December 11, 2015

June 24-26, 2016, U of CA-Berkeley. Deadline January 18

We are organizing an international mini-conference with the theme, “Islam and the Construction of New Economic Moralities: Divergence, Convergence and Competing Futures.”  The conference will be held at the University of California-Berkeley June 24-26, 2016, as part of a larger SASE conference with the highly relevant theme, “Moral Economies, Economic Moralities.”  Selection of papers will be based on 1000 word extended abstracts, which are due January 18, 2016.  Full papers will be due May 30, 2016.  Three best papers awards will be given, as well as a limited number of travel grants for graduate students.  To learn more about SASE and its annual conference, see https://sase.org

This mini-conference invites contributions from across the social sciences and humanities to reflect on the past, present, and contested futures of Islam’s new financial and economic moralities. As part of the Islamic revival of the 1970s and 1980s, social movements worldwide have pursued multiple strategies to imagine and implement an economic system organized around Islamic values such as social justice, reciprocity and the spiritual, moral, intellectual, social, and material well-being of individuals. This includes the US$2.5 trillion Islamic finance industry and US$1.29 trillion halal food market, not to mention Islamic “modest fashion,” halal pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, and Islamically-marketed travel, recreation, and lifestyle products.  It also includes philanthropic institutions such as pious foundations (waqf) and charities funded by almsgiving (zakah).  Islamic economic practices range from the morally guided everyday practices of individuals to those of multinational corporations and state elites seeking to enter and advance Islamic markets. With the hindsight of forty years, we can observe heterogeneous and explicitly competing Islamic economic moralities, found at various scales of socio-economic organization.

Three overlapping research projects have emerged as a result of the rapid growth of the Islamic economy. First, it has attracted social scientists seeking to document and interpret the historical and contemporary dynamics of this new socio-economic phenomenon. This strand of scholarship studies the emergence of the Islamic economy either on its own terms, or with reference to its convergence and divergence with other economies, be they explicitly moral or otherwise. Second, it has generated research by academics and practitioners to advance this socio-economic project. In this scholarship, Islamic economy is often conceptualized as part of an emerging alternative modernity that explicitly embraces the morality of economic action. Third, it has also generated scholarship critical of Islamic economic practices, particularly in Islamic banking and finance. Much of this third research stream argues that Islamic finance is excessively focused on efficiency and profitability at the expense of Islamic moral values such as equity, fairness, and individual development. Importantly, it debates the extent to which the Islamic finance industry has diverged from Islamic idea(l)s, investigates alternative aspirations for Islamic finance, and deliberates strategies for transforming its current trajectory.

Embracing all three research streams, the conference aims to (i) (re-)examine the key axioms and moral claims of Islamic economy both in theory and as practiced; (ii) explore the economic, social and political dynamics underpinning the various sectors, scales and sites of the Islamic economy; and (iii) interrogate the extent to which the Islamic economy provides a substantive alternative to mainstream economic activity with a special emphasis on the Islamic finance sector. A provisional list of panel topics and indicative research questions can be accessed at the University of Warwick or University of Durham.  King Saud University is providing a limited number of travel grants for graduate students – read the Conference Submissions and Awards Guidelines for more information.

Please note that candidates should send 1000 word abstracts by January 18, 2016 (and not 500 word abstracts, as is typical in other SASE panels).  For additional information on how to submit, please look at https://sase.org/about-sase/conference-submission-and-award-guidelines_fr_25.html

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact any of the three corresponding organizers below:

Mehmet Asutay (Corresponding organizer) Professor in Middle East and Islamic Political Economy and Finance Director, Durham Centre for Islamic Economics and Finance Durham University Business School Durham University, UK Email: mehmet.asutay@durham.ac.uk

Necati Aydin Associate Professor of Economics College of Business, Alfaisal University Associate Director, Islamic Banking Center, King Saud University

Aaron Z. Pitluck (Corresponding organizer) Associate Professor of Sociology, Illinois State University Visiting Scholar, University of Chicago Email: Pitluck@IllinoisState.edu

Lena Rethel (Corresponding organizer) Associate Professor of International Political Economy Department of Politics and International Studies University of Warwick Email: L.Rethel@warwick.ac.uk

Haider Ala Hamoudi Associate Professor of Law Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development University of Pittsburgh

Kabir Hassan Professor of Finance and Hibernia Professor of Economics and Finance Department of Economics and Finance University of New Orleans, USA

Abdullah Q. Turkistani Professor of Islamic Economics Dean Islamic Economics Institute King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia

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