The Program Schedule of Our Organization’s 39th Academic

39th Conference 2010


"Cosmopolitan Islam: Globalization, Transnationalism and Muslim Diasporas"

The 39th Annual Conference of the Association of
Muslim Social Scientists of North America (AMSS)

Cosponsored By:
DePaul University
Islamic World Studies Program
The Journal of Islamic Law and Culture
Chicago, IL
September 25, 2010

Abstracts: May 31, 2010
Papers: September 1, 2010

Islam and Muslim communities continually face new challenges within a global postmodern world that is increasingly shaped by imperialist wars, racial securitization and neo-liberal economic policies that create Manichean social, economic and political divides. These perilous developments have lead to social and demographic ruptures that are re-shaping western nations as Muslim migrants continue to settle and create diasporic communities that challenge settled notions of nation, citizenship and belonging. Along with these challenges come attendant possibilities to construct more explicit cosmopolitan visions of Islam as part of this new global landscape. However, while current common understandings of Islam are inordinately shaped by the focus on Islamist radicalism and the war on terror, the basis for Islamic social justice, liberatory spirituality and cosmopolitan ethics need to be vigorously examined and asserted.

The conference will engage themes related to the study of Islam and Muslim societies that address global citizenship, religious and cultural pluralism, transnational activism, social movements, dialogical encounters and solidarity as they are shaped within the global post modern context and the related politics of global war, militarism, securitization and neo-liberalism.

With this broad set of issues in mind, we invite a diverse range of scholarly papers from the humanities and social sciences, to engage aspects of the above questions and address or integrate any of the following sub-themes:

  • Transnationalism and Cosmopolitanism: Identities, Solidarities and Social Movements
  • Muslim Diasporas: Identities, Politics and Challenges and Possibilities
  • Globalization, Empire and the “War on Terror”
  • Islam, Human Rights, Social Justice, and Peace
  • Mediating Difference: Dialogical Encounters
  • Islam, National/Global Citizenship, and Challenges of Governance
  • Race, Securitization, Immigration and State Policies
  • Multiculturalism, Religion and the Public Sphere
  • International Development/Peace and Conflict/ Refugee Studies
  • Bases for Cosmopolitan Identification in the Qur’an and Sunnah
  • Manifestations of (and Challenges to) Cosmopolitanism in Classical Islamic Civilization
  • Past and Present Forms of Cultural Pluralism and Religious Coexistence
  • Cosmopolitan Sentiments in Classical Islamic Poetry and Mysticism
  • Islamic Evaluations of the Western Cosmopolitan and Humanist Traditions
  • Construction of Contemporary Muslim Identity in Muslim Majority and Diaspora Communities (e.g., Puritanism, Hybridity, Traditionalism)
  • Gender and Cosmopolitan Identity
  • Muslim Responses to Nationalism, Racism, and Tribalism (asabiyya)
  • Transnational/Diasporic Media

Abstracts (300 words) are due by May 31, 2010. Abstracts will be evaluated according to the following categories: originality of theme, clear methodology, clarity and relevance of the proposal to the conference theme. Accepted proposals will be announced within 10 days. Final papers must be submitted by September 1, 2010 to be included in the conference program. Send abstracts and papers to Conference Coordinator, Ms. Layla Sein, at

Program Chair:
Prof. Aminah B. McCloud, DePaul University, Chicago, IL

The AMSS is open to Muslims and non-Muslims. For information on AMSS events, and conference updates, visit

North American Association of Islamic and Muslim studies.

Conference Program

The 39th AMSS Annual Conference

“Cosmopolitan Islam: Globalization
Transnationalism and Muslim Diasporas”

 Cosponsored By:
Islamic World Studies Program
The Journal of Islamic Law and Culture
DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Saturday, September 25, 2010
[Conference Venue: DePaul University’s School for New Learning
14 E. Jackson Blvd, Rooms 805-806, Chicago, IL 60604]


8:00 – 9:00 a.m.                      Registration
9:00 – 9:20 a.m.                      Welcoming and Introductory Remarks

Aminah B. McCloud, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
(Program Chair)

Ali A. Mazrui, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
(AMSS President)

9:20 – 10:45 a.m.                    Panel 1                        [14 E. Jackson Blvd: Rooms 805-806]
Cosmopolitan Islam: Identity Issues
Moderator & Discussant: Jasmin Zine, Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, Canada

Babacar Mbengue (DePaul University, Chicago, IL): “Transnational Islam, Migrancy and Cultural Congruence: The Case of West African Muslims in the United States”  Abstract  /  Final Paper  / Bio
Muna Ali (Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ): “Pre-9/11, I felt like an Average American … Now I’m a group with Hippies and Punks”  Abstract  /  Bio
Shabana Mir (Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK): “Clarifying Your Way through America: Civic and Muslim Identities on Campus” Abstract  /  Bio

10:45 – 11:00 a.m.                   Break

11:00 a.m. 12:30 p.m.             Panel 2                       [14 E. Jackson Blvd: Rooms 805-806]
Muslim Diasporas: Defining Cosmopolitanism and its Influence on Identities
Moderator & Discussant: Aminah B. McCloud, DePaul University, Chicago, IL

Hishaam Aidi (Columbia University, New York, NY): “Cosmopolitanism and Muslim Youth Movements in France” 
Abstract  /  Bio

Mazen Hashem (American Center for Civilizational and Intercultural Studies [ACCIS], La Canada, CA): “Cultural Resilience and Ethnic Well-Being: Implications for American Muslims” Abstract  /  Bio

Helena Zeweri (New York University, New York, NY): “Defining ‘Afghanness’: Performing and Claiming Afghan Identity within the New York Afghan Diaspora”   Abstract  /  Bio

12:30 - 1:00 p.m.

Luncheon Buffet
[Downtown Islamic Center of Chicago
231 S. State Street – Second Floor]

1:00 – 1:30 p.m.       

Video Conference Presentation
[14 E. Jackson Blvd: Rooms 805-806]
Karim El Mantawi - Outreach Officer Soliya
New York, NY
“Soliya: Cross-Cultural Educational Experience”

                                                                           Abstract  /  Bio

1:30 – 1:45 p.m.

Break & Dhur Prayer
[Downtown Islamic Center of Chicago
231 S. State Street – Fourth Floor]
1:45 – 3:15 p.m.                      Panel 3                       [14 E. Jackson Blvd: Rooms 805-806]
Muslim Cosmopolitanism: Interpreting Islam
Moderator & Discussant: Khaled Keshk, DePaul University, Chicago, IL

Besheer Mohamed (University of Chicago, Chicago, IL): “Islamic Extremism and Religiosity: A Multi-dimensional Model of Religiosity for Muslims in the United States”  Abstract  /  Bio

Ermin Sinanovic (United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD): “Muslim Cosmopolitanism in a Globalizing World” Abstract  /  Bio

Kenan Cetinkaya (Temple University, Philadelphia, PA): “Ren and Imán: A Comparative Approach to Confucian and Islamic Virtues”  Abstract  /  Final Paper  / Bio

3:15 – 3:30 p.m.                      Break

3:30 – 5:00 p.m.                     Panel 4                       [14 E. Jackson Blvd: Rooms 805-806]
Challenges of Globalization in Muslim Diasporas

Saeed A. Khan (Wayne State University, Detroit, MI): “Examining the Transnational through the Transatlantic: An Assessment of the Muslim Diaspora in Europe and North America through World System Analysis”  Abstract  /  Bio

Zareena A. Grewal (Yale University, New Haven, CT): “Ummah Debates: American Student-Travelers in the Middle East”
Abstract /  Bio

Junaid S. Ahmad (University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa): “Native Informants and Neo-Orientalism in the ‘War on Terror’ Discourse in Pakistan" Abstract  /  Bio

5:30 - 5:45 p.m.                                                      Concluding Remarks

Ali A. Mazrui, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
(AMSS President)
Aminah B. McCloud, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
(Program Chair)

5:45 – 6:00 p.m.        

Break and Asr Prayer
[Downtown Islamic Center of Chicago
231 S. State Street – Fourth Floor]
6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Annual Grand Meeting - Open to Public
[14 E. Jackson Blvd: Rooms 805-806]

7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Annual Banquet
The Palmer House Hilton Hotel, Honore Ballroom
[17 E. Monroe Street, Chicago, IL]Ismail Raji al-Faruqi Memorial Lecture:Keynote Speaker:
Saskia Sassen
Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, and member,
Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University, New York, NY

Keynote Address:
“Transnationalized Religions and Renationalized States”
Abstract  /  Bio

North American Association of Islamic and Muslim studies.

Conference Report

"Cosmopolitan Islam: Globalization,
Transnationalism and Muslim Diasporas"

The 39th Annual AMSS Conference, held at DePaul University in Chicago, continued its tradition of exploring cutting edge scholarly issues by examining the notion of Islam’s inherently cosmopolitan nature, focusing upon its transnational and diasporic dimensions in the age of globalization. Welcomed by Conference Chair, Dr. Aminah McCloud of the host institution, this one day symposium was rich in the generation and development of new ideas and concepts and the stimulation of vibrant discussion and debate among the participants and attendees. With four panels featuring twelve presenters, the one-day conference was a concise, yet highly concentrated and comprehensive effort to identify, define and examine the major debates within an ever evolving subject of how diaspora communities face the challenges of an equally unstatic world and society in which they seek to find space and agency.

The opening session, Cosmopolitan Islam: Identity Issues, addressed a central component of inquiry in the field, identity politics, as it pertains to the Muslim experience. Babacar Mbengue (DePaul) surveyed how migration, transnationalism and multiple cultures have impacted upon the West African Muslim community currently in the United States. For Muslims in the United States, the spatial is not the only perspective for study available; the temporal is equally germane, as presented by Muna Ali (Arizona State). Ali presented on the self-perception of Muslim Americans before 9/11, a sense of enfranchisement as part of the mainstream American fabric, and their marginalization to a counterculture other after September, 2001. Shabana Mir (Oklahoma State) demonstrated how college and university campuses are an important locus of contestation of identity issues for Muslim American women, especially through socialization challenges on campus.

The afternoon sessions began with a thematic continuation of issues explored earlier in the day. The panel, Muslim Diasporas: Defining Cosmopolitanism and its Influence on Identities, delved into specific communities within the Muslim diaspora of the West to demonstrate how identity is a fluid, yet powerful factor for these communities. At the same time, there was also attention paid to prescriptives to facilitate challenges associated with identity politics. Hishaam Aidi (Columbia) discussed the negotiation of identity politics for young Muslims of North African descent in France and their ability to appropriate counterculture tropes in response to a perceived hostile dominant society. The importance of well-being, emotionally, culturally and otherwise was the topic of a presentation by Mazen Hashem (ACCIS), who argued that the successful navigation of identity currents requires the stabilizing force of well-being. Helena Zeveri (NYU) maintained the panel’s attention on identity construction for the Muslim diaspora by assessing how it is formed among the Afghan community in New York City.

A key issue of cosmopolitanism is interpretation. On the panel, Muslim Cosmopolitanism: Interpreting Islam, Besheer Mohamed (Chicago) presented on the perceived correlation between extremism and religiosity among Muslims in the United States. Ermin Sinanovic (United States Naval Academy) approached the topic through a theoretical lens, proffering cosmopolitanism as a more accurate term than alternatives such as liberalism and other western constructs. Similarly, Kenan Cetinkaya (Temple) drew comparisons and parallels across faith traditions. Cetinkaya argued that there are many similarities between the Confucian concept of Ren and the Islamic notion of Iman as virtues in their respective religious beliefs.

The effects of globalization inform Muslim perceptions of self and society in profound ways. On the panel, Challenges of Globalization in Muslim Diasporas, Saeed Khan (Wayne State) offered a new theoretical approach to examine Muslims in the west by applying world systems theory in a translatlantic context. Zareena Grewal (Yale) explored how students that travel outside the United States are affected by their experiences in shaping their Muslim identity, while Junaid Ahmad (Cape Town) reviewed the impact of foreign political and military forces on shaping neo-Orientalist perspectives among Pakistan’s liberal elites who ostensibly guide the country’s civil society and public opinion.

AMSS President, Dr. Ali Mazrui, brought the day’s proceedings to a close with a succinct summary of the papers and ideas presented. The conference then came to a resounding conclusion at the evening banquet, featuring Columbia University’s Dr. Saskia Sassen delivering a riveting keynote address, as the Ismail Raji al-Faruqi Memorial Lecture, on “Transnationalized Religions and Renationalized States.” Dr. Sassen’s vast scholarship as a renowned sociologist and pioneer in globalization theory was well on display through her assessment of current trends regarding the complex connection of territory, authority and rights for the Muslim world as well as for a global context. Following her well received remarks, Dr. Sassen welcomed a lively question-answer session from the banquet guests.

Although only a single day event this year, the 39th Annual AMSS Conference yielded a memorable array of papers that furnished provocative and insightful scholarship that should contribute greatly to the existing field of knowledge. The conference benefited greatly from the interactive and informal nature of discussions, a long tradition and feature of AMSS conferences, that includes presenters, panel chairs and discussants, as well as attendees alike.

Saeed A. Khan, Ph.D Candidate, Department of History
Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Member at Large (AMSS Board of Directors)