Islamic studies – scientific or confessional? A contested university subject

ERI 144
Monday 19 March 2018 (12:00-14:00)

Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Seminar Series 2017/18

Monday 19 March 2018, 12:00-14:00 in ERI 144. All welcome!


Teaching and researching Islam in western universities has often been accused of being an instrument of western expansion, expressed most strongly in the debate around Orientalism. Especially sensitive has been an insistence by Muslims that only Muslims are qualified to teach Islam. This is too simplistic. The history of Islamic studies in European universities shows a variety of motivations and approaches. In recent decades pressures on the subject have changed further, partly because a growing number of Muslim students have entered the subject. While the 'market' thus has put pressure on the subject so, in recent years, have government concerns about security. The paper will look at different European responses to this situation and will reflect on the interaction between academic and confessional expectations.