Institut für Islamwissenschaft und Neuere Orientalische Philologie


Conceptualizing Sectarianization: Public Keynote and Workshop

Donnerstag, 06.09.2018 - Samstag, 08.09.2018

Perspectives on the Dynamics of Ethno-Religious Difference in Studying the Middle East and North Africa

Veranstaltende: Institut für Islamwissenschaft und Neuere Orientalische Philologie
Datum: 06.09.2018 - 08.09.2018
Uhrzeit: 18:15 - 14:00 Uhr
Ort: Public Keynote: F022; Workshop: F-122
Lerchenweg 36
3012 Bern
Merkmale: Öffentlich


Demarcating a given community on the basis of its confessional identity or religious denomination has served as a key instrument in current international Middle Eastern politics. Furthermore, such demarcation of communities has informed the public debate about the Middle East and North Africa, the perception of Islam, its internal diversity as well as its dealing with non-Muslim minorities. Sectarianism, with the emphasis on (ethno-)religious identity has become the key concept to account for conflict, turmoil and war, and applied to so manifold a context as the political system of Lebanon, the war in Syria, and the growing international Sunna-Shiʿa divide. In contrast to the political discourse, recent academic contributions have identified the origins of sectarianism with the modern and colonial period and underlined its various trajectories. Thus, critical scholarship has shifted attention from a general political and essentialist characterization of the Middle East toward studying specific processes of conflicts, formations of ethno-religious identities, and societal fragmentation, and more recently adopted the process-oriented notion of “sectarianization.”

While building upon this path, our workshop invites scholars to revisit the analytical validity of sectarianism which has remained to be taken as either a self-evident category to discuss the region of the Middle East and North Africa or an explanatory framework. Rather, we would like to address specifically what “sectarianization” actually means and discuss possible definitions to the term. To be more specific, our aim is to broadly discuss the interpretive value and analytical validity of “sectarianization” and related concepts such as confessionalization, religious difference, and religious conflict.

Public Keynote "Demystifying 'Sectarianism': Sectarian Identities and the Study of the Middle East"

by Fanar Haddad, Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore

Thursday, 06.09.2018, 18:15, Unitobler, Lerchenweg 36, F022


Friday, 07.09.2018, 09:00 - 19:00 and Saturday, 08.09.2018, 09:00 - 14:00, Unitobler, Lerchenweg 36, F-122