CMES Research Seminar: Creating an Alternative Umma - Clerical Authority and Religio-Political Mobilisation in Transnational Shii Islam
Oliver Scharbrodt gives a talk on clerical authority and religio-political mobilisation in transnational Shii Islam.
This seminar presentation introduces the interdisciplinary project Oliver Scharbrodt is leading and presents some of its initial results. Funded by the European Research Council (ERC), the project investigates the transformation of Shii Islam in the Middle East and Europe since the 1950s and examines the formation of modern Shii communal identities and the role Shii clerical authorities and their transnational networks have played in their religio-political mobilisation. The project focusses on Iran, Iraq and significant but unexplored diasporic links to Syria, Kuwait and Britain. In response to the rise of modern nation-states in the Middle East, Shii clerical authorities resorted to a wide range of activities: (a) articulating intellectual responses to the ideologies underpinning modern Middle Eastern nation-states, (b) forming political parties and other platforms of socio-political activism and (c) using various forms of cultural production by systematising and promoting Shii ritual practices and utilising visual art, poetry and new media.
Oliver Scharbrodt is the newly appointed Professor of Islamic Studies in History of Religions and Religious Behavioural Science at the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University. His research covers the intellectual history of modern Islam, Sufism, Twelver Shiism and Muslim minorities in Europe. He is the author of Islam and the Baha’i Faith: A Comparative Study of Muhammad ‘Abduh and ‘Abdul-Baha ‘Abbas (London: Routledge, 2008) and co-authored Muslims in Ireland: Past and Present (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015). From 2014 until 2019, he was the editor-in-chief of the Yearbook of Muslims in Europe (Leiden: Brill) and remained member of its editorial board until 2021. His forthcoming book on the 19th century Egyptian reformer Muhammad ‘Abduh (London: Bloomsbury, 2022) illustrates his complex engagement with Islam’s diverse intellectual traditions in his reformist discourse. Currently, he leads a project, funded by the European Research Council (ERC), investigating the transformation of clerical authority in Twelver Shiism since the late 1950s.
The talk is presented at CMES, Finngatan 16. If you are not able to attend in-person, there is an option to attend via Zoom. Please register here for Zoom attendance: https://lu-se.zoom.us/meeting/register/u5wtdOugqD8rHNYGkOEU-CLgNc9ACuOSq16s