Center for Islamic Theology


Workshop "Conversion to/from Islam in the Balkans and beyond: Historical Comparative Perspectives" in Sarajevo (11.05 - 14.05.17)

Das Zentrum für Islamische Theologie organisiert am 11.05. - 14.05.17 zusammen mit der Fakultät für Islamische Theologie der Universität Sarajevo einen Workshop zum Thema "Conversion to/from Islam in the Balkans and beyond: Historical Comparative Perspectives".

Short description:

Conversion as a process, in which individuals or groups abandon their religions in favour of a new set of beliefs, religious practices and rituals, is a unique tool for the exploration of cultural, social and political identities as well as their definition and construction. In the last decades, conversion has become a flourishing subject in the history of Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations in Europe and beyond. Different theories and approaches have been suggested in order to explicate the historical, social and religious aspects of this phenomenon.

The focus of this workshop is on the European experience of conversion to/from Islam with a primary emphasis on the Balkans and a series of comparative perspectives related to the Iberian Peninsula, Western Russia and the Mediterranean in large, ranging from the Middle Ages to the modern times. By bringing together a cohort of scholars with expertise in the religious and cultural history of these areas, the workshop aims to provide a comparative analysis of historically contemporaneous narratives of conversion and its implications for the construction of religious and political identities.

This workshop will take place in Sarajevo, a city that belongs to a region, i.e. the Balkans, which was and is pivotal to European Islam and interreligious coexistence. What is more, it entails the special Academic interaction of two Faculties with a long-standing scholarly tradition in the study of theology. For these reasons, the intention is to maintain a well-defined focus upon theological and religious issues, implications, and controversies that conversion has stirred within both Muslim and Christian contexts. The workshop will consist of five sessions. Each session will last 1 hour and 30 min. including 45-min. for presentations (case studies, critical approaches to conversion studies, close examinations of sources, comparative perspectives) and 45-min. for interdisciplinary debates.