Historical Social Research

44.3 - Islamicate Secularities in Past and Present

HSR Vol. 44 (2019) No. 3: Special Issue: Islamicate Secularities in Past and Present

Special Issue - Markus Dressler, Armando Salvatore & Monika Wohlrab-Sahr (Eds.): Islamicate Secularities in Past and Present.

Partly as a product of encounters with Europe, accelerated in the last roughly 150 years, Islamic societies developed new epistemic distinctions and structural differentiations between religious and non-religious spheres and practices. This special issue conceptualizes these distinctions and differentiations as “Islamicate secularities,” thereby connecting Marshall Hodgson’s notion of the “Islamicate” with the concept of “Multiple Secularities.” The individual contributions address the question of secularity in relation to Islam with a variety of spatial and temporal foci that range from Turkey to China and Indonesia, from the present to the colonial era and even pre-colonial contexts. The issue thus provides an array of perspectives on how Muslims have engaged with religion in relation to social and political conflicts and how this has led to contested reifications of ‘Islam’ and its boundaries, especially in relation to politics. As a preliminary result, a tendency towards ‘soft distinctions,’ kept under the umbrella of ‘Islam,’ emerges.

Engaging the epistemological and political context of debates on the contours of Islam in relation to the social and politics, the collection further provides insights into the theoretical and normative conflicts that shape debates on secularity and Islam in the early 21st century and thus offers stimuli for further innovative research.