The Institute of Islamic Studies will launch in Fall 2020 a new research collected entitled Reading Muslims. Supported with a recently awarded grant from UofT’s Connaught Global Challenge Fund, Reading Muslims will be lead by Co-PIs Anver M. Emon and IIS Post-Doctoral Fellow Youcef Soufi. Over the next two years, Reading Muslims will host a series of workshops (online and later in-person, public health permitting) that will adopt multi-disciplinary perspectives to the issue of textuality. As those in Islamic studies are well aware, the text (often Arabic, but also Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Swahili, Bahassa, and others) features prominently in scholarship on Islam. But as considerable innovations in anthropology have centred ethnographic analysis of embodied Muslim practice(s), the text assumes a different place in much leading scholarship today. Yet it continues to inform how Muslims convey meaning across their communities, and even how modern States, in the name of national security, infer “intent” or “purpose” when prosecuting suspected terrorists.
Reading Muslims will bring together an international group of scholars as well as key community partners to reflect on the text as both historical artifact, content purveyor, and site upon which different and distinct power relations operate.