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The "Muslim World": The Invention of a Geopolitical Idea

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SFU Harbour Centre Campus Vancouver

515 West Hastings Street

1420 Segal Centre

Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3

Canada

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Welcome to our second lecture of the 2018-2019 Annual Lecture Series, to be delivered by Dr. Cemil Aydin.

Dr. Aydin completed his PhD at Harvard University and is currently a professor at the University of Northern Carolina with the Department of History. His interests focus on both Modern Middle Eastern History and Modern Asian history, with an emphasis on the international and intellectual histories of the Ottoman and Japanese Empires. He is particularly interested in historical processes that shape transnational racial and civilizational identities, such as Muslim, Asian, African. His research and publications offer new ways to understand the historical roots of the contemporary world order by describing the process of imperial era conflicts and decolonization, especially from the perspective of non-Western actors of the Muslim world and East Asia. Other research and teaching interests deal with questions of internationalism and orientalism, and modern world history.

This lecture will discuss how our assumptions about a united Muslim World emerged in the second half of the 19th century, and why it is still so widespread in today’s world. By looking at the evolution of the narratives about the Pan-Islamic Muslim solidarity from the 1880s to the 1980s, the lecture will clarify changing content of the idea of Muslim solidarity over three generations of Muslim intellectuals and politicians. Although historical actors invent a narrative of continuity of Muslim unity and connectivity, Pan-Islamism itself was a product of the contradictions of the age of racialized empires, and it went through radical meaning shifts, political instrumentalization, and reinventions over a century. Attention to each period, identified with Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid, Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal, and Iran’s Ayatullah Khomeini, can teach us about the story of Pan-nationalism, Muslim international and racial thinking on Muslim societies in modern intellectual and international history.

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SFU Harbour Centre Campus Vancouver

515 West Hastings Street

1420 Segal Centre

Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3

Canada

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