Call for Papers: "The Arab-majority and Muslim-majority Worlds in/and Contemporary Decolonisation Debates"

Street in Jordan, 2018

Roundtable Workshop – Call for Papers

The Arab-majority and Muslim-majority Worlds in/and Contemporary Decolonisation Debates

University of Edinburgh, 5-6 April 2022

In recent years, decolonisation has attracted increasing attention – from student movements to curricular changes – to become a key topic of debate across higher education broadly and the social sciences and humanities disciplines particularly. Within this growing decolonising movement, especially in the Anglo-American academy, the Americas, the Atlantic, and the experiences of the Caribbean heavily figure. A key example of this is the significant oeuvre produced by the Latin American decolonial studies collective seeking to tackle questions ranging from ontology and epistemology to the daily lived: covering the coloniality of knowledge, power, being, gender, and nature (Maldonado-Torres 2017; Mignolo 2011; Grosfoguel 2016; Vázquez 2009). Throughout, indigenous American and Caribbean histories, experiences, and cosmologies have formed key sites of critique as well as of imagining alternatives. Meanwhile, this decolonising movement has seen much less engagement and attention given to other regions of the world, including East Asia, West Asia, and much of the African continent, for example. This workshop seeks to specifically think through this decolonising movement and an engagement with it from the histories, experiences, perspectives, traditions, and problematics of the Arab-majority and Muslim-majority worlds (broadly defined) as a contribution toward growing decolonial scholarship and movement.

Accordingly, the objective of this workshop is to bring together scholars as well as scholar-activists to examine and contribute to this growing decolonial conversation, addressing (without being limited to) the following topics and themes:

  • The possibilities and limitations of engaging with current decolonization debates broadly, including the Latin American decolonial studies collective’s work specifically, to think phenomenon and crises within the Arab-majority and Muslim-majority worlds both historically as well as in the contemporary moment.
  • The comparison and conversations between Latin American and indigenous American decolonial thought(s) and anti-, post-, and decolonial thought(s) from the Arab-majority and Muslim-majority worlds as a form of south-south dialogue.
  • The relation and conversation between indigenous cosmologies and activism from the Americas and cosmologies and activism in the Arab-majority and Muslim-majority worlds and potential contributions these could offer in moving beyond current global crises.
  • Ongoing political, economic, social, cultural, and ecological issues and challenges within the Arab-majority and Muslim-majority worlds.
  • The decolonisation of ‘Middle Eastern’ studies, Islamic studies, and other fields of study of relevance to the Muslim-majority and Arab-majority worlds.

Some examples of issues across these points include social inequalities and racism(s), the climate catastrophe, higher education and knowledge, political systems and forms of governance, gender and sexualities, and various forms of activism and resistance. Theoretical papers as well as ones based on empirical fieldwork are welcome. The disciplinary background and focus are open, and we are interested in papers that interrogate these issues and problematics from a wide-ranging set of perspective and concerns.

Papers will be circulated one month before the workshop, and they will be discussed in-depth during the workshop with each paper assigned a discussant from among the participants. We aim to produce a journal special issue based on the papers. We also aim to generate more publicly accessible outputs (blog posts, podcasts, or media material as suitable), including in Arabic, Turkish, Persian, or other relevant languages of the region wherever possible.

Abstract submission and Timeline:

Abstracts should not exceed 300 words. Please also include a short biography with institutional affiliation and main publications.

Deadline for abstract submission: Dec 15, 2021
Selection of papers/abstracts: January 10, 2022
Deadline for complete papers: March 10, 2022

Please send abstracts and/or any questions to Dr Ali Kassem on

Some funding is available to support travel and accommodation, particularly for Early Career Fellows. If you require support to attend, please indicate so when submitting your abstracts. Funding allocation will be announced in January 2022.

This workshop is organised by Dr Ali Kassem, IASH-Alwaleed Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. The workshop is supported by the Susan Manning Workshop Fund from the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh.