In collaboration with colleges from across the nation, the History Department hosted a workshop last Saturday titled "Islam and Globalization, Islam and Localization." Stanford professors and graduate students who specialize in Islamic studies participated in this forum with colleagues from other universities.
The workshop was divided into sessions: "18th and 19th Centuries," "Late 19th and 20th Centuries," "20th Century African Case Studies," and "Late 20th Century Globalization." Each session explored religion, scholarship and politics.
Stanford History Prof. Joel Beinin and Associate Prof. Ahmad Dallal headed the event.
According to Dallal, the dialogues were meant to encourage communication on a variety of subjects within Islam. They explored the Islamic movement from historical perspectives in different regions in the Middle East, North Africa and the Ottoman Empire. The debate centered around the question of localization and globalization of Islam and the frequent intersection of the two.
Dallal said the aim of the workshop was to "explore global trends as well as local trends in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries . . .These are very important geographical questions.
"[The forum] is looking at the picture of globalization in a long historical complex rather than seeing it as a modern phenomenon."
According to Emily Burrill, a Stanford history graduate student who attended the event, "[Globalization] has historic roots . . .it isn't something that has popped out in recent decades. Islam has been a means of creating networks."
Temple University Prof. Peter Gran cautioned audience members in using the vocabulary of politicians before clearly defining it historically.
Also discussed were the subjects of religiosity, protest, reform, politics, pan-Islamism and resistance. The controversy over Saudi-funded schools was explored by NYU doctoral student Isa Blumi who said he believes they promote isolationism.
Scott Reese, a graduate student from the University of Northern Arizona, had a somewhat optimistic view regarding Muslim people's retainment of their own local culture.
"The Da'wa is not necessarily an irresistible force; people do reject it in favor of their own traditions," Reese said.
Forum attendees did not only discuss economic and political factors of the globalization in Islam, but also the influence of culture.
Mark LeVine, a graduate student of UC-Irvine, advocated a more holistic framework on viewing globalization. He called for a "new conception of public sphere."