Special Issue "Islamic Education in Contemporary World: Traditions, Rearticulations & Transformation"
A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2018)
Dr. Abdullah Sahin
Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit, Centre for Education Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, U.K.
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Interests: Philosophical, Theological and Empirical Foundations of Islamic Education; Pedagogy and identity formation; Islamic Empirical and Practical Theology; European Muslim Diaspora; Educational Reform in Muslim Societies; Islam within Inclusive RE
Islamic Education is an emerging interdisciplinary field of research, teaching and professional development within the Western academia. There are now state-sponsored ‘Islamic Religious Pedagogy’ departments at major universities in continental Europe. The motive behind this new interest appears to be largely political, reflecting the policy makers’ attempt to address the rise of religious extremism and the desire to engineer a ‘European Islamic religious authority’ through ‘officially’ training Muslim faith leaders and teachers. Such a top to bottom approach, however, has resulted in the creation of an academic discipline without proper theoretical integrity, methodological rigour and pedagogic diversity.
Lack of conceptual clarity is evident in frequent unqualified depictions of the field as ‘Muslim Education’, ‘Muslims in Education’ or ‘Islamic Religious Pedagogy’ and even simply as ‘Religious Education’. Furthermore, Islamic Education has often been confused with ‘Islamic Studies’, a Western framing of the study of Islam that came out of the Eurocentric discourse of Orientalism and which is still not free from controversies. In Islam, the notion of ‘tarbiyah’ offers an imagination of education as an inclusive, holistic and embodied process of facilitating human flourishing that goes beyond the confines of a cognitive focus implied by the word ‘study’ or a mere religious/moral instruction and training.
The modern ‘Islamic’ definitions of education have emerged at the backdrop to a strong reaction to what is perceived to be ‘materialistic’ secular Western education introduced during the post-colonial modernization process in newly established European-style Muslim nations. It appears that the desire to ‘Islamize’ Western science and knowledge systems has largely shaped these attempts that originate in a deeper reactionary politics of resentment informing the Islamic revival and reform movements. It was mainly due to the self-censoring climate of political correctness after the 9/11 that the idea appeared to have suddenly been abandoned. Currently, a more politically pleasing word, ‘integration’, seems to be frequently invoked within the discourse on educational reform in global Muslim societies.
To develop integrated models of Islamic Education within the context of contemporary Muslim societies requires the presence of a critical dialogue with the diverse traditions of education in Islam as well as modern educational theories and pedagogic models. There is a large gap in the existing literature addressing these crucial issues. Most of the literature, largely produced by Western anthropologists, ethnographers and historians since the turn of the last century, stressed, often with admiration, the ‘embodied oral/ aural features’ as well as the ‘impressive textual literacy’ within traditional forms of Islamic Education. This empathetic line of research has also shown deep awareness of the challenges facing Muslim societies in meaningfully and effectively reconciling their educational/religious heritage with their fast-changing lived reality that has been increasingly dominated by Western secularism and its economic, social and cultural institutions.
Within the highly politized context of the post-9/11 world together with the rise of religious extremism, researchers adopting a political analysis framework focused their attention, with a deep scepticism, on traditional forms of Islamic nurture and schooling such as Madrassas within the context of South Asia and ‘Pondok Pesantren’ in South East Asia. Such researchers largely claim the presence of a widespread culture of ‘indoctrination’ in these institutions which shape extremist mindsets. But, depictions of indigenous educational practices within Muslim societies as a cultural capital or hindrance in facilitating positive change require critical reassessment. However, what is beyond dispute is that the traditional and Western cultures of education have failed to be reconciled and integrated. As a direct consequence, Muslim societies continue producing generations of young people with dual mindsets and often with an experience of a ‘dual alienation’ within the reality of a persisting culture of religious and secular authoritarianism. Absence of a dynamic educational culture greatly hinders wider social, political and economic reforms vital for addressing concerns over human rights, corruption, poverty, unemployment, gender inequality, intolerance towards religious and ethnic diversity within Muslim societies. The dynamics behind the failure of fundamental internal educational reform need an urgent critical and realistic assessment.
Islamic Education in the Muslim minority context of the West/Europe where there is now the established presence of a culturally and ethnically diverse Muslim diaspora, reflects a similar set of challenges, albeit with an experience of deeper intensity. Traditional Islamic educational institutions largely transplanted from the first generation immigrants’ countries of origin have been established to reproduce identity narratives in the lives of young Muslims. Furthermore, young people’s religious agency has increasingly been shaped by prolific popular online Islamic Education activities where an exploitative form of ‘Islamic cyber religious/spiritual authority’ is spreading fast. The reality of inter-generational change, the capacity of formal/informal Islamic Education in facilitating competent knowledge and understanding of Islam (Islamic literacy), mature faith development and acting as a cultural capital are areas of scholarly interest and concern for both Muslim communities and the wider society.
The rapidly growing sector of Islamic schooling as well as traditional seminaries (dar al-uluum/ hawaza) and hybrid Muslim higher education institutions face similar concerns; lack of evidence-based practice, as well as inadequate curriculum development, teacher training provision, management and leadership. The power relations within these institutions and the politics of secular suspicion towards Islamic schooling need further analysis. The representation of Islam/Muslims within mainstream schooling and Muslim parents’ involvement with the education of their children, ostensibly a civic democratic right that a liberal state encourages - as highlighted in the infamous Trojan Horse Affair in the UK - demonstrate another layer of contestation regarding Islamic Education in secular public space.
The aim of this volume is to bring together some of the most current and ground-breaking theoretical and empirical work that engages with the above outlined intersecting critical issues in contemporary Islamic Education. I am inviting you to consider writing a paper addressing the gaps highlighted within the current literature in the field by drawing on one of the following key themes:
- Empirical research designs in Islamic Education;
- Critical dialogue between Islamic and modern educational theories;
- Educational Hermeneutics in Muslim thought;
- Intuition, spirituality and imagination in Islamic Education;
- Innovative perspectives on curriculum, pedagogy and assessment in formal/informal Islamic Education;
- Integrated experiences of learning and teaching in Islamic Education;
- Islamic literacy and values of interreligious, intra-faith and intercultural understanding;
- Politics of modern Islamic schooling;
- Islam within secular schooling and diverse models of Religious Education;
- Muslim theological education and female/male faith leadership training;
- Mainstreaming Muslim seminaries in the West;
- Widening accesses to higher education within European/Western Muslim diaspora;
- Islamic Education and religious extremism;
- Online Islamic Education and emergence of Islamic ‘cyber religious/spiritual authorities’;
- Educational reform and democratization in Muslim societies;
- Islamic Education, social integration and civic engagement;
- Migration, transnational Islamic movements and Islamic Education;
- Islamic Education, citizenship and reproduction of national identities;
- Music and sex education in Islamic Education;
- Historical thinking and political literacy in Islamic curriculum;
- Science, Islamic educational ethics and the environment;
- Political economy of Islamic Education.
If you agree to participate in this special issue, I ask you please to send us a tentative title and a short abstract (max. 200 words) by 31 January 2018. When you send the abstract, please make explicit the central question(s) and the methods/methodologies you will employ in exploring the issues raised.
Dr. Abdullah Sahin
Manuscript Submission Information
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.
- Islamic Education
- Interfaith/Intercultural Education
- Inclusive Religious Education
- Education Studies
- Muslim Seminaries/Higher Education Institutions
- Educational Reform in Muslim Societies
- Islamic Schooling and Social Cohesion
- Islamic Pedagogy and faith formation
- Islamic Empirical Theology