Students, faculty, and staff are invited to join the Sociology Department for our colloquium series.
On Monday, October 9, Z. Fareen Parvez, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, will present a talk on “Politicizing Islam: The Islamic Revival in France and India.”
Home to the largest numbers of Muslim minorities in Western Europe and Asia, France and India have been simultaneously grappling with a crisis of secular democracy. While Islamic revival movements have flourished in Muslim communities in both places, national politics have shifted to the right, undermining secularism’s promise of minority protections. Muslims in both countries have long been racialized and struggling at the bottom of the social structure, with the war on terror placing them under heightened surveillance. But across the two countries they have mobilized religious revival in different ways in order to improve their lives. In this talk I draw on two years of ethnographic research to present a movement of “antipolitics” in a French working-class suburb and a movement of community politics in poor neighborhoods of a south Indian city. While both movements reject politics directed at the state, one is a retreat into the private sphere while the other is an engagement with public life and community. What explains this major divergence in the politics of religious revival? The talk will explain how these movements originated in either a flexible or militant secularism and what they mean for Islam, feminism, and minority democratic participation.