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Call for Paper: Social Cohesion and Diversity: Muslims in Europe and Hui-Muslims in China

Call for Paper
Social Cohesion and Diversity: Muslims in Europe and Hui-Muslims in China
13-14 April 2015

Yunnan University, Kunming-China

The aim of this conference is to gather scholars who work on Hui people in China and Muslims in Europe to compare the similitudes and differences of their practices in a cohesive society. A lack of social cohesion among different ethnic and religious people was identified in recent years in Europe and China. The recent development and concerns linked with extremism associated with Muslims require more inquiries on relation between Muslims and non-Muslims in multicultural diverse societies.

Muslims in Europe are hardly featured in international media, domestic politics, and scholarly discussions. In contrast to Chinese case, multiculturalism, radicalisation, immigration, integration, forced marriage are discussed through the Muslim visibility and presence in Europe. Recent debates on integration and secularism are focused on the �Muslim question�. Europe has maintained and managed relatively well its racial and religious harmony facing with rapid social change. There are risks as well as benefits to our increasing ethnic, cultural and religious diversity. The core elements of a cohesive society which are a sense of belonging, participation, inclusion, recognition, trust and social integration are weakened by factors associated with social exclusion, discrimination and marginalization. Increasing the networks of relationship and trust between different social groups; tackling exclusion and marginalization, fighting against inequalities are some common denominators of a cohesive society. European states have different policies and relations vis-a-vis their Muslim population. The Muslim population in Europe present ethnic, cultural and ideological variety.
In contrast to the focus on Muslims in Europe, there is a notable lack of interest in Muslims in China with the exception of the Uyghur community. The Chinese government recognizes many ethnic and religious communities. The various ethnic nationalities form Chinese nationality. Hui are predominantly Chinese speaking Muslims in China�s vast territory. With a population of 10 million, they are also the most numerous recognized ethnic group in China. Among the 56 Chinese ethnic minorities, more than 10 of them are Muslims. The Chinese Muslim population has reached more than twenty million and Hui people represent the largest group among Muslims in China.

In this conference, we want to study the impact of ethnic-religious interactions, state integration positions and policies to grasp the increasing influence of religious-collective-national expression of Muslims in the public sphere. We would like to examine the new patterns of expression and visibility of the Muslims in Europe and China. This conference investigates how Muslims encounters, accommodates and negotiates into different socio political contexts in Europe and China.

Why do we need to be cohesive? Being cohesive what does it mean for Muslims living in Europe and in China? Is a cohesive society an illusion or a substantial requirement for a well being of society? What does it mean national identity? Does encouraging diversity foster a sense of belonging? How accommodate cultural-religious difference with national unity? How mobility of Muslim people and migration affect the national culture and identity? What effect do institutions such as schools, mosques have on pupils� sense of belonging to the wider society? How far do their activities shape their identity? Is there a localization of Islam? What kind of localized practices of Islam are developed by Muslims? What does it mean localization of Islam and Muslim in Europe and in China?

A comparison between China and Europe provides a guide for analysis of different models. The conference looks at the modes of organization of Muslims, their identity demands, social-cultural and religious dynamics of solidarity.

To examine Muslims� ethnic-religious identifications in contemporary China and Europe, and trace in which ways Muslims develop a sense of belonging to the wider society, this international conference will broadly focus (but also restrain the focus) on two topics: (1) the localization of Muslims and Islam in Europe and in China and (2) the interaction of Muslims with the local communities and the State.

  • Localization of Muslims and Islam: This part looks at the Muslim way of life and their practices within different contexts to understand how Islam is localized in different contexts. In this regard, we want to analyze the circulation of narratives, translocal practices among Muslims in Europe and in China to seek whether they create new patterns-mixtures of their self-presentation and religious interpretation. As Muslims are not homogeneous groups both in Europe and China, ethnic-religious diversity enforces the diversification of Muslim identity and practices within various secular-national contexts. The aim is to observe the daily practices, narratives and strategies to figure out the dynamics through which Muslims formulate their self.
  • Relations with other local ethnic-religious communities and with the State (exchange with different faith people, institutions, public authorities, citizenship models etc.) In this part, we want to understand the interaction of Muslims with non-Muslims, local communities and the state to adjust and to maintain their cultural-religious identity. The capacity of adjusting religious-political identity enables to study the citizenship rhetoric, community dynamics, and institutional structures. The different modes of dynamics between Muslims, non-Muslims and the State constitute the possible ways of pluralism and co-existence of differences. We examine the specific strategies and policies developed by Muslims and authorities to negotiate the citizenship and integration models.

The conference aims to provide a forum for the presentation, dissemination and discussion of the latest research findings on topics related to questions of localization, multiculturalism and cohesive society debates among Muslims living in Europe and in China. Researchers from all social science disciplines including are invited to share views and critical perspectives on social cohesion.

Tuition Fees: There is no tuition fee for participants in the conference programme. Yunnan University will provide accommodation for conference speakers and covers the meals in Kunming during the conference. However, presenters and participants are expected to pay the costs of their travel to and from Yunnan.

Outcome: A proceedings book of the conference will be printed and distributed in advance of the workshop itself.  Copyright of the papers accepted to the Conference will be vested in the GCIS.

Selection Criteria: The conference will accept up to 20 participants, each of whom must meet the following requirements:

  • – have a professional and/or research background in related topics of the workshop;
  • – be able to attend the entire programme.

Since the Conference expects to address a broad range of topics while the number of participants has to be limited, writers submitting abstracts are requested to bear in mind the need to ensure that their language is technical only where it is absolutely necessary and the language should be intelligible to non-specialists and specialists in disciplines other than their own; and present clear, coherent arguments in a rational way and in accordance with the usual standards and format for publishable work.


  • – Abstracts (300�500 words maximum) and CVs (maximum 1 page) to be received by 10 January 2015.
  • – Abstracts to be short-listed by the Editorial Board and papers invited by 15 January 2015.
  • – Papers (3,000 words minimum � 5,500 words maximum, excluding bibliography) to be received by 2nd March 2015.
  • – Papers reviewed by the Editorial Board and classed as: Accepted � No Recommendations; Accepted � See Recommendations; Conditional Acceptance � See Recommendations; Not Accepted, by 16th March 2015.
  • – Final papers to be received by 30th March 2015.

The international conference is organized by KU Leuven G�len Chair for Intercultural Studies and Research Center for Studies of Chinese Southwest�s Borderland Ethnic Minorities of Yunnan University. It will be conducted in English and will be hosted by Yunnan University in Kunming.

Papers and abstract should be sent to Erkan Toguslu:

For more information plz contact:
Erkan Toguslu
KU Leuven G�len Chair for Intercultural Studies
Parkstraat 45 – box 3615
3000 Leuven