The conference entitled 'The Past, Present and Future of Alevis(m)' organised by the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster is calling for papers. The conference will take place at the University's Regent Campus on Thursday 16 July and Friday 17 July 2020.

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Alevism and Alevi communities are increasingly attracting research interest from interdisciplinary perspectives and gaining recognition as an emergent field of academic study. The aim of this conference hosted by the Centre for the Study of Democracy is to bring together both new and established scholars from different disciplines and perspectives for a lively and productive discussion of the issues and challenges related to research on Alevis and Alevism. A further aim is to raise the profile of this field of research through networking to create an international community of Alevism research scholars.

Within the current global political climate, especially in the Middle East, where religion is a vital factor in defining national identities and dividing ethnic groups, the position of the Alevism and Alevis is being redefined both by the Alevis themselves and external agents such as religious bodies and nation states. These changes have brought new questions into the research agenda such as the relationship between Alevis and other minority religious groups in the Middle East and the significance of Alevi movements in the diasporic context.

Much of the research on Alevism and Alevis tend to focus on definition Alevism in terms of either/or binaries e.g. religion or faith, outside or inside Islam or the oldest or a newer religion without critically engaging with the emic and etic points of reference. While this approach has made a significant contribution to the field, it has been challenged by the diversity of experiences of Alevi communities worldwide. Another strand of research on Alevism has been focusing on the ongoing assimilation and persecution of Alevis and their survival strategies. While this approach addresses a significant historical reality of the Alevi experience, to assume Alevis only as assimilable subjects into Sunni or Shia Islam is not sufficient to understand the historical and contemporary complexities of different Alevi communities.

This conference will address the complexities and boundaries of Alevism from a multi- disciplinary perspective within the global context. In this regard, we would like to invite papers from established academics and new researchers from different disciplines. Themes may include but are not limited to:

  • Alevi historiography
  • Alevi music
  • Alevi organisations
  • Alevi religious institutions
  • Alevi rituals and theology
  • Alevi youth
  • Alevism and gender/sexualities
  • Alevism lessons and religious education
  • Cemevis in villages/cities/diaspora
  • Cultural representations of Alevis and Alevi media
  • National and transnational migration of Alevis
  • Politics of Alevi ethno-religious identities and movements
  • Urban/rural Alevism/Alevi communities

Panel suggestions on specific topics are also welcome.

The conference is being organised by Dr Umit Cetin and Dr Celia Jenkins from the University of Westminster and Dr Berfin Emre-Cetin from the University of Arts London. We have been working in and with the Alevi communities as academics and activists for the past 10 years.

The conference will take place at the University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street London W1B 2HW on 16 and 17 July 2020.

The deadline for abstract submissions is 31 March 2020. Accepted papers will be notified by 30 April 2020.

There is no attendance or registration fee for the conference.

Please send your 200–250 words abstract and 100 words bio including your institutional or organisational affiliation to [email protected]. We very much hope, you will be able to participate in the conference and its wider project to create an international network of Alevi researchers.

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