We are looking for contributions to our panel "Nation Building across Religious and Continental Boundaries" at the 29th International Congress of DAVO, which will take place in cooperation with the “Turkologentag 2023 – Forth European Convention on Turkic, Ottoman and Turkish Studies“ in the University of Vienna on 21-23 September 2023.
This panel interrogates how dialectical processes of intergroup contacts and boundary making were re-produced and fostered in print media with religious (Islamic) and/or national references. We focus on diasporic Muslim minorities from the Middle East and non-Muslim diasporas in Muslim majority regions from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. In doing so, we will analyse cultural demarcations and interactions across communal boundaries, particularly in borderlands or peripheries, where media production happened without prominent state intervention. Our approach is inspired by (Arab) Periodical Studies (Latham/Scholes 2006; Pepe/Winckler 2022), which analyses the role periodicals and print publications played as important tools and practices for communal building. Additionally, this panel attends to the mechanism of ethnic-religious communal formations through collective images, common styles, and shared media through the analytical lens of “aesthetic formations” (Meyer 2009).
The link between modernity, nationalism, and print media has been firmly established since Benedict Anderson published “Imagined Communities” (Anderson 1983). Print media played a crucial role in forming these imagined communities by promoting vernaculars and by establishing a sense of concomitance among members of newly emerging nation states. This applies to the former Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire as well as (post-)colonial east and southeast Asia, where the decline of Eurasian polities, colonialism, and the emergence of nation states profoundly reshaped societies. This caused and in turn was reinforced by mass overseas migration. Simultaneously, industrial mass-production and stream travel allowed the wide distribution of print media, which played a crucial role in channelling communal imaginations beyond territorial-state borders, and beyond the narrow sense of “nation”. The emergence of global religious or civilizational imaginations, such as the “Muslim world”, “pan-Arabism”, and “pan-Asianism”, are cases in point.
Across Asia, Islam, next to nationalism, served as the discursive object and provided rhetorical resources for identification as well as othering, ranging from the conception of sectarian differences to orthodoxy-heterodoxy, rational-irrational, and religious-secular divides. Neither within the boundaries of the “homeland” nor across transregional diasporic networks did the dynamic conceptualizations of the self and the other happen in abstract thoughts. Rather, they were framed and revised by real-life interactions between the minorities in diaspora and their host societies. These processes of negotiation reflected upon and were shaped through print media, which became a significant tool in community formation. Recognizing these dynamics, we investigate the significance of print media in fostering internal cohesion among wider Asian post-colonial national and religious communities in their diasporic experiences. While focusing on transregional Muslim minorities and their use of print media, this panel also invites papers about the use of print media by non-Muslims diasporic communities in Muslim majority contexts to comparatively illuminate community building and boundary demarcation.
- Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to firstname.lastname@example.org until the 25th of February 2023.
- You will be notified about the acceptance of your paper until the 07th of April 2023.
Papers by Organizers:
Creating Cohesion across Continents. The Southern Diaspora (al-mahǧar al-ǧanūbī) and Early Alawite Newspaper Production (Katrin Köster)
“Descendants of Pig”? Rise of Discriminative Slurs against Muslims among Nanyang Chinese Diasporic Networks in the Early 20th-Century (Tsz Kit Chan and Yee Lak Elliot Lee)