Ethnographies of Islam in China – An International Conference

Date: 27 March 2017 Time: 12:00 PM
Finishes: 29 March 2017 Time: 6:30 PM
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Djam Lecture Theatre /Senate House Lecture Theatre


Type of Event: Conference

Recent decades have seen increasing global connectedness and rapid changes in Islamic belief and practice in China, across a sphere characterised by great diversity in histories of transmission, socio-economic factors, language and life-ways. What insights can ethnographic research bring to bear on the nature of these changes? What new perspectives can be gained from fieldwork-based approaches to religious experience and meaning? This international conference aims to bring together scholars working across disciplinary boundaries to examine the benefits and challenges of fieldwork-based ethnographic research on Islam in China. A peer-reviewed, edited volume arising from the conference is planned.

Themes include:

> Fieldwork methodologies and ethics: How can we best attend to local explanations and local debates? What are the possibilities for, and the politics of, participatory ethnography and collaborative research? What are the uses of film as a research tool? What insights can a focus on sensory experience and embodied practice provide? Where access is denied or contact places people at risk, what alternative research methodologies are possible?

>Understanding the Islamic revival in China: To what extent, and in what ways, are revivalist movements in China linked to external forces, or driven by local interests, affiliations and histories? What symbolic geographies of faith and practice do Muslims in China imagine and inhabit? How do they negotiate the normative requirements of religion and state? How relevant to the Chinese sphere are the analytical frames of ethical self- cultivation, and everyday Islam?

>Identities: How do gender and ethnicity intersect with religious identities? Do new religious identities maintain or cross ethnic boundaries? Are Muslim women in China repositories of tradition or agents of change? How can we explain the resurgence of a culture of female-dominated Islamic piety in central China? What new forms of masculinity are associated with the Islamic revival?

>Circulation, authority and authenticity: What is the significance of media forms in the creation and transmission of religious knowledge? How do religious ideologies shift and become reconstituted as they flow across borders? In what ways are discourses of authenticity and tradition used to legitimize new practices, or to support existing power structures? How do state practices of heritage management map onto religious life?

Conference Programme

Ethnographies of Islam in China – An International Conference Programme

Sounding Islam in China: a multi-sited ethnographic study

Sounding Islam in China: a multi-sited ethnographic study​. A Research Project supported by the Leverhulme Trust​. Find out more.

Registration is required of all participants.  ONLINE REGISTRATION

Registration fee includes attendance at the conference, tea/coffee/water breaks and light lunch.

>Standard: £40
>Full-time student*: £20
* Students must show a valid student ID card on the day.

Please note that the online registration closes at noon, 27 March.

Cancellation and refund policy
Cancellations must be reported in writing to the Conference Manager.  Cancellations must be received by 26 February 2017 in which case registration fees will be refunded, less a £10 processing fee.  No refund will be given to cancellations received after 26 February 2017.

Organiser: SOAS China Institute

Contact email:

Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4823


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