Call for Papers
An International Conference on Muslims and the Cultural Politics of the Permissible
February 19-21, 2015
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
Global Halal is an international conference organized by the Muslim Studies Program at Michigan State University in partnership with the UK-based Muslim, Trust and Cultural Dialogue Program. The conference topic addresses a range of cultural, economic and political concerns associated with the principle of halal, especially in relation to contemporary food, banking, and lifestyle. Often associated with Muslim dietary practices, the concept of halal applies to that which is permissible to Muslims and serves as one of the key ethical concepts in Islamic theological doctrines. Yet as with any religious principle, concepts like halal and its antithesis haram, are subject to interpretation and variation, especially in the contemporary global era. Muslim practices today are conditioned by a wide-range of technological and contextual influences that raise many questions about what constitutes halal. While the term halal refers to all that is permitted, its specific associations with Islamic restrictions underscore the cultural politics of religious practices at a time of growing awareness among Muslims of the ethics of consumption, the diversity of cultural values, the changing nature of interpersonal relations, and the globalization of financial interactions.
In the majority Muslim regions of the world, halal is embedded in daily life, but it nevertheless raises other issues, for example in regard to the rights of non-Muslim minorities. In contexts where Islam is the minority religion, adaptations of daily practices have been historically necessary to the establishment of Muslim communities. With the growing number of Muslims in Europe and North America, there has been increased demand for halal options, especially with regard to the availability and marketing of halal meats, which has caused some controversy in the United States, Britain, France, among other countries. These controversies illustrate the centrality of the halal concept in contemporary discussions of Muslimness, national belonging and ethics.
This conference will provide a forum for exploring the principle of halal within a global context, emphasizing the complexities of the permissible and the impermissible (haram).
Abstracts should be no more than 200 words, and should include a title, correspondence address, and institutional affiliation. Deadline for receipt of abstracts is 1 November 2014.