Muslim care beyond the Self: Ethics of care among Muslims and their neighbors

Conference by the Danish Institute in Damascus and the Anthropology Research Program at Aarhus University

2017.11.29 | Jon Bendixen

Date Mon 11 Dec Tue 12 Dec
Time 09:00    15:30
Location Moesgaard Museum, conf. room, 3rd floor 4240-301 (access through back entrance)

Within the anthropology of Islam, quite a lot has been written about the care of the self, i.e. how Muslims form themselves in relation to particular religious ideals or various moral registers or models. While Such a focus on self-formation has resulted in very important insights into Islam and subjectivity, it tends to downplay how humans are interdependent beings who care for and care about others – and how the care for intimate as well as distant others inform – and sometimes exist in tension with – individual projects of self-cultivation. It also tends to neglect various forms of carelessness and the social, moral and religious implications of not caring. With this conference we wish to explore the various scales, aspirations and orientation, of care in relation to for instance the self, the family, the congregation, the community, nation or God – and the tensions and convergences between them: How do pious Muslims, for example, balance care for their own spiritual and ethical formation with care for intimate others who may not share the telos of their ethical striving as well as for the wider communities in which they live? What does it mean not to care about religion in a Muslim majority context? How can contemporary political, intercultural and interreligious frictions in Muslim majority countries or between minority and majority populations in various migrant destinations be explored and discussed through the lens of ‘care’? May concepts and ideas derived from the Western philosophical tradition’s focus on care (such as the ethical demand as envisioned by Løgstrup or Levinas - or Heideggers idea that existence simply means to be engaged in care for existence, one’s own as well as co-existence with others) capture how Muslims live and experience a caring involvement with others? Or is care better explored and understood using Islamic concepts and ideas like sabr, zakat or sadaqa?

Organizers: Abir Mohamad Ismail, Emilie Lund Mortensen, Mikkel Rytter and Maria Louw, Department of Anthropology, Aarhus University

Watch the full program, and speaker-abstracts in the files available for download below.

CAS, Antropologi
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Programme.pdf (4.3 Mb)
Speaker-abstracts_.pdf (137 Kb)