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3rd International Congress Call for papers


History, Contemporary State, & Future Perspectives

Dedicated to the Legacies of Muslim leaders – Shaykh Ebubekir Efendi and Imam Abdullah Haron

Cape Town, 16-18 September 2022


The history of Islam and the formation of Muslim communities in southern Africa predates the European colonial incursions, in fact, the presence of Muslim communities in the region goes back to the 16th and 17th centuries. However, in the narration of the history of the emergence and evolution of smaller Islamic polities in parts of southern Africa, the standard literature seems to have understudied the socio-political histories of these Muslim communities in an even-handed manner. In that regard, previous conferences in this series have concentrated on retracing the historical aspects of southern Africa’s Muslim connections and networks.

Building on this earlier precedent, this year’s congress continues, on the one hand, to explore the history, formation and heritage of Islam in southern Africa using organizations and institutions as significant communal contributors, and on the other, shifts the vantage point to the present political, social, environmental and cultural challenges faced by these communities as well as their future prospects. Within the scope of this threefold conception, the Third International Congress aims to give an ear to and open a venue for discussing the contemporary problems from the sub-region’s perspective, under the light of the historical experience of the Muslim communities.

It is also important to note that one of the main goals of this congress is to strengthen affinities and collaborations between Muslim communities in their respective African environments by producing and disseminating meaningful socio-cultural knowledge embedded in Islam.

Factoring in these aims, the congress plans to gather a coterie of scholars, researchers, policymakers, and civil society activists to consider how Muslims have worked towards the formation of an ‘Islamic Civilization in southern Africa’.

Researchers are expected to assess the degree to which Muslims communities and organizations (as socio-religious, political, economic, and cultural institutions) have made and can make qualitative contributions to their respective nations. Researchers will thus evaluate the evolution, adoption, adaptation, formation, and contribution of these communities within the wider regional perspective.

Congress presentation topics may include but are not limited to:

1. General Themes on Historical Patterns

  • Social and cultural history of southern Africa’s Muslims
  • Religio-cultural heritage of Muslim southern Africa (the Ajami manuscripts, architectural, artistic and religious heritage)
  • Intellectual history of Muslim scholars in southern Africa and regional scholarly activities
  • Ulama and Muslim organizations’ respective roles in the preservation of Islam
  • Sufi orders and their formation of Muslim communities locally, nationally, and regionally
  • Diplomatic relations and other forms of engagement between Ottomans and the communities in southern Africa Inter-regional interactions between western, eastern and southern African Muslim communities
  • Formation of AwqafSA and related institutions by reflecting on their respective contributions within the region
  • Traditional Muslim learning institutions such as Quranic memorization establishments within southern Africa and SADC member states

2. Specific Themes on Contemporary Problems and Future Perspectives

  • SADC Muslim leadership and its responses to secure/insecure environments (such as Islamophobia, extremism, water shortages, and food crises)
  • Diverse SADC Muslim organisations and their partnership with others in responding to climate change and environmental challenges
  • Southern African Muslim communities’ responses to humanitarian crises regionally
  • Southern Africa’s Muslim involvement and contribution to social health care sectors
  • The contribution of southern Africa’s Muslims to Inter-religious dialogue between Islam, African Traditional Religious adherents and Christianity
  • The contributions of Muslim women groups and similar sectors of society that have promoted ideas related to Islam and Muslims
  • Muslim media houses and their contribution towards socio-religious and cultural transformation in their respective countries
  • The contribution of southern African Muslim parties and politicians to promoting political awareness and involvement
  • Southern Africa’s Muslim educational institutions across the region
  • The roles and experiences of southern Africa’s Muslim organizations during the pandemic
  • The perspectives of Muslim organizations on National Development Plans (NDP) after 2030 and African Union’s master plan called ‘Agenda 2063’
  • Economic Development

The committee welcomes presenters that can make use of qualitative and quantitative methods. Invited scholars and researchers are open to reflect on a significant Muslim organization to demonstrate how it has made noteworthy inputs and contributions in one of the SADC member-states, where a plethora of Muslim organizations have historically played and continue to play important roles in both supporting and mobilizing southern Africa’s Muslim communities.

The committee also encourages presenters that opt to pursue inter- or transdisciplinary research approaches. For example, if a presenter examines how an organization might respond to future challenges, then he/she may choose to do so from a multi-disciplinary perspective using quantitative data.

To use an example, a study may focus on a Muslim organization’s involvement in social security matters or its participation in inter-faith movements that are concerned with climate change, alternatively, it can focus on how an organization cooperates with social welfare groups that respond to the pandemic or collaborates with institutions that work towards ending civil conflict.
We hope this proposal stimulates thought and discussion on these topics and look forward to receiving your submissions.

Types of Abstracts & Deadlines

  • OP: A 250 words abstract for Short Papers: DEADLINE 8 July 2022
  • AP: A 400 words abstract for Long Essays     DEADLINE: 8 July 2022

Types of Papers & Deadlines

  • OP: Short Papers (2000-2500) DEADLINE: 31 August 2022
  • AP: Long Essays (5500-6500)   DEADLINE: 31 August 2022

Kindly send all abstracts and congress-related communications to: congress@awqafsa.org.za