What is Islamic in the Islamic State?


Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 4:00pm to 6:00pm


CMES, Room 102, 38 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies present

Jocelyne Cesari
Chair of Religion and Politics, University of Birmingham, UK; Senior research fellow, Georgetown University’s Berkley Center on Religion, Peace and World Affairs; Visiting Professor of Religion and Politics and Associate, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, director, interfaculty program Islam in the West, Harvard University

In the light of the controversy raised by the 2015 article of Graeme Wood in the Atlantic Monthly about the Islamic nature of ISIS, Cesari will argue that granting or denying the Islamic dimension of ISIS is a dead end that has political consequences. She will present the  unique combination of theological thinking and war strategy that defines ISIS vision and political approach. Cesari will contend that this modern combination is a serious threat to the transmission of the Islamic tradition. Then the question is not about the need for reform in Islam but about the conditions for the strengthening of traditional modes of religious interpretation.

Jocelyne Cesari holds the Chair of Religion and Politics at the University of Birmingham, UK. She is senior research fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center on Religion, Peace and World Affairs. She teaches on contemporary Islam at the Harvard Divinity School and directs the Harvard interfaculty program Islam in the West.
Her most recent books are:  The Islamic Awakening: Religion, Democracy and Modernity (2014, Cambridge University Press), and Why the West Fears Islam: An Exploration of Islam in Western Liberal Democracies (2013). She edited the 2015 Oxford Handbook of European Islam.
She coordinates a major web resource on Islam in Europe: http://www.euro-islam.info/.

Contact: Liz Flanagan