Islam, Citizenship and the New Media: Proceedings- Update 08.2015

The proceedings of the research project Islamic Actors and their Discourses in the Public Domain: Islamic Preaching and the New Media is now published online. With contributions of Andrew Jan, Willemijn Wilgenhof, Ashraf El Sherif, Tessa de Vries, Asiem El Difraoui, Leoni Abel Mbaya Lo and Ismail Alexandrani.    

The Islam Citizenship and the New Media project 2011

The research project Islamic Actors and their Discourses in the Public Domain: Islamic Preaching and the New Media was finalised this month. The team from NVIC and ACPSS looks back on a very fruitful cooperation. Among the results of the project are the following publications:

Mapping Islamic Actors in Egypt
This 194-page report aims to be an extensive survey of Islamic actors, organisations, their discourses and activities in the Egyptian public sphere, with the purpose of providing a background and starting point for researchers and policy makers who are engaging with this sector in Egypt. It describes the situation before the revolution of 25 January 2011.

Policy briefs
• Academic networks help to understand the Islamic landscape in Egypt. Why academic research on the Middle East is crucial for sound foreign policy and how the Dutch government could benefit more from the Netherlands Academic Institutes abroad.
• Islamic political parties in Egypt: An overview of positions on human rights and development and opportunities for engagement.
• Engaging with traditional and modern NGOs in Egypt.
• New Egypt  – New Mediascape? Policy brief on the shifts in the Egyptian mediascape after the Revolution with a focus on Islamic actors and the New Media.

Other results are five research papers, that will be published in the proceedings of the international conference Islam, Citizenship and the New Media (Leiden University Press), and five MA theses written in the framework of our project. For more information on the project and its results please contact us.

NVIC gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Islam Research Programme - Cairo, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The views presented in the resulting publications represent those of the authors and are in no way attributable to the Ministry.

Report on the Conference on Islam and Cititzenship

In April 2010, the NVIC embarked upon a research project within the framework of the research programme ‘Strengthening knowledge of and dialogue with the Muslim world’, in short Islam Research Programme (IRP), funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and administered by the Project Office IRP. The NVIC project “Islamic Actors and their Discourses in the Public Domain: Islamic Preaching and the New Media” originally took Islamic preaching in the new media in Egypt as its subject, with an initial focus on the various communication strategies developed by competing Islamic actors. In the course of the research, new perspectives arising from our findings, as well as changes in focus brought about by the 25 January 2011 revolution, broadened our approach to the central question of Islamic discourse. At the close of our project, the conference Islam, Citizenship and the New Media provided an opportunity to present our findings and to relate them to the profound changes at work in contemporary Egyptian society. The conference also provided an opportunity for the wider academic field to exchange opinions and inform each other about current research.

A selection of pictures taken at the conference can be viewed on our Facebook page.

Three central themes were chosen for the conference:
• Authority and Identity: the Emergence of New Actors
• Community and Common Good: New Active Citizens
• Religion and Lifestyle: the Emergence of a New Culture

The 25 January revolution and its implications for Islamic actors and for questions of citizenship and the use of new media was also a source of inspiration for many participants.

The first day was devoted to political Islamic activism, with a focus on youth Internet activism in the morning, where the emergence of new critical voices and the definition of a generational phenomena became apparent; in the afternoon, more established Islamic political actors were discussed, specifically as they have dealt with changing political conditions.

During the second day, Islam in aspects of popular and public culture was explored, in the morning with a focus on cultural production and popular discourse, where notions of identity played an important role; in the afternoon, questions of authority and the articulation of the public sphere to everyday life was broached by looking at a particular set of actors, celebrity star-preachers.

On the third and final day, the morning was devoted to the specific role of new media in establishing and contesting authority, and in implementing change; the afternoon was devoted to the civic and political contribution of Islam through a discussion of the discourse and practice of Islamic political actors, notably electoral practices and public intellectual discourses. The conference was ended with a consideration of the centrality of Islam in public life, at the very heart of politics in these revolutionary times.

Three keynote speakers were invited to introduce the themes of the conference. They were:
• Benjamin Soares, Leiden University
• Karin van Nieuwkerk, Radboud University Nijmegen
• Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen, Copenhagen University
A total of twenty-seven speakers presented their research at the conference, for an audience of about 100 scholars, students and professionals. The participants came from Egypt, the Netherlands, USA, Germany, Austria, the UK, Belgium, Denmark, China, Sudan, France, Switzerland and Canada.

Among the speakers were the team members of the Cairo IRP project (Dina Shehata, Sabine Dorpmueller, Paulien Baujard, Eman Ragab, Rabha Allam), as well as 4 MA students who had participated in the project with their own MA project. For the latter, this conference was their first active participation in an international conference. For all, the conference proved to be a very pleasant venue to exchange academic insights and make contacts with scholars working on shared topics of interest.

For NVIC, the conference was an excellent opportunity to present its work to scholars and experts, and to broaden our academic network in the field of Islamic Studies and Media Studies. This has already proven to be very valuable for our role in supporting scholars and students with their research and fieldwork projects. We are also looking forward to spin-off from both the conference and the IRP project, in the form of future participation in research projects and other initiatives in the fields of Islamic Studies and Social and Political Studies with Egyptian and Dutch/Flemish or international partners.

The timing of the conference could not have been better. It was the first international academic conference that was organised in Egypt after the revolution actually dealing with the revolution. Therefore, the interest in the conference was very high; we received more papers than we could accept. Furthermore, the lively discussions showed that there is a strong demand to debate the current developments. The contributions presented a choice of highly relevant and timely research topics dealing with Islamic actors and their impact on the political and social transformation of Egypt. 

Day 1 - 18 December 2011

08:30 am  Registration

09:00 am  Welcome and introductory remarks

09:15 am Keynote Lecture: Muslim Public Intellectuals and Media in Contemporary Africa
Benjamin Soares, Leiden University

09:45 am  Session One - Chair: Sabine Dorpmüller, Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo (NVIC)

09:45 am “Waves in the Sea of Change”: Liberalism, Civic Culture, and the Egyptian Blogosphere (2004-2009)
Andrew Jan, University of California Los Angeles 

10:15 am   Muslim Brotherhood Youth Online Activity
Rabha Allam, Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS)

10:45 am  Coffee Break – 30 min

11:15 am Islamic Citizen Journalism
Paulien Baujard, Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo (NVIC)

11:45 am  Islamophobia in Post-Revolutionary Egypt: The Role of Social Media 
 Nagwa El-Gazzar and Nashaat Hussein, Misr International University  

12:15 pm Western Islamophobia and the Counter-Image of the Muslim Brotherhood
Willemijn Wilgenhof, Groningen University

12:45 pm  Discussion – 45 min

01:30 pm Lunch – 1:00 hr

02:30 pm  Session Two – Chair: Benjamin Soares, Leiden University

02:30 pm  The Brotherhood and its Capabilities for Mobilizing Citizens
Carola Richter, Free University Berlin

03:00 pm The Changing Map of the Islamic Sector in Egypt in the Wake of the 25 January Revolution: from Exclusion to Integration
Dina Shehata, Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS)

03:30 pm Coffee Break – 30 min

04:00 pm  Online Territories of Terror – How Jihadists Hijack Islam and Claim Authority over the Arab Spring  
Nico Prucha, Vienna University

04:30 pm  Egyptian Civic Identity after the Revolution: Challenges by Islamic Groups?
Eman Ragab, Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS)

05:00 pm Discussion – 45 min

Day 2 - 19 December 2011

09:00 am Keynote Lecture : Halal Songs, Ramadan Soaps, and Clean Markets
Karin van Nieuwkerk, Nijmegen University

09:30 am  Session One – Chair: Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen, Copenhagen University

09:30 am New Gendered Urban Spaces in Cairo: Women-Only Gyms
Tessa de Vries, Groningen University

10:00 am   Islamically Marked Bodies and Neoliberal Places in Egyptian Media
Walter Armbrust, Oxford University

10:30 am  Coffee Break – 30 min

11:00 am Vanguards and Villains: Salafis as Celebrities in a Post-Revolutionary Egypt
Andrew Simon, Cornell University 

11:30 am The Post-Revolutionary Struggle over Religion and State in Egypt – An Analysis of Online Sufi and Salafi Discourse
Eric Aerts, Antwerp University

12:00 pm  Discussion – 45 min

12:30 pm Lunch – 1:00 hr

01:30 pm  Session Two – Chair: Karin van Nieuwkerk, Nijmegen University

01:30 pm  “I Saw God in Tahrir”: Islamic Televangelists and the Jan 25th Revolution in Egypt
Yasmine Moll, New York University 

02:00 pm  Preaching Turning into Lifestyle Guidance
Ehab Galal, Copenhagen University

03:00 pm  Coffee Break – 30 min

03:30 pm Religious Authority as a Transcultural Question: the Case of the American Muslim Scholar Suhaib Webb
Jan Scholz, Heidelberg University 

04:00 pm  Preaching Superstars: Reborn Identities and the Quest for Islamic Authority
Sabine Dorpmüller, Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo ( NVIC)

04:30 pm  Discussion – 45 min 

Day 3 - 20 December 2011

09:00 am  Session One – Chair: Carola Richter, Free University University

09:00 am The Egyptian Revolution and the Role of Twitter (SNS)
Jeongmin Seo, Hankuk University  

09:30 am Battleground Facebook: Contestation Mechanisms in the Social Media in the Framing of the Egyptian Revolution in January-February 2011
Hanan Badr, Erfurt University

10:00 am   Challenging Authority in Cyberspace: the Case of Al-Jazeera Arabic Writers
Mbaye Lo, Duke University 
10:30 am  Coffee Break – 30 min

11:00 am The Interplay of New and Old Media – a Tool-Kit for the Transformation Process
Asiem El Difraoui, German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP)

11:30 am  The New Activism and the Counter-Hegemonic Discourse
Ahmed Tohami, Durham University

12:00 pm Discussion – 45 min

12:45 pm  Lunch – 1:00 hr

01:45 pm  Session Two – Chair: Dina Shehata, Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS)

01:45 pm The Emergence of an Islamic Centrism or Wasatiyya in Sudan
Einas Ahmed,  Centre d’Etudes Démographiques Economiques et Juridiques (CEDEJ)

02:15 pm  Citizenship between Neo-islamism and Post-islamism
Ismail Alexandrani, Freelance researcher, Bibliotheca Alexandrina

02:45 pm  Coffee Break – 30 min

03:15 pm   Reading at the Ballot Box: Learning to Read in Revolutionary Egypt
Nermeen Mouftah, University of Toronto

03:45 pm The Case of Electoral Campaigns in Egypt: Branding with an Islamist Hue
Dina Adbelrahman, American University in Cairo

04:15 pm Keynote Lecture: Khutba to the Nation  
Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen, Copenhagen University

04:45 pm  Closing Discussion – 1:15 hr 

Last Modified: 23-03-2016