Transformative Resilience: Global Adaptations of Shi‘i Islam in Times of Radical Change
Workshop session at the European Association for the Study of Religion (EASR) annual conference. Pisa, Italy, on 30 August — 3 September 2021.
In this workshop session, we examine modes of adaptation and resilience of Shi‘i Islam in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, focusing on: (a) the modernization and consolidation of the Ḥawza (seminary center for the education of Shi‘i clergymen), (b) the activities of globally interconnected Shi‘i public intellectuals, (c) the social life of diasporic and exilic Shi‘is in Europe, and (d) the ritual cultures and artistic expressions of Shi‘i Islam. The workshop session includes nine interventions by ten presenters. In the first part, we examine the intellectual and exegetical legacies of twentieth-century Shi’i scholars, whose contributions constituted a major shift in Islamic social theory. We argue that they contributed to the resilience of Shi‘i Islam in the face of immense socio-cultural transformations brought about by the advent of modernity and secularization. In the second part, we investigate intellectual connections between Shi‘is in Europe and the Middle East, showing how a hybridized Shi‘ism emerges through processes of translation and transnatioanlization. We show how second-generation European Shi‘is develop and practice transnational engagements and attachments We also examine the role ritual lamentation poetry and ritual purveyors in cultivating and promulgating globalised and trans-localized imaginaries.