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CMSS Seminar Series: Religion, State & Society

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CMSS’s Religion, State & Society Seminars will explore the role of religion in shaping lived experiences of Muslims in the contemporary globalised world. This involves exploring the interaction between Muslims and non-Muslim in political, social, cultural and economic spheres at local, national and global levels.

Leading academics and researchers in the field will present papers on various topics, including terrorism and radicalisation, gender issues, democratisation, secularism, and so on.

WHEN: 4.30pm – 6pm

WHERE: Room 2.63 Political Science Conference Room, Social Sciences Building, UWA (Venue updated)


REGISTRATION: Register via Eventbrite for any or all seminars.


3 August:

Professor Graham Brown, University of Western Australia

Prof Graham Brown

Title: Notes on the epistemology of religious violence

Across the social sciences, the hypothesized role of ‘religion’ in ‘religious’ violence varies widely. At one extreme, popularised in works such as Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations, religion difference in and of itself is seen as the cause of religious conflict. At the other extreme, many development economists – including myself – have sought to ‘explain away’ religion by focusing on socio-economic characteristics. Neither approach is entirely satisfactory, however; as the historian Keith Wrightson notes of the English Civil Wars, violence can ‘mean different things to different people’. In this talk, I will critically review these different approaches to understanding religious violence and tentatively propose a framework for bringing them together, drawing on the conceptual apparatus of ‘discursive institutionalism’.

17 August:

Professor Samina Yasmeen, University of Western Australia

Prof Samina Yasmeen

Title: Jihad narratives in Pakistan: a comparative analysis

Pakistan has been the site of Muslim militant activity since the 1980s. But the magnitude and significance of these activities have intensified in the post 9/11 world. A number of ‘jihadi groups, employ narratives that are designed to secure support for their specific interpretation of engaging in jihad. These narratives differ in terms of the identification of targets, the logic behind targeting them and the ultimate reward for jihad. The presentation will investigate the concept of narratives in jihad, discuss some of the examples of jihadi narratives, and contrast them with alternative interpretations of jihad propounded by other Pakistani scholars. This would also investigate the gender dimension in jihad: how women are included and identified in the jihadi literature and their inclusion is being contested by other Pakistani women who work in the deradicalisation space.

31 August:

Dr Ian Chalmers, Senior Lecturer, University of Western Australia

Dr Ian Chalmers

Title: Has global jihadist ideology been transmitted to Indonesia?

The seminar explores ideas about the ideological beliefs of Indonesia’s small extremist Islamic community, specifically the process by which jihadist thinking arrived more recently. This paper argues that trends within Indonesia reflect trends within the Islamic world elsewhere – and a tension between ‘national’ and ‘global’ jihadist paradigms.


Azim Zahir

Research Assistant & PhD Candidate

Centre for Muslim States & Societies


P: (08) 6488 4554/M: 0417800303

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