School of Divinity hosts AAR-funded workshop

Contributed by Dr Ulrich Schmiedel

The School of Divinity at Edinburgh hosted the concluding workshop of ‘Liberalism’s Islams and Islam’s Liberalisms: Constructing a Contrast in a Paradigmatic Period’.

The international and interdisciplinary research project received funding from the American Academy of Religion.

Participants in the study include: Ulrich Schmiedel (University of Edinburgh), Hannah Strømmen (University of Chichester), Fatima Tofighi (University of Qom) and Tommy Lynch (University of Chichester). Photo by Ulrich Schmiedel.

Debates about religion inside and outside academia frequently assume that Islam is in conflict with liberalism as much as liberalism is in conflict with Islam.

The one-year research project brings together scholars from theology, philosophy, biblical and religious studies to address the construction of this conflict in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The team reviewed formative figures of this era in addressing the question:
Friedrich Schleiermacher, Ernst Troeltsch, Georg W.F. Hegel, Muhammad Iqbal, and Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr.

Analyzing both ‘Western’ and ‘Eastern’ key figures from this paradigmatic period, the research clarifies how these figures both construct and collapse this contrast which has been fundamental to global scholarship on religion ever since the nineteenth century. The results will be published soon.