The Islamic Peace Studies Initiative – Presentation by Juan Cole at the Conference “Fi Subul al-Salām: Pacifism and Nonviolence in Contemporary Islam” at Manchester University, Tuesday, May 17 2022. Many thanks to Walaa Quisay.
- “Juan Cole and Samer Ali have directed the Islamic Peace Studies Initiative at the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies in the International Institute of the University of Michigan from 2016. The initiative sought to stimulate thinking and writing on the intersection of Peace Studies as an academic field with Islamic Studies, an intersection that our literature search suggested was all too rare. Other religions, including Christianity and Buddhism, were much better represented in the Peace Studies field. The Initiative led to two courses at the University of Michigan, two conferences, and two books — a monograph by Cole on the Prophet Muhammad and an edited book out of the conferences, edited by Cole. This presentation will discuss the project and its major findings.”
Juan Cole: “The Islamic Peace Studies Initiative”
Juan Cole (ed.), Peace Movements in Islam: History, Religion, and Politics [Click here] (I. B. Tauris, 2021).
From the website for the University of Michigan Initiative on Islamic Peace Studies:
Islamic Peace Studies Initiative
Funded by the International Institute Enterprise Fund, Islamic Peace Studies Initiative promotes academic research on the subject, as well as the professionalization and recognition of the subfield.
Peace Studies as an academic field has become well-established in academia. Over 150 colleges and universities offer courses in the area of Peace Studies, conceived broadly as everything from political philosophy to security studies to practical conflict resolution. The religious dimension of peace studies has bulked large, with 46% of programs being in church-related schools. While Christian peace studies is a large sub-field, the scholarly literature on peace with regard to Islam is much smaller.
Our initiative seeks to recognize scholars and activists who have already made key contributions to this field, and to encourage others to address it. We also seek to collect syllabi, bibliographies, directories of relevant academic programs and other useful information at this site. We will hold conferences and promote publication in this area. The Muslim tradition has been an important part of world history since late antiquity and is diverse and broad, straddling the globe. Today Muslims account for about a fifth of humankind. Perhaps because of struggles like the Crusades, Western writing on Islam has disproportionately focused on war and violence. The dimension of peace in this world religion is also deserving of exploration.
Islamic Peace Studies Initiative Annual Conference
Second Annual Conference: The Abode of Peace: Spirituality and Harmony in Islam
March 21-23, 2019, University of Michigan and Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church
This conference explores the spiritual dimension of peace in Islam. Negative peace has been defined as the absence of violent conflict and concerns security arrangements. Positive peace has been defined as actions, policies, and attitudes that promote peace. Our concern here is with positive peace, and with its inner manifestations, in affect, attitude and personal behavior. Sufism has been a major site of such peace-related themes, but they appear in other arenas of Islamic practice as well. Conference details »
Inaugural Conference: Peace in Islam; Islam and Peace
March 16-18, 2017, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Dearborn
This inaugural academic conference will explore themes of peace in the Islamic tradition, considering topics such as scripture and theology, the role of Muslim women, pacifist social movements, and the centrality of conflict resolution to the tradition. The conference is an outgrowth of the CMENAS initiative on Islamic Peace Studies. Conference details »