Workshop: “Aesthetics, Rituals, and Narratives in Islamic Mobilization”

Aesthetics, Rituals, and Narratives in Islamic Mobilization

About The Event

Workshop: “Aesthetics, Rituals, and Narratives in Islamic Mobilization”

Call for Papers

Date: October 24, 2024

Venue: The Middle East Centre, University of Oxford, Woodstock Rd, Oxford OX2 6JF (UK)

Abstract Submission Deadline: March 22, 2024

Funded by: Sasakawa Peace Foundation

Conveners: Dr Antonella Acinapura and Dr Kenichi Tani


For over four decades, the Middle East has witnessed the (re)emergence of Islamic mobilization—a multifaceted phenomenon that involves diverse groups advocating for visibility, political legitimacy, and resonance in response to social and political grievances. When analysing Islamic narratives of resistance, it is imperative not to underestimate the importance of aesthetic, ritualistic, and entertainment characteristics. These elements play a pivotal role in capturing people’s attention and motivating them to participate in collective actions.

In this workshop it will be investigated how art, rituals, performances, music, and symbolic meanings contribute to creating a cohesive narrative that shapes various forms of Islamic mobilization across the Middle East. Abstracts that explore aesthetics, rituals, and narratives within the context of Islamic movements in the Middle East are invited.

Submissions may address, but are not limited to, the following themes:

1. The Aesthetic of Armed Resistance:

    • Analysing the expressive dimension of Islamic militant activism, focusing on the interplay between symbolic meanings, visual representations, and emotions in influencing militant groups to challenge their antagonists.
    • Examining the contribution of art, slogans, graffiti, and music in shaping narratives of armed resistance.

2. Rituals and Islamic Mobilisation:

    • Investigating the incorporation of religious festivals, communal rituals, and traditions in Islamic mobilization.
    • Examining the role of rituals in the identity formation of Islamic movements.

3. Narratives in Action:

    • Investigate how activists construct narratives about memories of past struggles and current experiences of grievances to foster or resist political changes.
    • Examine the role of oral histories, art, literature, and cultural expressions as essential components of collective action frames, elucidating how activists express their grievances.

4. Digital Storytelling:

    • Exploring the role of digital platforms in enabling Islamic groups to share the experiences of activism through multimedia representations.
    • Analyzing the impact of digital activism on mobilization by unfolding the relationship between online campaigns and aesthetics of protest in the digital era.

Applicants must submit an abstract of 400-words, a 100-words biography, and a two-page CV to by March 22, 2024. Please note that only 15 abstracts will be selected for presentation. Notification of acceptance will be sent by April 2024. Papers to be submitted after the notification of acceptance will be 4000-words for work in progress and 8000-words for full articles.

Partial funding is available to support accommodation in Oxford for participants, with priority given to individuals with limited institutional support.


More information on: British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES)

  • Cost: Free
  • Total Slot: 0
  • Booked Slot: 0


The Middle East Centre, University of Oxford

Woodstock Rd, Oxford OX2 6JF, UK

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