Ray Smith Symposium explores meaning of statecraft, governance in Muslim world March 31-April 2
Ray Smith Symposium explores meaning of statecraft, governance in Muslim world March 31-April 2March 28, 2006Carol K. Masiclatclkim@syr.edu
The Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and The College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University will present “Mirror for the Muslim Prince: Islam and the Theory of Statecraft,” the spring 2006 session of the Ray Smith Symposium, March 31-April 2 in 220 Eggers Hall (the Public Events Room) on the SU campus.
“In the aftermath of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ has emerged as the latest object of derision in the post-Cold War world,” says Mehrzad Boroujerdi, associate professor of political science at the Maxwell School and director of the University’s Middle Eastern Studies Program. “As a result, people have developed a political caricature of Islam which assumes that there is a unitary ‘Islamic’ position on important issues of statecraft and governance. We have spent a year and a half assembling a conference that will feature some of the leading scholars from around the world to address a wide set of topics and allow participants to engage in productive and meaningful dialogue on the issue of statecraft and governance in the Muslim world.”
The symposium will investigate the nature of political power in the Muslim world by addressing the minutiae, nuances and implications of the following types of questions:
- Does Islam provide an edifice, a common idiom and an ideological mooring for pre-modern and modern Muslim rulers alike?
- Is “politics” viewed as a unique vocation in Islam? What exactly is considered as “public interest” in Islamic thought? Was the state ever viewed as an independent political institution?
- What can we learn from the “advice to the Prince” literature in Arab, Persian, South Asian and Turkish traditions of thought? Should this literature be considered a prolegomenon to Western political thought? If not, is the content of this literature more in tune with the Realpolitik vision of the likes of Machiavelli and Hobbes, or the ethical politics of the likes of Rousseau and Kant?
- In comparing the trajectories of Muslim and Western polities, should we be succumbing to the seductive lure of “difference,” which seems to be the mantra of much contemporary political and postcolonial theory?
- Is it fair to say that Islamic historiography has been imprisoned by the worship of the ancestral, warmth of tradition, silence of customs and obstinate virtues?
- How did the intellectual elite explain the historical decline and torpor of decay in their respective societies?
- How should we understand the resiliency of Islamic ideology in the contemporary world? Do contemporary Islamic movements aspire to the classical paradigms of Islamic governance?
- Can political liberalism succeed in the Islamic world without an Islamic liberalism?
- How do citizens challenge the writ of theocratic Islamic states and bypass the stilted language of theology and jurisprudence?
- Why is it that in much of the contemporary Muslim world we only see a verisimilitude of democracy?
Scholars from across the region, country and world will gather to discuss these questions and convene in several panel sessions on topics such as: theories of statecraft in Islam; governance in the Muslim world in historical contexts; law, ethics and Islamic political thought; and Islamic ideologies in the contemporary world.
All events are free and open to the public. Parking is available at the Maxwell School. For more information on this event, contact Boroujerdi at 443-5877 or email@example.com. For a complete schedule of events, list of featured speakers and abstracts, visit the symposium’s website at http://thecollege.syr.edu/
A live webcast will be available at http://www.maxwell.syr.edu/ict/events.