The Dynamics of Islamic Culture
The Faculty of Arts of Radboud University Nijmegen has carried out research into Islam since 1947. Initially, the focus was on classical Islam, especially Islamic theology and, more specifically, the Mu`tazila, the rationalist movement therein (J. Houben, J. Peters). With the foundation of the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Middle East and the renewal of the curriculum at the end of the seventies, the current Islamic countries and recent developments within Islam also began to play a significant part in research. In 2000 this component was further strengthened by Radboud University Nijmegen’s participation in the newly founded International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) and the creation of an ISIM chair in Nijmegen. This expansion of Islam studies in Nijmegen followed inter national developments in research and reflects the growing demand for knowledge of the contemporary Islamic world.
With the increased globalization and the emergence of transnational communities and connections, the interaction between Muslims themselves and between Muslims and non-Muslims has taken on new dimensions. Radicalization is perhaps the most striking tendency, but pietistic islamization of everyday practices is just as much part of these new developments. The study of these developments and confrontations requires an interdisciplinary and transnational approach. Not only historical, philological and theological aspects, but also anthropological, economic, political-scientific and sociological issues demand attention. The period of early and ‘classical’ Islam, which shaped Islam as a religion and culture, and in which the authoritative texts were written and the rules of society developed, remains however a major area for special attention, because this period plays a significant part in the developments in Islam in the modern era. The interconnectedness of past and present, the fact that the questions dealt with in the study of Islam in the modern era also require the past to be studied, constitutes the unity of the new programme.
The research programme entitled ‘The Dynamics of Islamic Culture’ combines the various forms of expertise on Islam present in the Faculty of Arts and unites the researchers who study the early and classical period with those who focus on Islam in the modern era. The interwovenness of past and present and the interdisciplinary approach are characteristic of the Nijmegen research programme.
The programme ‘The Dynamics of Islamic Culture’ has two sub-programmes. One of them is ‘Islamic culture in development’ which studies the early and classical period of Islamic culture. The other sub-programme is ‘Reorientations in Islam and Islamic Culture’, which is concerned with the modern period.
Prof.dr. Harald Motzki
Office 9.08, Erasmusplein 1
6525 HT Nijmegen
Tel.: +31 24 3616048
(Source : Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen)