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Book Launch: Secularism and Identity

Event information

START DATE 7 December 2015
START TIME 05:15pm

C219/220, 2nd floor College Building, Middlesex University, The Burroughs London NW44BT

END DATE 7 December 2015
END TIME 08:00pm

The Department of Education presents the launch of 'Secularism and Identity: Non-Islamiosity in the Iranian Diaspora' by Reza Gholami, Senior Lecturer in Education Studies.


5.00pm    Tea

5.15pm    Welcome from Jan Williams, Dean of the School of Health and Education and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Middlesex University

5.20pm    Introduction to 'Secularism and Identity: Non-Islamiosity in the Iranian Diaspora' by Prof Waqar Ahmad, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Middlesex University   

5:30pm     'Secularism and Identity: Non-Islamiosity in the Iranian Diaspora' presented by Dr Reza Gholami and his guests: Dr Parvathi Raman, Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology, SOAS, University of London; Dr Farid Panjwani, Director of the Centre for Research and Evaluation in Muslim Education, UCL Institute of Education                

6:00pm      Closing remarks, Dr Debbie Jack, Head of Education, School of Health and Education

6:05pm      Networking, light refreshments including wine and nibbles will be provided.

To secure your place, RSVP by 25 November to 

Reza Gholami Secularism and IdentityAbout the Book

Within western political, media and academic discourses, Muslim communities are predominantly seen through the prism of their Islamic religiosities, yet there exist within diasporic communities unique and complex secularisms. Drawing on detailed interview and ethnographic material gathered in the UK, this book examines the ways in which a form of secularism – 'non-Islamiosity' – amongst members of the Iranian diaspora shapes ideas and practices of diasporic community and identity, as well as wider social relations.

In addition to developing a novel theoretical paradigm to make sense of the manner in which diasporic communities construct and live diasporic identity and consciousness in a way that marginalises, stigmatises or eradicates only 'Islam', Secularism and Identity shows how this approach is used to overcome religiously inculcated ideas and fashion a desirable self, thus creating a new space in which to live and thereby attaining 'freedom'.

Calling into question notions of anti-Islamism and Islamophobia, whilst examining secularism as a means or mechanism rather than an end, this volume offers a new understanding of religion as a marker of migrant identity. As such it will appeal to scholars of sociology, anthropology and political science with interests in migration and ethnicity, diasporic communities, the sociology of religion and emerging forms of secularism.

'This comprehensive and readable book is a major contribution and addition to the growing literature on Iranian and Muslim immigrants in diaspora, and a valuable book for anyone concerned with the complex relationships between migration, religion, diaspora, identity, and secularism.' - Mohsen M. Mobasher, University of Houston-Downtown (UHD), USA

About the Author 

Dr Reza Gholami is Senior Lecturer in Education Studies. He joined Middlesex University in 2013 from SOAS, University of London, where he also earned his PhD in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. He has previously held an AHRC-funded post-doctoral fellowship looking into the relationship between processes of identity formation and citizenship education.

He leads the Doctoral Research Training (DRT) programme, which is delivered through the Centre for Education Research and Scholarship (CERS).

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