Research Fellowship Programme for Young Muslim Scholars

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The
Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN) is pleased to announce the seventh
round of the research fellowship program, Islam in Southeast Asia: View
from within. The fellowship grants will be awarded for innovative
research on issues concerning economic, socio-political and cultural
changes taking place in the diverse Muslim communities of Southeast
Asia, especially as they relate to modernization and globalization.

Themes

  • Islam and Popular Culture: 
    This research theme seeks to understand the various areas of popular
    culture within Muslim societies. The perspectives and points of view of
    the so-called common folk is no less important than those of the elite
    and are expressed in a variety of ways that is collectively referred to
    as popular culture. There is a need to provide an understanding of the
    various definitions of popular culture and the debates that have been
    taking place within Muslim societies on the relationship between Islam
    and popular culture. This research theme encompasses five aspects of
    popular culture: popular music, popular literature, popular art, sports
    and leisure, cuisine, and the new media. Another important
    consideration is the manner in which Islamic rituals and practices have
    been influenced by popular culture. Popular culture is a vast area for
    research. It is expected that researchers will focus on just one or two
    aspects of popular culture. These dimensions of popular culture also
    include specifically Islamic activities such as listening to Muslim
    radio programmes or attendance of the maulid.
  • Southeast Asian Islam in the World Order:  Muslim
    communities are not immunes to globalization process. New forms of
    political and economic integration on a global scale and the resulting
    social transformation have created new opportunities as well as
    challenges for Muslims in the region. Among these challenges posed by a
    network of economic, political, military and cultural elite that make
    up today’s global hegemony . This research theme seeks to analyze
    global hegemony in terms of its impact on Muslim communities in
    Southeast Asia, in economic, political and cultural terms and document
    the varieties of response to global hegemony from the region.
  • Transnational Muslim ideologies and identity politics lization:  For
    more than thirty years, sociologist, political scientist and
    journalist, have been concerned with the phenomenon of “Islamic
    fundamentalism” or “Islamism” because of the predominance of security
    concerns, the attention has been on the operations of so-called
    Islamist groups, including those deemed extremist. In these studies,
    two major issues have been neglected. One is the Muslim-self
    understanding of extremism. In other words, how do Muslims understand
    and define extremism? The other neglected issue is the spectrum of
    contemporary Muslim ideologies that are not extremist. There are
    sometimes collectively referred to as traditionalist Islam. This
    research theme explores how Muslim ideologies and identities in
    Southeast Asia are formed and shaped. The clash of identities within
    Muslim societies and the ways in which Muslims have been confronting
    extremism.
  • Islam and Changing Gender Realities:   Rapidly
    evolving social, cultural and economic processes are leading to
    unprecedented changes in the societal roles of men and women. Muslim
    communities in Southeast Asia are being confronted with a diversity of
    values and lifestyles expressing multiple definitions of gender roles
    and relationships not always in line with dominant values. This
    research area encourages researchers to examine how gender roles in
    both the public and private sphere are changing for Muslims in
    Southeast Asia and relate those changes to current theological and
    political debates For example, research can include Muslims who have
    pushed the glass ceiling (in spite of gender bias) in their endeavors
    to serve the ummah, whether in historical or contemporary times; also
    institutions (e.g. family) or movements (e.g. feminism, fundamentalism)
    that have made change possible or that perpetuate the status quo.
  • Islam Values, Economic Activities and Social Responsibilities:   Studies
    in this area should examine how Islamic values and institutions can
    provide alternative economic options to those perceived as
    condradictory to Qur’anic principles such as riba. Area of focus could
    include identifying how Islamic economic values work in a modern
    business environment, analysis of indigenous entrepreneurial models
    that have been or can be utilized for local level empowerment and/ or
    studies of the lives of entrepreneurs and the ways Islamic values shape
    and are re-shaped by their economic activities and social
    responsibilities.
  • Confronting Environmental Degradation using Islamic Values:   Religious
    values have a great affect on the relationship between humans and the
    environment. Now that the world seems to be facing environmental
    degradation at alarming levels, it has become all the more urgent for
    Muslims to rethink their theories and perspectives on practices that
    work towards saving rather than destroying the environment. This in
    turn requires that Islamic religious principles that have a bearing on
    the environment are clearly articulated and transformed into policy and
    programmes. For example, how can debates surrounding halal-haram issues
    be made more relevant to the environment? How can these issues be
    brought into Muslim religious education and public discourse so that
    people are sufficiently conscientized about the ecologically-friendly
    attitude of Islam. This research theme aims to discuss such issues as
    well as document on-going attempts in the Muslim world to re-align the
    sensibilities of Muslims with the environment.

Eligibility

Candidates
must be nationals of Southeast Asian countries, hold at least a
Bachelor degree and should not be over 40 years of age.
Candidates
may work in different sectors including academia, media, and
non-governmental organizations. Candidate must be highly motivated to
deepen their understanding of Islam in the region.
Women are strongly encouraged to apply.

Fellowship Value

The
fellowship consists of an average research grant of $5,000 to cover all
research costs for a maximum period of six months in the original
country of researcher, and funded participation in mentoring workshops.
The Secretariat will arrange for editing, publication and distribution of the report in a "work in progress" series.

Application Procedure

To
apply for this fellowship program, candidates need to submit a complete
research proposal. Proposed research projects should include sufficient
details so that it can be judged for its merit and feasibility.
The candidates can download the application form as a MS Word document. Applications by e-mail are also accepted.

Programme Advisory Board

Dr. Carmen Abubakar
Institute of Islamic Studies,
University of the Philippines, Diliman, Q.C.
Metro Manila, Philippines.

Dr. Azyumardi Azra
Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN), Syarif Hidayatullah
Jakarta, Indonesia.

M. Abdus Sabur
Asian Muslim Action Network &
Asian Resource Foundation, Bangkok, Thailand

Dr. Chaiwat Satha-Anand
Faculty of Political Science,
Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand

Dr. Alan Feinstein
The Rockefeller Foundation, Bangkok, Thailand

Assoc. Prof. Syed Farid Alatas
Department of Malay Studies
National University of Singapore

Program Management

The
fellowship program is managed by the AMAN secretariat, which is housed
at the Asian Resource Foundation (ARF) in Bangkok, Thailand.
AMAN
was established in 1990 with the goal of building understanding and
solidarity among Muslims and with other faith communities in Asia
towards people’s empowerment, human rights, justice and peace. AMAN’s
Council consists of eleven members representing various Asian
countries, with Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer of the center for study of
society and secularism, India as chairman.
Financial support to the
fellowship program is provided by the Rockefeller Foundation, Southeast
Asia Regional Office Bangkok, Thailand.

Secretariat

Dwi Rubiyanti Kholifah – Program Coordinator
Contact Address
Islam in Southeast Asia: A View from Within
Research Fellowship Programme
AMAN/ARF
House 1562/113, Soi 1/1
Mooban Pibul, Pracharaj Road,
Bangkok 10800, Thailand
Tel: 66-2-9130196,
Fax: 66-2-9130197
E-mail:

\n aman@arf-asia.org

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

http://fellowship.arf-asia.org/
The closing date for application submission is 30 November 2008.
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