Call for Papers: Developing a sense of belonging in diverse societies: Hui-Muslims in China and Muslims in Europe

14-15 May 2014
Gülen Chair for Intercultural Studies
KU Leuven University, Belgium 

Keynote Speakers:     

  • Hui-Muslims in China: Li Zhinong, Yunnan University
  • Muslims in Europe: Jorgen Nielsen, Copenhagen University

The aim of this workshop is to gather scholars who work on Hui-Muslims in China and Muslims in Europe to compare the similitudes and differences of identity practices. Hui are predominantly Chinese speaking Muslims in China’s vast territory. With a population of 10 million, they are also the most numerous recognized ethnic group in China. Muslims in Europe are hardly featured in international media, domestic politics, and scholarly discussions. Multiculturalism, radicalisation, immigration, integration, forced marriage are discussed through the Muslim visibility and presence in Europe. Recent debates on integration and secularism are focused on  the ‘Muslim question’. In contrast to the focus on Muslims in Europe, there is a notable lack of interest in Muslims in China with the exception of the Uyghur community. In this workshop, we want to study the impact of ethnic-religious interactions, state integration positions and policies to grasp the
increasing influence of religious-collective-national expression of Muslims in the public sphere. We would like to examine the new patterns of expression and visibility of the Muslims in China and Europe. Tracing Muslim’s interaction with non-Muslims, this workshop investigates how Muslims encounters, accommodates and negotiates into different socio political contexts in China and Europe.

A comparison between China and Europe provides a guide for analysis of different models. The workshop looks at the modes of organization of Muslims, their identity demands, social-cultural and religious dynamics of solidarity.

To examine Muslims’ ethnic-religious identifications in contemporary China and Europe, and trace in which ways Muslims develop a sense of belonging to the wider society, this international workshop will broadly focus (but also restrain the focus) on two topics: (1) the collective memory and identification of Muslims and (2) the interaction of Muslims with the local communities and the State.

  • Creating Collective Memory and Identity (through festivals, food, other trivial identity markers): This part looks at the Muslim way of life and their practices within different contexts to understand how a Muslim memory is shaped and constructed. In this regard, we want to analyze the circulation of narratives, translocal practices among Muslims in Europe and in China to seek whether they create new patterns-mixtures of their self-presentation. As Muslims are not homogeneous groups both in Europe and China, ethnic-religious diversity enforces the diversification of Muslim identity and practices within various secular-national contexts. The aim is to observe the daily practices, narratives and strategies to figure out the dynamics through which Muslims formulate their self.
  • Relations with other local ethnic-religious communities and with the State (exchange with different faith people, institutions, public authorities, citizenship models etc.) In this part, we want to understand the interaction of Muslims with non-Muslims, local communities and the state to adjust and to maintain their cultural-religious identity. The capacity of adjusting religious-political identity enables to study the citizenship rhetoric, community dynamics, and institutional structures. The different modes of dynamics between Muslims, non-Muslims and the State constitute the possible ways of pluralism and co-existence of differences. We examine the specific strategies and policies developed by Muslims and authorities to negotiate the citizenship and integration models.

Tuition Fees: There is no tuition fee for participants in the workshop programme. However, presenters and participants are expected to pay the costs of their travel and accommodation. The organizers have a reduced prize from ‘La Royale’ hotel in Leuven. The GCIS covers the meals and transportation in Belgium during the workshop.


  • A proceedings book of the workshop will be printed and distributed in advance of the workshop itself.
  • Within six months à maximum 1 year of the event, an edited book will be produced and published by the GCIS with Leuven University Press, comprising some or all of the papers presented at the Workshop, at the condition that they pass a peer review organized by the publisher. The papers will be arranged and introduced, and to the extent appropriate, edited, by scholar(s) to be appointed by the Editorial Board.
  • Copyright of the papers accepted to the Workshop will be vested in the GCIS.

Selection Criteria:
The workshop will accept up to 15 participants, each of whom must meet the following requirements:

  • have a professional and/or research background in related topics of the workshop;
  • be able to attend the entire programme.

Since the Workshop expects to address a broad range of topics while the number of participants has to be limited, writers submitting abstracts are requested to bear in mind the need to ensure that their language is technical only where it is absolutely necessary and the language should be intelligible to non-specialists and specialists in disciplines other than their own; and present clear, coherent arguments in a rational way and in accordance with the usual standards and format for publishable work.


  1. Abstracts (300–500 words maximum) and CVs (maximum 1 page) to be received by 1st October 2013.
  2. Abstracts to be short-listed by the Editorial Board and papers invited by 7th October 2013.
  3. Papers (3,000 words minimum – 5,500 words maximum, excluding bibliography) to be received by 1st March 2014.
  4. Papers reviewed by the Editorial Board and classed as: Accepted – No Recommendations; Accepted – See Recommendations; Conditional Acceptance – See Recommendations; Not Accepted, by 20th March 2014.
  5. Final papers to be received by 15th April 2014.

Workshop Coordinators: Erkan Toguslu, KU Leuven; Ding Yuan, Yunnan University – KU Leuven

Venue: KU Leuven University
The international workshop is organized by KU Leuven Gülen Chair for Intercultural Studies and Research Center for Studies of Chinese Southwest’s Borderland Ethnic Minorities of Yunnan University. It will be entirely conducted in English and will be hosted by KU Leuven Gülen Chair in Leuven.

Papers and abstract should be sent to Erkan Toguslu:

For more information please contact:
Erkan Toguslu
KU Leuven Gülen Chair for Intercultural Studies
Parkstraat 45 – box 3615
3000 Leuven