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12.11.2017 14:52 Alter: 34 days

A Dialogue between Islam and Culture

Call for Papers

Theme: A Dialogue between Islam and Culture
Subtitle: Re-Learning to Be Human for Global Times
Type: International Conference
Institution: Paramadina Institute of Ethics and Civilization (PIEC),
Paramadina University
  International Center for Thoughts on Human Sciences in Islam
  Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (RVP)
Location: Jakarta (Indonesia)
Date: 3.–4.1.2018
Deadline: 31.11.2017

Thematic Background 

One of fundamental causes of religious violence and extremism is a
void of respect to the human being in the name of sacred divine
virtues. On the other side, the profane values cultivated in modern
society have also lost the true meaning of being human in the name of
secularism. Both sides have put the human being in its peripheral
existence.  In the contemporary Muslim world it seems that there is a
latent theological tension between Islam as a religion based on the
divine revelation, which is universal and unchangeable and culture as
a product of human creativity, which is historical and always

Is the tension the effect of the contradiction between the absolute
and the relative? Or does the tension arise from an inadequate
understanding of the notion that Islam is a religion while culture
means something else? In other words, is the tension merely the
product of reductionism occurring in the connotative and denotative
meaning of religion and culture?

In fact Islam is not only a religion, but also a civilization (Seyyed
Hossein Nasr; Nurcholish Madjid). The historical facts have shown
that Islam has given birth to a glorious culture and civilization
with various scientific heritages as well as intellectual and
spiritual traditions which are preserved to this day. The Islamic
civilization is also extremely rich in poetry, music, and other forms
of arts, broadly as far as from Morocco in the West to Indonesia in
the East.

Why, then, should there be terms as "Cultural Islam," "Indonesian
Islam" or “Religious Islam”” Why should there be the discourse of
dialogue between Islam and culture? Is it not excessive to consider
Islam itself a religion or a civilization? It is understood that such
a discourse is devised in the context of responding to certain
religious views and attitudes, which view Islam as entirely
theological and transcendental in contrast to culture conceived fully
as anthropological and profane. It is also understood that the
attempt to have a dialogue between Islam and local traditions is
because there are some kind of religious groups (Muslim in this case)
which become intolerant due to the tension between the religious
teachings and the local cultural traditions.

Hence, the sub-theme of "dialogue between Islam and culture" in the
context of the main theme “Re-learning to be Human for/in Global
Times" has become an increasingly urgent and highly relevant subject,
especially when radicalism and religious extremism try to occupy the
intellectual and spiritual sphere among young Muslims with certain
superficial and impoverished religious symbols. In this sense,
religion becomes an idol that curbs the potential of humanity and
even against the nature of humanity and universal human values. In
the name of puritanism and orthodoxy, religion becomes a tool to
suppress the creativity of mind, science, wisdom, and culture.


Based on the above understanding, a dialogue between Islam and
culture is one of systematic strategies to attempt properly to
understand radicalism and religious extremism and reduce their
negative influence not only upon young people but also on genuine
religion itself. This is an important academic task in our complex
and globalized times to pioneering the effort of reconciliation
between Islam and culture. This is the goal of this conference. It
will begin with an investigation of how the model of acculturation of
Islam with a particular culture, and what kind of relationships Islam
should construct with a particular culture. This needs to identify
certain features and idea what "Indonesian Islam" means; whether
culture is recognized as dynamic and fluid or stagnant and
motionless. Moreover, some fundamental questions also need to be
thought out: whether Islam is considered fully transcendental without
any relation to the profane world; whether culture is viewed
completely profane without the transcendental dimension; and what are
the meaning of the transcendental and the profane.

These questions are part of the entrance to the answers or at least
some clarification of the conference theme "Re-Learning to be Human:
A Dialogue between Islam and Culture", which will be held on January
3-4, 2018, in Jakarta.


This international conference is a scientific collaboration between
PIEC-Paramadina University, IC-THUSI (International Center for
Thoughts on Human Sciences in Islam), and the RVP (the International
Council for Research in Values and Philosophy).

Submission of Papers

Abstracts of 250-300 words with a short vita should be submitted to
husain_heri(at) by November 31, 2017. Upon acceptance, full
papers should be submitted by December 20, 2017.

Important Dates:

Abstract Submission Deadline:
November 31, 2017

Full Paper Submission Deadline:
December 20, 2017

January 3-4, 2018

Pariticipation Fee:  USD 100  (This subsidized fee will cover two
days accommodation and board during the conference.)


Husain Heriyanto
Paramadina University
Email: husain_heri(at)