The 'Muslim Question' Citizenship and Racism in Australia

Blue banner featuring Australian flag and three young women in hijabs

14-15 December 2015

Deakin University Melbourne City Centre, Level 3, 550 Bourke Street Melbourne 

Since September 11, and with the more recent emergence of ISIS, the place of Islam in western societies has been consistently framed by a 'clash of civilisations' narrative. This has prompted public anxieties and government responses which seek to contain and counter 'extreme' expressions of Islamic faith and practice. In turn these have fuelled moral panics which have activated equally 'extreme' civil society expressions of Islamophobia, nationalism and racism directed at Muslim communities. The latter have been made publicly visible with the recent 'Reclaim Australia' protests, however the Cronulla riots shadow these expressions, directing attention to a decade in which such tensions have led to a sustained backlash against multiculturalism within the nation.

Day One: Islamic Religiosity, Active Citizenship and Belonging

Day one will address the 'Muslim question' circulating in citizenship debates in the western public sphere by calling for papers which identify and explore the authentic societal capacities that practising Muslims possess, including those informed by the ethical precepts which constitute the core of Islamic faith. Despite some notable scholarly contributions there is still a dearth of empirical evidence or objective examination of the relationship between Islamic belief, ritual and practice and civic attitudes and expressions of social responsibility toward the western political community. This empirical gap contributes to reductionist characterisations of Islam as a persistent threat to western societies, fuelling Islamophobic and 'extreme' nationalist responses. It is our hope that this event will prompt new conversations and directions for policy and research.

Day Two: Cronulla Riots 10 Years On

In reflecting upon the decade that has passed since the Cronulla riots, day two will address just how significant the Cronulla riots were, then and now, and whether – in a world preoccupied with the War on Terror – the riots remain a useful reference point for discussions of intercultural relations and multiculturalism in Australia. This is particularly relevant in a geopolitical context where Islam's compatibility with western liberal values continues to be contested at global, national and local scales.

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Speakers include:

  • Professor Anoop Nayak, Newcastle University, UK
  • Professor Scott Poynting University of Auckland, NZ
  • Professor Ghassan Hage, The University of Melbourne
  • Professor Fethi Mansouri, Deakin University
  • Professor Kevin Dunn, Western Sydney University
  • Professor Greg Noble, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University
  • Professor Adam Possamai, Western Sydney University
  • Professor Shahram Akbarzadeh, Deakin University
  • Professor Riaz Hassan, Flinders University
  • Associate Professor Anita Harris, Monash University
  • Associate Professor Amanda Wise, Macquarie University
  • Associate Professor Farida Fozidar, University of Western Australia
  • Associate Professor Wendy Shaw, University of New South Wales
  • Dr Yassir Morsi, The University of South Australia
  • Dr Gabriele Marranci, Macquarie University
  • Dr Michele Lobo, Deakin University
  • Dr Amelia Johns, Deakin University
  • Dr Joshua Roose, Australian Catholic University
  • Dr Saeed Khan, Wayne State University, United States
  • Dr Nahid Afrose Kabir, University of South Australia


The preliminary program is available on the Deakin University website (opens in a new window)

Further Information

For more information on this event including venue, registration and accommodation options see the Deakin University website.

Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation logo, and Western Sydney University logo

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