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Organized in association with the Muhammad Alagil Chair in Arabia Asia Studies, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Workshop Directors

Cemil Aydin
Associate Professor, Department of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Engseng Ho
Professor of History and Anthropology, Duke University; Muhammad Alagil Distinguished Visiting Professor in Arabia Asia Studies, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Workshop Participants

Jawaher Al Sudairy, Research Fellow, Evidence for Policy Design, Harvard University
“The State Within: The Burmese Community in Makkah”

Guy Burak, The Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Librarian, Division of Libraries, New York University
“Mecca, Its Descriptions and Sovereignty in the Sixteenth-Century Indian Ocean: Jar Allah Ibn Fahd and His The Best of Joy of the Time for the Construction of Mecca by the Kings of the Ottoman Dynasty

Lale Can, Assistant Professor, History, City College of New York
“Central Asians in an “Exceptional” City?: The Politics of Imperial Citizenship in Ottoman Mecca”

Teresita Cruz-del Rosario, Senior Research Fellow, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
“Return to Mecca: Balik-Islam among Filipino Migrants in Southeast Asia”

Dadi Darmadi, Center for the Study of Islam and Society, Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University Jakarta
“State versus Private: Pilgrimage to Mecca as a Contested Space”

Hyeju (Janice) Jeong, Graduate Student, History, Duke University
“Home Away from Home: Community and Networks of Chinese-Muslim Political Exiles at Mecca (Hejaz) during the Cold War”

Mahmood Kooria, PhD Candidate, Institute for History, Leiden University
“Introducing a Meccan Version of Law: Networks of Shāfiʿī fuqahā in the Sixteenth Century”

Michael Christopher Low, Assistant Professor, History, Iowa State University
“Unfurling the Flag of Extraterritoriality: Foreign Muslims, Muslim Consular Agents, and the Evolution of the Capitulations in the Indian Ocean Hijaz”

Sebastian Maisel, Associate Professor of Arabic and Middle East Studies, Modern Languages, Area Studies, Grand Valley State University
“Private versus public service-provision and revenue-sharing for Hajj and Umrah”

Muhammad Arafat Mohamad, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore
“Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Saudization, Belonging, and the Migration Dilemma of Mecca’s Diasporic Residents”

Mohamed Sbitli, Senior Fellow, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies
“The Society of the Ulama of Macca “Ilm, Trade, and Tawafa”

Call for Workshop Papers

Mecca has long been revered, studied and celebrated as a unique place, a destination without equal that bestows its name onto other destinations, other meccas. While scholarly attention lavished on Mecca has been largely ideographic in persuasion, this workshop invites historical and contemporary studies on Mecca that speak to themes which have been central to the InterAsia conferences, such as mobility; transregional connections across Asia; transcultural relations; religious, intellectual, literary, political and diasporic networks; varieties of international society. Such themes engage data with historical depth and geographical reach that go far beyond the breathless abstractions of globalization-speak and the false culturalism of anti-terrorism security analysis.

By employing Mecca as a dynamic and live focal point, this workshop seeks to bring these themes together over two days of discussion. Mecca provides a challenge and an opportunity to interweave these themes so as to construct notions of transregional society that are not narrowly local yet are ethnographically rich, that are local yet cosmopolitan, and that constantly navigate states that are not set up to recognize or administer such transregional societies.

We invite proposals for papers that would contribute to such discussion, especially those drawing on non-European sources, historical and contemporary. We are open to a wide range of topics, which may include:

  • Mecca as refuge in exile;
  • endowments by distant persons;
  • pilgrim organizers/brokers (mutawwif) who chaperone pilgrims from given regions;
  • scholarly, sufi or diasporic networks past or present;
  • regional pilgrimages to mini Meccas elsewhere;
  • logistics;
  • generations of Meccans without citizenship papers or rights;
  • Meccan communities and neighbourhoods;
  • trade and pilgrimage;
  • redevelopment of Mecca, Meccan urban developments as stable, longterm investments;
  • bureaucratization and marketization of organized pilgrimage;
  • Meccan legal framework for an international city;
  • Significance of Mecca in transregional circuits of ideas and mobility of people across centuries;
  • What different modes of transport entail for the pilgrimage, and their consequences: walking, sailboats, buses, steamships, trains, aircraft; from the Indian Ocean zone, Central Asia and China, as well as nearer by;
  • Mecca as a symbolic and actual center of Muslim internationalism, as well as colonial fears of Pan-Islam;
  • Mecca as a hub of political networking during the era of imperial rivalries, decolonization, and the Cold War;
  • Challenges of administering pilgrimage and Mecca as a global Muslim city during the 20th century;
  • Impact of travel writings to Mecca on the intellectual, religious and cultural history of diverse Muslim societies;
  • Urban Architecture, neighborhoods, hospitality industry and ethnic diversity of Mecca in the past and present.