Religion is known to be an important identity marker for social orders and potential power relations. The religious factor contributes to the definition of the self and the other. On the one hand, the religious component as legitimising social construct constitutes the establishment of certain social and cultural spheres and their boundaries. On the other hand, it operates as a connecting element across geographical, ethnic, social or political boundaries. Religious concepts offer the basis for legitimation of demands. Religious ties connect individuals to confessional or religious networks and postulate shared identity and belonging. Religious dogmas and norms constitute individual as well as collective orientations, codes of conduct and behavioral practices and interdependences between social and religious processes. This edited volume draws attention to religious aspects in modern, historical, political and social processes: spatial and social mobility, establishment of networked and globalized traditions as well as social development. What religious aspects might influence these processes and how? Scholars of Area Studies (Islamic Studies, Near and Middle Eastern Studies, Mongolian Studies, Central Asian Studies) as well as of Development Studies, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Political Studies and Studies of Comparative Religion discuss the role religion plays in these processes.
Stephan Conermann was born 1964 in Kiel/Germany. Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Bonn/Germany since 2003, he has served as Vice Dean of Research and International Relations of the Faculty of Humanities at Bonn University (2008–2010), and Speaker of the Bonn Asia Center (since 2008), the Bonn Center for Transcultural Narratology (BZTN, since 2009), and the Bonn International Graduate School of Oriental and Asian Studies (BIGS-OAS, since 2010). He studied Ancient, Early Modern, Modern and Asian History, as well as Slavic and Oriental Philology, at the University of Kiel, and took multiple language courses and study visits in Beirut/Lebanon, Damascus/Syria, Moscow/Russia, and Poznan/Poland. He did his doctoral studies at the Department of Oriental Studies at Kiel University from 1992 till 1996, and was afterwards a Research Assistant and Assistant Professor until 2003.
Elena Smolarz studied Islamic Studies, Eastern European History and Comparative Religion at the University of Bonn, from where she received her PhD on the establishing mechanisms of an official Islamic institution in the Russian Empire (1788–1860). As a research associate of the competence network “Crossroads Asia”, Elena conducts research on coerced mobility in Central Asia in the 18th and 19th centuries. Her main areas of interest include transformation of autochthonous societies under Russian imperial rule, historical anthropology of Central Asia, frontier studies and comparative studies on slavery.
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