Wesselhoeft to Discuss Muslim Social Ethics in Contemporary Paris, April 29

Kirsten Wesselhoeft
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Kirsten Wesselhoeft

Kirsten Wesselhoeft, assistant professor of religion at Vassar College, will give a lecture entitled "'Fraternal Critique': Muslim Social Ethics in Contemporary Paris." The lecture will take place at 4 p.m. Monday, April 29, in Gearhart Hall (GEAR) Room 258 on the University of Arkansas campus, and is free and open to the public.

Wesselhoeft's lecture will discuss the crisis of values many French Muslims see in their community. They describe their religious community as deeply fragmented on key issues, far from the "communitarian" collective that many secular French fear. In the face of this fragmentation, young engaged Muslims are using their debates and disagreements to cultivate the Muslim community as a primary ethical project.

Through debates about what aspirations, values, and histories should anchor Muslim community, French Muslims have developed an ethical framework and method that some of them call "fraternal critique." Rather than fragmenting the Muslim community, fraternal critique fosters argument as a practice of solidarity and cohesion. In a political climate where argument and dissent are often set in opposition to unity and efficacy, the method of fraternal critique makes a timely contribution at a moment when many of us are looking for a community worth fighting over—and worth fighting for.

Wesselhoeft is an ethnographer of Islam and social change, currently focused on contemporary Europe. Her book project is based on fieldwork conducted in France for over a decade, and tells the story of the lively ethical debates that define the contemporary French Muslim scene. Research on this project was supported by fellowships from the Fulbright Program, the Social Science Research Council, and the Lurcy Foundation. Wesselhoeft's articles and essays have been published in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, the Oxford Journal of Education, and the Journal of Religious Ethics. She received her Ph.D from Harvard University.

This lecture is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Religious Studies Program and the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Arkansas.

Learn more about the event on its Facebook page.


Nani Verzon, project/program specialist
Middle East Studies Program
479-575-2175, hverzon@uark.edu


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