Muslim Studies Program 15th Annual Conference

Muslim Studies Program 15th Annual Conference
Contributed By: events coordinator
Organizing Institution: Michigan State University
Contact email: [email protected]
Start Date: February 24, 2022 (8:00am EST)
End Date: February 25, 2022 (3:45pm EST)
Michigan State University – East Lansing – Michigan – United States

Michigan State University is hosting an international conference entitled ‘Belonging Nowhere’: the States of Statelessness in the Muslim World. This conference recognizes that Muslims comprise a significant portion of the over 36 million refugee and stateless persons worldwide and seeks to understand the drivers of conflicts that lead to displacement in the Muslim world and the effects it has on Muslim communities. Further, we hope to explore avenues for advocacy for such communities, at local, regional, and global scales.

Significance of theme: Several international conventions frame our understanding of and responses to statelessness and refugees. These include the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, the Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons (1954), and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness (1961). Under these conventions, contracting states must afford displaced individuals protections and rights as any lawful alien in that country. Various other conventions and organizations have been created over the years to establish rights for stateless persons and refugees under international law. Despite these efforts, stateless individuals and refugees continue to be denied basic human rights and protections such as identity documents, employment, education, and access to health services. Stateless people continue to have no legal protection and no right to political participation, or even to advocate on their own behalf. They often lack access to education, employment, health care, registration of birth, marriage or death, and property rights. Refugees and stateless people may also encounter travel restrictions, social exclusion, heightened vulnerability to poverty, poor health outcomes, social exclusion, sexual and physical violence, exploitation, human trafficking, forcible displacement, and an increased risk of radicalization.
According to the UNHCR, statelessness, and refugee status have devastating effects on the lives of at least 36 million people around the world. Of these, nearly 75% have effectively become minority groups in new lands, as is the case with, for example, Palestinian Kurds, Syrians, and Rohingya Muslims. Whole generations of Muslims are growing up disenfranchised with little to no legal protections and long-lasting political, social, and psychological consequences. Panelists will be invited to discuss the causes of displacement and the consequences for individuals, estates, and our increasingly global Muslim communities

Tentative Program:

Thursday, February 24

9am – 9:15am Opening Remarks: Dean Hanson, Dr. Farha Abbasi, Prof. Najib Hourani, Prof. Linda Sayed 

9:15am – 10:45 Panel 1: REGIMES OF BELONGING: PANEL 1

  • Benjamin P Beames: Stateless by Design: The Shadow Children of Turkey
  • Mehrnaz Hashemi: Iran’s legal regime concerning refugees: its shortcomings and upcoming challenges
  • Stephanie Nawyn:
  • Jinan Bastaki: The Right to Return Nowhere: Palestinians in Arab States


  • Aseel Sawalha: The Hindrances of Making Art at Times of War-Two Cases from Amman
  • Riyad Shahjahan: A Temporal gaze towards academic ‘statelessness’: Bangladeshi mobile scholar perspective
  • Leila Tarakji: Reclaiming Home and Humanity in Narratives of Displacement
  • Hanan Aly: The Stateless Other in Etel Adnan’s Sitt Marie Rose and Wajdi Mouawad’s Scorched

12:30 – 1:15 Lunch 

1:15 – 2:15 Keynote: Rochelle Davis 


  • Dr. Sabah Uddin/Dr. Nabila Hijazi: Syrian Refugee Women Transcend Time and Space to Construct “Home”
  • Alyssa Miller: “Kinship and the Affective Politics of Citizenship for Tunisian Returnees
  • Marwa Bakabas: No Space for Birth, No Space for Death
  • Michael Perez: Enduring Statelessness: Ex-Gaza Refugees and the Politics of Ordinary Life

Friday, February 25


  • Farha Abbasi
  • Omar Reda
  • Hadia Zarzour

 10:30 – 12pm: Panel 5: REGIMES OF BELONGING: PANEL 2

  • Ashley Walters: Citizens of Nowhere: Stateless Muslims in the United States
  • Zainab Saleh: The Tale of Homecoming
  • Thomas McGee: Syria’s Changing Statelessness Landscape
  • Randa Serhan: Palestinians in Lebanon: Form Refugees, to Stateless, to a State of indefinite Exception

12pm – 1:30pm: Lunch 


  • Basit Kareem Iqbal: Ghurba and the Vagaries of Re-habilitation
  • Hossein GhazizadehCitizenship and statelessness in Islamic jurisprudence with Shiite recitation; a case study of the jurisprudential and legal status of non-Shiite Muslim refugees
  • Gozde Burcu Ege: Negotiating charity and humanitarianism in the youth volunteers’ practices
  • Jyotsna G. Singh: “Muslim Citizenship and Belonging in Contemporary India”

2:45pm – 3:45pm: Closing discussion among participants  

Registration link.

Michigan State University
International Center
East Lansing , Michigan United States
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