Join us for the 1st lecture of the AKU-ISMC Guest Professor Programme in which Professor Aaron Hughes will address a pressing issue facing modern liberal democracies, imagined as particularly acute in the aftermath of 9/11: when and how to accommodate religious minorities. The latter are often subsumed under the rather problematic and open-ended rubric “Muslims.” This has resulted in numerous political and legal attempts to confront, categorise, and ultimately control internal Muslim communities, just as it has been used to keep external ones at bay. This Muslim Question, however, is often less about actual Muslims than it is about idealised and reified ones, what Professor Hughes calls “the ubiquitous Muslim,” someone who is imagined to threaten so-called Western values from within. In this lecture, Professor Hughes will address how this “ubiquitous Muslim” — everywhere yet nowhere, named but nameless, both unsettled and unsettling—subsequently aids in the recalibration of now politicised commitments to perceived founding ideals, such as liberty and equality.
Aaron Hughes is the Dean’s Professor of the Humanities and Philip S. Bernstein Professor of Religion at the University of Rochester, USA. He is also Visiting Guest Professor at the Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC). Professor Hughes is the author of of numerous books on Islam and religion, including , most recently, An Anxious Inheritance Religious Others and the Shaping of Sunni Orthodoxy (Oxford University Press, 2022), From Seminary to University: An Institutional History of the Study of Religion in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 2020), Muslim and Jew: Origins, Growth, Resentment (Routledge, 2019), and Shared Identities: Medieval and Modern Imaginings of Judeo-Islam (Oxford University Press, 2017). For the 2022/23 academic year, he holds the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in North American Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.
*The discussion will be followed by a reception.