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Public Talk: Training the Imam: Locating American Sites of Religious Authority with Nancy Khalil

March 19, 2018 | 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Owing to a common absence of a central religious body to authorize religious clerics, combined with the U.S. secular conception of separation of church and state, Muslim authority in the United States contends with a regulatory vacuum. The concept of clergy that drives much of how religion encounters our bureaucratic structures in the U.S. liberal-secular context does not sufficiently transpose in the context of Muslim religious authority and service. In this talk, I offer an introduction to Islamic higher education for religious-leader training in the United States and argue that the institutionalization of Islamic seminaries can begin to fill the regulatory void in the imam profession. Such institutionalization and professionalization, however, can both simultaneously preserve and conflict with articulated objectives to sanctify traditional values of Islamic learning when bureaucracy emerges as a formative component of religion. Nancy A. Khalil is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Yale University’s Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity and Transnational Migration.

Sponsored by Cultural Anthropology at Duke.  For more information, please visit here.

225 Friedl Building

Duke University


March 19, 2018
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
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Friedl 225
Duke University
Durham, NC United States
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