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Call for Papers: International conferences on Rethinking Halal: Genealogy, Current Trends, and New Interpretations

From the 24th to the 25 of April 2018, a unique conference, Entitled “Rethinking Halal: Genealogy, Current Trends, and New Interpretations”, exploring the modern uses of “halal” labelling will be held at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

IMPORTANT DATES
Deadline for Submission of Abstract : Monday, 8 January 2018, 07:00 am CET.
Abstract Notification acceptance : Monday, 29 January 2018, 11:00 pm CET.
Deadline for Submission of full paper : Monday, 26 March 2018, 07:00 am CET.
Conference dates : Tuesday-Wednesday, 24-25 April 2018.

The issue of halal sprang up in the early 1980s, but only in the past 10 years has it become a salient concern, especially in Europe and Asiatic non-Muslim countries, mainly for business purposes and other economic activities. Since then, halal has progressively encompassed all aspects of modern human life, including halal food-processing, halal hotel, halal sauna, halal cosmetics, halal drugs, halal fashion, halal taxi, halal airline, etc. From this halal phenomenon, many new things arose: halal certificate bodies (HCB), Islamic marketing, Islamic finance, and the like. Accordingly, halal has been continuously normalized and standardized by modern rationality that has turned it into a practice and policy for regulating Muslims in their whole daily life. These new practices in economy progressively required new kinds of scholars (‘ulama) committees to deal with new discoveries in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, in order to issue fatwas on such issues, which did not exist or were different in the past within classical-fiqh discussion.

In the same vein, halal creates a spirit of entrepreneurship based on ethics that claims to abide by Islamic law, arguing to serve the Muslim community. Consequently these economic practices lead to some extent to a “halal management model” which could be understood as a management based on Islamic values and norms. At the same time, this halal economy has been largely practiced by specific ethnic groups using their ethnic identity (Moroccan, Indian or Turkish for instance) for halal commerce. This reality unveils the relation between ethics and ethnic that is closely intertwined in Muslims’ economic practices. Companies and firms are based upon an Islamic ethics and on ethnical identity and values in order to attract more consumers and clients. These interactions force the State to regulate and legislate on halal. In that respect, one may say that the State becomes an active ‘agent’ for halal. Once halal is been regulated, it often creates legal and judicial conflicts. This phenomenon never happened in the past.

For this conference, we invite scholars and researchers to speak on the genealogy of halal since Muslim religious scholars started to instruct a written knowledgeable debate on ‘halal’ and to unravel Muslim social practices towards halal. We need also to discuss how the main stake holders in halal (‘ulama, state, halal certificate bodies, scholars) are producing halal norms and standards applying to ‘others’. This could lead us to rethink how they become moral agents (individually or institutionally) aiming to control, to guide, and to dictate what is lawful and unlawful for societies, industries, and companies. Eventually, we must explore the production of fatwas about halal interpretations of new discoveries and findings in science. This circle of ‘halalness’ is the result of a continuous, contingent process within Muslim communities and scholars. Keynote speakers and selected-speakers are, therefore, expected to write a paper based upon an original and high-quality research, which will be distributed during the conference for critical comments, suggestions, and feedbacks.

The conference will feature keynote speakers in the field for plenary session and invited scholars as discussants. This two-day conference offers a unique opportunity to share knowledge among specialists in the field and to contribute to a forthcoming publication. The conference will favor interdisciplinary discussion in the globalized world: law, politics, anthropology, sociology, education, history, philology, economics, food, pharmaceutics, and cosmetic technologies.

The conference will focus, but will not be limited to the following themes:

1.      Halal Certification Bodies (HCB) and the “Imagined Standardized Norms” of Halal

This theme is dedicated to (i) the study of halal certification bodies around the world, both in Muslim majority and Muslim minority countries, and (ii) their supposed role to create “imagined” standards and norms in halal. The theme attempts to answer: Who are the actors in halal certification bodies? What are the standards? Do they make norms for halal? What is the role of ulama in the process of certification? Who is the authority in deciding the halalness of a product? Does the standardization of halal neglect traditional Islamic institutions? Does the HCB marginalize the role of ‘ulama? Does the HCB become an enterprise primarily seeking profit as a multinational or national company rather than serving Muslim communities? What is the financial dimension in the halal certification process?

2.      Glocalisation and Networks of Halal

The glocalization (combining global and local dynamics) of halal and its network are an important fr