Re-Inscribing Islam into European History

European History Yearbook 2018: Forum Essay by Manfred Sing

Against All Odds: How to Re-Inscribe Islam into European History 

The central place that Muslims and Islam are accorded in the European media and public debates today contrasts with their near-complete absence in parts of European historiography until recently, Manfred Sing argues in his recent essay on Islam and European History.

Participants of the first congress of European Muslims, Geneva 1935. Picture: Van Beetem’s Family Archive (The Netherlands) – ERC Starting Grant “Muslims in Interwar Europe”, University of Leuven – n° 336608.

 

While right-wing demagogues campaign against refugees, Muslims and the supposed Islamization of Europe, their argument that Islam does not belong to Europe is, at least partially, supported by the rather patchy awareness of a continuous and multi-facetted Islamic history in European societies and, horrible dictu, even in some history departments. Recent research challenges this neglect, tries to overcome the “Othering” of Islam, and demands a new conceptualization of European history that leaves behind the Europe/Islam binary. As the construction of a European identity and a European space is based on “Othering” – a definition of what is not European -, the conscious and visible integration of Muslims into European history poses a systematic challenge to narratives of Europeanization. The article draws attention to the difficulties that spring from this challenge and discusses new approaches in scholarship that try to overcome them.

Manfred Sing’s essay is published open access in

 

 

 

 

 


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