2nd Annual Zaytuna College Conference on Higher Education
2nd Annual Zaytuna College Conference on Higher Education


Forging Islamic Authority: Navigating Text and Context in the Modern World

Berkeley, California | Saturday, April 4, 2015


The Muslim world is in crisis, and the crisis is multi-layered. In many ways, the crisis revolves around the issue of Islamic authority. If international law recognizes nation states, what role is there for solidarity on the basis of a trans-national ummah? With national boundaries, to what extent can Muslims have solidarity with non-Muslims, whether as minorities in non-Muslim lands or in countries with a Muslim majority? Are there limits to a believer’s allegiance to a secular state? What texts are to be considered authoritative when approaching these questions? And is there one locus or multiple loci for legitimate interpretive authority? While the focus of the public discourse remains on the headlines, a much deeper epistemic debate is at hand centering on re-constituting Islamic authority in the post-Ottoman, nationalist and post-colonial periods. The complexity of this debate is muddled by a set of external circumstances that impinge into a scholar’s inner sanctum: globalization, neoliberal economics, corporatization, and commodification of knowledge, all of which challenge traditional frameworks for analysis and modes of transmission. Attempts at re-constituting Islamic authority have taken many forms but questions still remain. Indeed, we have arrived at a point where Islamic authority is limited, non-existent, sidelined, or mocked due to engagement in tangential and inconsequential debates. Where are we? Who are “we?” And where are we going?

Papers may engage the above theme from any perspective, including the following:


  • Academic vs. traditional authority
  • Cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism
  • Science and technology
  • Institution-building and citizenship
  • Geopolitics, power, and economic interests
  • Race and gender
  • Educational philosophy and the human person


The above list is meant to be illustrative, not exhaustive. Individual papers will be combined to form thematic panels; pre-organized panels are welcome. 300-word abstracts were due on Feb 15th, 2015. Final papers are due April 1, 2015 in a Microsoft Word or pdf document, with a short bio, to Dr. Hatem Bazian hbazian@zaytuna.org




Hotel Durant

2600 Durant Avenue

Berkeley, CA 94704

(510) 845-8981 

Holiday Inn Express Berkeley

1175 University Ave 

Berkeley, CA 94702
1 800 315 2621 

The Claremont Hotel, Club & Spa

41 Tunnel Road

Berkeley, CA 94704

Toll Free 800-551-7266 
Main 510-843-3000

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Berkeley Marina

200 Marina Blvd.
Berkeley, California 94710

 (510) 548-7920  


Following are transportation options from the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Oakland International Airport (OAK) 

Limousine Service (SFO and OAK)



Taxi Service (SFO and OAK)


Super Shuttle SFO (shuttle and limo)


Super Shuttle OAK (shuttle and limo)



BART (subway) from OAK to Berkeley


BART from SFO to Berkeley