UWS research centre explores the place of Muslims in contemporary society

Date: 16/07/2009

A new research centre at the University of Western Sydney will explore the intricacies of Muslim culture and promote in-depth discussion about the place of Muslim communities in multicultural societies such as Australia.

On Thursday 16th July, 2009, the Hon. Daryl Melham MP will officially open the UWS Centre for the Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies, together with UWS Vice-Chancellor Professor Janice Reid at the Bankstown Campus.

Director, Professor Bryan Turner, says the University's latest, independent research centre will operate under the umbrella of the National Centre for Excellence in Islamic Studies (NCEIS).

"In January 2007, it was announced that UWS had been selected along with Griffith University and the University of Melbourne to host NCEIS," says Professor Turner.

"The world-class National Centre aims to develop research programs that will advance Australian and international understanding of Islam and promote harmony and cultural inclusiveness.

"The UWS Centre for the Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies will add a new and important dimension to the research profile of NCEIS, by focusing on the study of Muslim communities and how they fit into and adapt to secular societies."

Professor Turner says the Muslim community, like any other community in Australia, makes a major contribution to the richness and diversity of contemporary society.

"The Centre for the Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies will undertake research projects which look toward the future of multicultural Australia and the place of Muslim Australians within it," says Professor Turner.

"By delving into this research area, the ultimate aim is to understand how Muslim culture and communities evolve over time and encourage greater intercultural harmony within Australia."

The Centre will also take an international approach to the study of Muslim culture and societies by conducting comparative studies on Muslim communities from New York and London, to Singapore and Sydney.

The first overseas visiting fellow in the Centre will be Dr Humeira Iqtidar from Cambridge University, undertaking an internationally focused research project on how young Muslims participate in cosmopolitan cultures.

The special event will feature guest presentations by Professor Abdullah Saeed, University of Melbourne; Professor James Beckford, Warwick University, UK; Professor Fethi Mansouri, Deakin University; and Professor Riaz Hassan, Flinders University.

WHAT: Official launch of the UWS Centre for the Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies
WHEN: 9:30AM, Thursday 16 July, 2009
WHERE: Lecture Theatre 4, Building 23, UWS Bankstown Campus, Bullecourt Avenue, Milperra.
MAP: http://www.uws.edu.au/campuses_structure/cas/campuses/bankstown

Danielle Roddick, Senior Media Officer, (02) 9678 7086, 0414 308 701, d.roddick@uws.edu.au


Professor Bryan Turner, the Director of the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies, is also Professor of Social and Political Thought in the School of Humanities and Languages at UWS.

Professor Turner wrote his first book Weber and Islam in 1974 and has since established an international reputation for his work. He has served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Deakin University; as Professor of Sociology at the University of Cambridge; and more recently as a Professor in the Asia Institute at the University of Singapore. In 2009, he will publish a book entitled 'Muslims in Singapore'.

The Centre for the Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies is a reflection of the University's ongoing commitment to building greater understanding and cooperation between Muslim and non-Muslim people.

In 2008, the University established a new undergraduate program in Islamic studies at UWS. In addition to research activities, the new Centre will also contribute to postgraduate teaching and research in the University with the aim of building a distinctive cohort of young scholars working broadly within the social sciences and humanities on research topics relating to religion, multiculturalism and post-secularism.



Media Officer

Danielle Roddick
02 9678 7086, 0414 308 701