Theme Panel: Political Competition, Religious Authority, and Orthodoxy in Muslim World

Political Competition, Religious Authority, and Orthodoxy in Muslim World

Scholarship on the relationship between politics and religion has oscillated between 1) essentialism where religious doctrine and orthodoxy is regarded as constant and capable of explaining a wide array of political, social, and economic outcomes and 2) rationalism where religious discourse and orthodoxy are either entirely ignored or valued predominantly for purely instrumental utility. Challenging both traditions, this panel takes religion more seriously and focuses on how religious orthodoxy and religious authority are constructed and vary over time. Critically, the panel explores the ways political competition over religious authority and orthodoxy can define the forms that religious discourse can take within the Muslim world.

Marc Lynch, George Washington University (Chair)
Michael Driessen, John Cabot University (Discussant)

Islamic Authority in the Internet Age
Richard Nielsen, MIT (Author)

Does Doctrine Matter? Analyzing Shifts in Official Islam through Friday Sermons
Kristin E. Fabbe, Harvard Business School (Author)
Avital Livny, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (Author)
A.Kadir Yildirim, Rice University (Author)

Religious Authority and Islamist Popularity: Survey Experiment Evidence
A.Kadir Yildirim, Rice University (Author)