Islamic Trust Studies Symposium 2021
“The Recipes for Trust Studies: Materials and Methods”
General Moderator：Nobuhiro Ota (ILCAA)
Greeting and Introduction 13:00-13:20
Hidemitsu Kuroki (ILCAA/SRC Hokkaido University, A03 Principal Investigator, Area Organizer)
Part I Gathering materials 13:20-14:30
: Presentation by researchers of Publicly Offered Research
Moderator:Shinsuke Nagaoka (Kyoto University, A01 Principal Investigator)
Khashan Ammar (Ritsumeikan University)
Masumi Isogai (Chiba University)
Emiko Sunaga (The University of Tokyo, U-PARL)
Erina Ota-Tsukada (ILCAA)
Dai Yamao (Kyushu University)
Kenji Kurodda (National Museum of Ethnology)
Tatsuro Futatsuyama (Kagawa University)
Break time 14:30-14:40
Part II Closely examining the ingredients: translation and thought as strategies 14:40-15:40
: Topics of conversation furnished by Principal Investigators of A02 & B02
So Yamane (Osaka University, B02 Principal Investigator)
“Strategic judgment seen in the policy changes of Taliban”
Jin Noda (ILCAA, A02 Principal Investigator)
“Between Islamic laws and customary laws: translation for the conflict resolution” (tentative)
Break time 15:40-15:55
Part III Discussion 15:55-16:55
Closing address 16:55-17:00
Venue：Open to public, Admission Free, Online via Zoom, Pre-registration required
Grant-in Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A)“Connectivity and Trust Building in Islamic Civilization” (Area Organizer: Hidemitsu KUROKI (ILCAA/SRC Hokkaido University); 20H05823)
E-Mail : connectivity_jimukyoku[at]tufs.ac.jp
As the first cross-group event for incremental development, the Islamic Trust Studies project’s FY2021 symposium was held under the title, “Recipes for Trust Studies: Materials and Methods”. Four of these symposia are planned. Reflecting a cooking metaphor, the first was called “Ingredients”, meaning the raw data materials. The second in FY22 is “Cooking”, which means processing the data. The third in FY23 is “Serving”, in the sense of presenting the processed materials. And finally, the fourth in FY24 is “Tasting”, which means experiencing the flavor and digesting the finished results. With actual materials and methods in mind, this “Ingredients” symposium featured presentations from speakers from two project groups (Group A02: Jin Noda, Group B02: Yamane So) and seven speakers on the solicited research topics. This first symposium was structured into three sections, again with the cooking metaphor. Part I: “Collecting Ingredients” featured reports on the seven solicited topics. Part II: “Inspecting the Ingredients: Thought & Translation as Strategies” featured the reports from Noda and Yamane. And lastly, Part III was the general discussion period. Domain representative Hidemitsu Kuroki gave the opening and closing remarks. This report focuses on Part II.
In his opening remarks, Kuroki explained the goals of this event in relation to the current challenges facing connectivity. Amid the coronavirus and conditions in the Ukraine threatening to destabilize existing connectivity, there’s diminished interest in analysis that traces such threats to connectivity back to their origins. He said we need to imagine the mindset of the people who built those connections at each time and place, and consider what must be done to repair those connections. Kuroki said he hopes participants at this symposium will put that mindset to use in interpreting the issues presented here.
In Part I, speakers from the seven solicited research topics presented a wealth of materials and methods dealing with trust and connectivity. Most of the presenters took a different digital humanities approach, attempting to quantify and visualize trust and connectivity.
In Part II, Jin Noda went first, giving a detailed report using Kazakhstan as an example, titled “Between Islamic Law & Common Law: Translations for Conflict Resolution”. He began by presenting the theoretical supposition that translations are a step toward establishing inter-personal relationships between people who lack knowledge of each other. Then he spoke about the significance of focusing on the steppes region of Kazakhstan. Translations are indispensable in multi-ethnic multi-lingual Kazakhstan. Moreover, in the steppes region where Islamic norms are not always the standard, religious language and writings from Arabic are not literally interpreted or directly translated. When focusing on Islam, examining the translation practices of the steppes region is tied to a deeper understanding of Islamic connectivity. Given this perspective on translations, Noda explained about the relationship between Islamic law and common law pertaining to translations, using the example of Kazakhstan. The common law of the steppes region has somewhat merged with Islamic law, adopting terminology from Arabic. It has also been influenced through the process of being codified as official common law. He cited the International Assembly Court held in the China-Mongolia border region as a useful example in examining how common law merged with Islamic law. He said there is still a need for thorough examination of the records from this court. In closing, he reiterated the need to examine the roles played by universal laws and systems in structuring correspondences with Islamic components.
The other presenter in Part II was So Yamane, whose report “The Strategic Decisions seen in Taliban Policy Changes” explained about the context behind the formation of the Taliban’s ideology, reaching back to the era of colonization. Yamane traced the Taliban’s ideological origins to the Deobandi sect, which is one of the three major schools of Sunni Islam in South Asia today. Unlike the Deobandi madrasas in India, which distanced themselves from politics, the Deobandi madrasas in Pakistan, which produced the leaders of the Taliban, were under Islamist influence. Starting in the 1980s there was a rapid increase in the number of Deobandi madrasas in Pakistan, with many young Afghanis coming to study in Pakistan’s northwest region. He said living at these madrasas strengthened the students’ inclinations toward traditional practices. Then, amid an influx of funds and fighters to Pakistan’s northwest region in opposition to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the youth became disaffected toward the traditional tribal values of that region and were instead inspired by radical Islamist ideology. In tracing ideological changes in the lead up to the establishment of the Taliban in 1994, Yamane noted that the Taliban’s ideological basis has not been sufficiently substantiated. In the latter half of his presentation, speaking about the Taliban’s intended public image and their actual actions since their founding, Yamane focused particularly on the period after August 2021, when they seized control of Kabul. He said their current approach, allowing women some progress in society, giving amnesty to deposed Afghan government officials, and opening diplomatic relations with China and Russia, is quite different from their international isolationism in the 1990s and their penchant for armed conflict in the 2000-2010 period. Yamane ended the presentation noting the need to better understand both the Taliban’s ideological foundations and how they establish trust.
In the general discussion period, the audience asked the presenters about how their topics relate to connectivity, and about particular facts presented and how exactly they were verified. Although each of the reports was essential to a better understanding, the group discussion did not get into specific prospects for next year’s research. In his closing remarks, Kuroki pointed out the need for future discussions of the core concepts involved in translating and transforming ideas, and said the use of imagination has been a consistent concern in understanding connectivity and the strategies behind it. At the same time, understanding each report in light of that concern was left up to the listener. There were likely many in the audience like myself, who were doing their best to understand the content of the reports. It might have been better to restate the goals of this symposium to encourage discussion before opening the floor to questions. Also, because this was a hybrid event with some presenters and audience participating in person and others online, technical difficulties resulted in not everyone enjoying an equally smooth participation experience. There’s a need for better proficiency with the internet connectivity aspects of these hybrid events, myself included. Looking back over the standout points, I feel this was a valuable experience in preparing for our upcoming international conference later this fiscal year. At the end of their presentations, international conference organizers Noda and Yamane put forth challenging tasks that require flexibility of imagination. I look forward to future developments in this project, and seeing what kind of cooking will be done with the given ingredients. (Number of participants: 70, Reporter: Sumito MIZUSAWA)