Epistemology, Methodology, Reflexivity

 

Postgraduate Workshop, University of Cambridge, 25th April 2017

 

Overview

This inter-disciplinary workshop presented a welcome opportunity for postgraduate students undertaking cutting-edge research to come together in order to examine in depth researcher-specific issues in the field of Islam and Muslims in Europe.

 

Objectives

The workshop sought to address questions of epistemology, methodology, and reflexivity, through a combination of presentations from invited keynote speakers, presentations by postgraduates at an advanced stage of their research, feedback from discussants, and general discussion with the (postgraduate) audience. 

We engaged with the following questions:

  • Epistemology: Which concepts are useful? For example, how can researchers critically engage with terms such as orthodoxy or Islamism? How can we make best use of paradigms rooted in other fields, such as social movement theory, without diluting the Islamic quality of the research object? What is the heuristic value and analytical relevance of the category ‘Islam’? 
  • Methodology: What consequences can choices about methodological praxis have for the production of knowledge in our research? How do we negotiate access, build trust and manage good fieldwork relationships in a politicised environment? What are the best strategies for managing limitations in methodological praxis? 
  • Reflexivity: How do researcher identities impact on research? How should researchers engage with social actors regarding the production of our work, and why? To what extent is it possible to manage research independence when working with organisations and institutions?

 

The workshop aimed to:

  • Offer opportunities to doctoral students at an advanced stage of their research to share how they navigate the issues of epistemology, methodology and reflexivity, and receive feedback on how they can write it up. 
  • Bring together postgraduate students at various stages of their research for wide-ranging discussions about their roles and challenges as researchers. 
  • Develop the state of knowledge and understanding of these issues through mapping and evaluating existing praxis. 
  • Learn from established academics about navigating and analysing these issues.

 

For the full programme please click here

For a poster about the event please click here

 

Organising Committee

  • Hira Amin, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge
  • Margot Dazey, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge
  • Alyaa Ebbiary, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, SOAS
  • Chris Moses, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge
  • Mathilde Zederman, Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS

 

Sponsors

We are grateful to the British Association for Islamic Studies and to the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge, for their kind sponsorship of this workshop.