This conference, entitled "Shia Minorities in the Contemporary World: Migration, Transnationalism and Multilocality", focused on Shia Muslims who have migrated from the Middle East and South Asia over the last 100 years, and brought together researchers working on Shia minorities in Europe, North and South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, the Pacific Rim and East Asia, that emerged out of that migration. It was organized by the new Chester Centre for Islamic Studies.
Sabrina Mervin is a researcher at the CNRS and a historian of contemporary Shi’ism.
One of the keynote lectures was delivered by leading historian of contemporary Shi’ism, Sabrina Mervin, who presented Linking Shia Minorities to the Shii Core: History, Rituals and Religious Authority. Sabrina spent a decade in the Middle East (Syria and the Lebanon) conducting research. She is the editor and author of a number of books, including The Shi’a Worlds and Iran (Les mondes chiites et l’Iran (Karthala, 2007)), Un réformisme chiite (Karthala, 2000), and Le Hezbollah, état des lieux (Actes Sud, 2008).
Oliver Scharbrodt, Professor of Islamic Studies and Director of the Chester Centre for Islamic Studies, said: “As ‘a minority within a minority’, Shia Muslims face the double-challenge of maintaining an Islamic as well as a particular Shia identity in terms of communal activities, practices, public perception and recognition.
“Often coming from minority contexts of marginalization and discrimination, their experience of migration and settlement in other parts of the world, whether enforced or voluntary, is often different from those of other Muslim immigrants. The rich tradition of Shia ritual practices and the authority structures specific to different forms of Shia Islam likewise shape the post-migratory minority experience of Shia. The papers presented at conference offered unique comparative insights into Shia minorities in a variety of contexts across the globe.