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IOC International Congress on “China and the Muslim World: Cultural Encounters”

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The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) through its centre IRCICA and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) are jointly organizing a congress on “China and the Muslim World: Cultural Encounters” to be held in Beijing on 28-30 June 2012.

The concept adopted for the congress was proposed by IRCICA around the following considerations: China and the Muslim world, two major civilizations with distinct collective identities, have each for their part played active roles in the progressive history of world civilization. Governance of life and social administration, the sciences, arts and techniques and economic activities acquired peculiar characters in their realms under the influence of their respective mainstream faiths and philosophies. Meanwhile over history these two worlds cultivated communications and interactions with each other via varying channels of cultural exchanges and trade of commodities and know-how. Furthermore, for about ten centuries from the spread of Islam until the period of European expansion, the Muslim world and China were leaders of global commercial and economic activity. May the global future as well bring bright prospects to both.

Studies about the Chinese civilization and the Islamic civiIization respectively have in a similar way generally approached these worlds with categorical, compartmental and for their largest part “orientalist” and “West-centered” perspectives. However the evolution of studies on history of civilizations, history of culture, science and technology in recent decades, together with significant advances achieved in authentic research within each of the OIC countries and China about their own history and civilization, altogether brought increasing evidence of the wealth of resources and knowledge that waits to be discovered within the proposed common framework of “China and the Muslim World: Cultural Encounters”. The theme promises to open multifold avenues for research on the history of each of these two civilizations, the relations having taken place between them, their relations with the rest of the world, and for exploring vectors of cooperation between them in facing the global challenges at present and in future. Specialists of the subject have been invited from the OIC Member States, universities in other countries and China itself with a view to provide as comprehensive coverage as possible of the below themes:

I. Historical processes in relations between China and the Muslim world

A. International relations

1. Early contacts
[7th-10th centuries, the Omayad and Abbasid periods and the Tang Dynasty respectively, contacts through the trade routes]

2. Long-standing coexistence
[10th-17th centuries, the periods of the Abbasids, Fatimids, Ayyubids, Ottomans and the Song (960-1279), Yuan (1279-1368) and Ming (1368-1644) Dynasties respectively]

3. China and the Muslim world in the period of European expansion 
[Relations between the Ottoman Empire and China during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), relations with the Republic of China (1911-1923)]

B. Cultural interactions

1. Philosophy and science
[specific topics, case studies]

2. Art and architecture
[specific topics, case studies]

3. Language and literature
[specific topics, case studies]

II. Relations between modern China and the Muslim world

1. 20th century developments and processes
[Relations between the OIC Countries on one hand and the Republic of China on the other]

2. China and the Muslim world in global context
[Present state and future prospects of cooperation between the OIC Countries and China, particularly in meeting global challenges of the 21st century]

III. Historiography, the state of studies
[Islamic studies in China, Chinese studies in the Muslim world, state, needs and prospects]

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