Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

“Kufr and Apostasy as Definitions of a Muslim”

Fri, October 5, 2018
“Kufr and Apostasy as Definitions of a Muslim”

Bruce Boville, Ph.D. Candidate, in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies presented a talk on Kufr and Apostasy as Definitions of a Muslim during the Islamic Studies Colloquium. Scholars of Islam have long asked, “what does it mean to be a Muslim?” Their definitions have usually revolved around discussions of what Muslims are supposed to do and the field has largely neglected the corollary discussion of what a Muslim must never do.  This talk will use the concept of kufr as a way of understanding not what a Muslim should or must do, but what a Muslim cannot do if they are to remain a Muslim. I will address three separate understandings of kufr throughout history to show that kufr as a concept is often deployed simply as a way of discussing the minimum acceptable requirements for membership in the Muslim community.




Bruce is a Ph.D. candidate in Islamic Studies at UT Austin studying religion and kingship as twin pillars of 21st-century Saudi governance.  He is interested in the intersections of religion and politics in the nation-state, including kingship, the codification of religious thought as state policy, and contestations of authority. Bruce also officiates over the Islamic Studies Book Club for 2018-2019. 


Islamic Studies Colloquium:

The Islamic Studies Colloquium is an opportunity for students and faculty across the University to present research on the study of Islam and the Muslim world.Colloquium meetings aim to provide presentation experience and constructive feedback on work in progress, as well as to foster discussion and a sense of cohort among the Islamic studies community on campus. Meetings are open to all UT community, and light refreshments may be served. The forum is coordinated by Dr. Hina Azam and Dr. Stephennie Mulder. The Islamic Studies Colloquium Series is sponsored by the Islamic Studies Initiative and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.



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