Planned for March 23 and 24, 2011, in Bloomington, Indiana, Re-scripting Islam: Muslims and the Media – A conversation between media professionals and scholars will bring together journalists, scholars, bloggers and the general public for an exploration of the narratives spun about Islam and Muslims in the news. The goal of this conference is not only to discuss these issues, but to also move the conversation forward. Topics which will be addressed include Muslim identity and politics, the creation of Muslim counter-narratives and Muslims and new media. Because of the global nature of the project Voices and Visions is striving to make the conference an interactive experience not only for those physically at the event, but also for those who cannot make the trip to Bloomington. To this end the project will hold live webchats throughout the two-day conference featuring some of the speakers; panels and talks will also be live-blogged on the Muslim Voices website. The hope is that what is taking place in Bloomington can be informed, shaped and enhanced by the questions and comments of the project’s global audience. Many of the presentations, including a student panel, will be recorded and made available to the public on the website at the conference's conclusion. Please see below for conference schedule as well as the bios of our diverse group of speakers.
The conference's keynote address will be delivered by Andrea Elliott of The New York Times in the evening of March 23 at the Monroe County Public Library (303 E. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington, IN 47408). Elliott is a Pulitzer Prize winner – she won the award for her series of reports on an imam – who created the Islam beat at the Times. Her talk, "Muslims in a Post-9/11 America," will touch on how the Islam beat came into being as well as her experiences covering America’s diverse Muslim community. The IU School of Journalism is co-sponsoring Elliott's visit and lecture.
While Voices and Visions will continue to manage its online social and information sharing networks, Re-scripting Islam: Muslims and the Media – A conversation between media professionals and scholars will, in many ways, be the penultimate product. The project hopes that, by bringing together a diverse array of speakers and participants as well as by bridging the real and virtual worlds, a vibrant, engaging conversation can be constructed that begins to chip away at long held assumptions and stereotypes. It is the bridging of journalistic, scholarly, and public domains that has been at the project’s core and is the foundation for its ability to facilitate earnest dialogue in order to enhance understanding, improve means of representation, and provide for more effective and meaningful modes of interaction.