A Sparrow Alighted, A Soul in Flight

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

It is now five years since my late father, (Al-Hajj Al-Haafidh) Syed Shahid Ali, passed away. (In this connection, interested readers might want to read the tribute I wrote to him on Friday 24 May 2013.)

Similarly to what I stated in a post commemorating my reflections last year entitled “The Lark’s Ascending and The Soul’s Ascension“, much has happened in the intervening period, some of it good and some of it not so good, but all of it as viewed from my limited human perspective.

In what follows, I want to reflect briefly on some of the apparent good that has taken place since the post from the previous year. Once again, I have been blessed by God/Allah with a number of opportunities to further develop and apply my (Islamic) decolonial thinking in various settings.

  1. I delivered a talk entitled “The (Un)bearable Whiteness of Informationalist Religion” at the OURS2018: Contemporary Religion in Historical Perspective: Publics and Performances conference which was held at The Open University from 19-21 February 2018, Kents Hill, Milton Keynes, UK. The abstract is here.
  2. I have been invited to be guest editor for a special issue of ReOrient: The Journal of Critical Muslim Studies dedicated to exploring “The Decolonial Question Concerning Technology.”
  3. I presented a paper entitled ‘White Crisis’ and/as ‘Existential Risk’: The Entangled Apocalypticism of Artificial Intelligence at the AI and Apocalypse conference organized by the Centre for the Critical Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements (CenSAMM) which took place in 5-6 April 2018 at the Panacea Gardens in Bedford, UK. I have subsequently been invited to submit this paper for publication in a special issue of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, the oldest and pre-eminent journal in this field.
  4. I was invited to become the convenor of the newly formed Critical Information Studies (CIS) research group based in the School of Computing and Communications at The Open University, UK in April 2018.
  5. I have a chapter entitled “Heidegger and the Islamicate: Transversals and Reversals” in the forthcoming book Heidegger in the Islamicate World edited by Kata Moser and Urs Goesken and published by Rowman & Littlefield.
  6. I have a chapter entitled “Prolegomenon to the Decolonization of Internet Governance” in the forthcoming book Internet Governance in the Global South edited by Daniel Oppermann and published by the University of São Paulo.
  7. I presented a paper in the session on ‘Critical and Political Issues’ at Philosophical Hermeneutics in the Islamicate Context, an International Conference held at Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium May 9–11 2018. The abstract is here.
  8. I presented a paper in the panel on ‘Colonising and Decolonising Data’ at Data Justice 2018, an international conference hosted by the Data Justice Lab at Cardiff University May 21-22 2018. The abstract is here.

Truly a huge barakah from The Most High.

Unfortunately, I have not yet had an opportunity to visit the grave of my father at the Gardens of Peace Muslim Cemetery this year due to work commitments but will visit soon, insha’Allah.

I should like to end this post with the following piece of music which I dscovered this past year and which made me think of my father when I recently listened to it (the composer himself passed away earlier this year):

Peace

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The Lark Ascending and The Soul’s Ascension

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

It is now four years since my late father, (Al-Hajj Al-Haafidh) Syed Shahid Ali, passed away. (In this connection, interested readers might want to read the tribute I wrote to him on Friday 24 May 2013.)

As I stated in a post commemorating my reflections last year entitled “Of Gardens of Peace, Manifold Graces and Seizing The Time“, much has happened in the intervening period, some of it good and some of it not so good, but all of it as viewed from my limited human perspective.

In what follows, I want to reflect briefly on some of the apparent good that has taken place since the post from the previous year. Once again, I have been blessed by God/Allah with a number of opportunities to further develop and apply my (Islamic) decolonial thinking in various settings.

  1. I was invited to become a moderator of the Decolonial Islamic Studies Facebook group which was established in Summer 2016 and which now has 3500+ members.
  2. I gave an invited talk entitled “An Introduction to Islamic Decoloniality” at the Decolonise Not Diversify Festival in Birmingham on 8 October 2016.
  3. I presented a paper entitled “Heidegger and the Islamicate: Transversals and Reversals” at the Heidegger in the Islamicate World international conference which took place at the University of Bern in Switzerland on 2-4 November 2016. A revised version of this paper is to be included as a contribution for a forthcoming book in the New Heidegger Series.
  4. I gave an invited lecture entitled “Islam and Decoloniality” as part of the Islam and Liberation Theology Series at Oxford University on 29 November 2016.
  5. I gave an invited lecture entitled “The Decolonial Question Concerning Computing” at the Can Science Be Decolonised? KCL WiSTEM Conference in London on 18-19 March 2017.
  6. I gave an invited presentation entitled “Decolonising Computing” at the 6th eSTEeM Annual Conference: STEM Futures – Supporting Students to Succeed, Towards a Framework for Inclusive STEM Education at The Open University, Milton Keynes, 25‐26 April 2017.
  7. I have had an extended abstract entitled “Decolonizing Information Narratives: Entangled Apocalyptics, Algorithmic Racism and the Myths of History” accepted for presentation at DTMD 2017 – the 6th International Difference That Makes a Difference Conference, part of the IS4SI-2017 Summit: Digitalisation for a Sustainable Society at Gothenburg, Sweden on 12 – 16 June 2017.
  8. I have had an extended abstract entitled “Transhumanism and/as Whiteness” accepted for presentation at the Transhumanism- The Proper Guide to a Posthuman Condition or a Dangerous Idea? Workshop, part of the IS4SI-2017 Summit: Digitalisation for a Sustainable Society at Gothenburg, Sweden on 12 – 16 June 2017.

Truly a huge barakah from The Most High.

Unfortunately, I have not yet had an opportunity to visit the grave of my father at the Gardens of Peace Muslim Cemetery this year since my mother has recently been somewhat unwell, but we will visit there soon, after Ramadhan and Eid-ul-Fit, insha’Allah.

I should like to end this post with the following piece of music which continues to move me and which made me think of my father when I recently listened to it:

Peace