Call for Papers

Call for Papers

Special Issue on ‘Islam, Art, and Popular Culture’.

This special issue on ‘Islam, Art, and Popular Culture’ aims to investigate art and popular culture as sites for possible configurations of Islam, Muslim cultures, and identities. Configurations may stem from Muslims producing art and popular culture, or from Islam and Muslims being represented or portrayed in art and popular culture (independently of the producers’ self-identification as Muslim or non-Muslim), or from Muslim theological/juridical/ethical discussions about art and popular culture.  

Muslims create art and popular culture, be it as graffiti artist, dancers, musicians, film makers, writers, calligraphy artist, in theaters, and so on. The art they produce (be it popular or not) can to a varying degree relate to, be inspired by, or constitute an expression of their religious and cultural identities. How that materializes and is negotiated is of key interest for this special issue. Of equal interest is how non-Muslim producers (that is, persons who do not identify as Muslim) represent and portray Islam and Muslims, for instance in movies, television series, novels, music, theater, and visual arts. A third theme revolves around theological discourses – historical or contemporary – of/on Islam, art, and popular culture.

For the purpose of this special issue, we take inspiration from a broad definition of art and popular culture, inspired by Nieuwerk et. al’s definition in Islam and Popular Culture (2016, 10):

We define popular culture as the expressive practices of everyday life, which include mass media products such as television shows and video games, individualized forms of expression like food and holidays, and of course, religion. The ambiguous nature of popular culture has the advantage of allowing those writing about it to offer the definition that best fits their particular analyses or research agenda and needs.

Our aim is therefore not to strictly define what art and popular culture is, but rather leave it open for contributors, in order to allow the exploration of the relationship between Islam, art, and popular culture, without the confinements of strict definitions.

In this special Issue of SJIS (Scandinavian Journal of Islamic Studies), we call for papers on the intersection between Islam, art, and popular culture. The papers may (to a varying degree) relate to the following four themes:

  • How do Muslim producers of art (popular or not) relate to their religious, and or, cultural identity?
  • How are Islam and Muslims represented or portrayed in art and popular culture (independent of the producer’s religious self-identification, Muslim or non-Muslim)?
  • Which theological positions are influencing the discourse of Muslim art and popular culture?


Deadline for first draft: 31 January, 2024

Final draft to us to peer review: 31 March, 2024

Publication: 2024

Guest Editors: 

Douglas Mattsson:

Ragnhild Johnsrud Zorgati:

Questions about this special issue can be addressed to the guest editors.