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Colloquium: Rethinking the ‘Umma’ for a Globalized World Ft. Dr. Katrin Jomaa

Dr. Katrin Jomaa discusses her book, Ummah: A New Paradigm for a Global World (SUNY Press, 2021). Dr. Jomaa is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island. Her interdisciplinary research interests encompass classical and modern political philosophy, as well as Islamic thought and Qur’anic exegesis. In her book Ummah (2021) she offers the Islamic concept of ummah as an alternative to the nation-state. She argues that ummah, while often defined as a group of people united by ethnicity or religion, is, in its ideal sense, a community that demands active commitment and a conscious and continuous dedication to the highest moral ideals of that community. Jomaa begins by chronologically and thematically analyzing the word “ummah” in the Qur’an in order to propose a novel understanding of the term that connects all its different meanings. She then compares this new definition to the Aristotelean polis, which highlights the political features of ummah, thereby situating it within contemporary discourses on liberal politics and community and creating the space for an alternative sociopolitical order to the nation-state.

Dr. Jomaa’s presentation is followed by responses from Dr. Heba Raouf Ezzat (Assistant Professor of Political Science at Ibn Haldun University) and Dr. Ovamir Anjum (Imam Khattab Endowed Chair of Islamic Studies at the University of Toledo) and audience discussion.

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