Religious? Secular? Re-thinking Islam and Space in Europe
The workshop presents a welcome opportunity to evaluate questions of space within the study of Islam in Europe, with particular interests in Germany and the UK. It draws together researchers for a two-day event exploring challenges and suggesting solutions for theoretical, conceptual, and methodological debates associated with the topic.
From identity-framed accounts of territory to contests over mosque construction, questions associated with Islam and space underlie major academic and public sphere debates in contemporary Europe. The extent of these enquiries is broad, affecting scholarly topics such as place, networks, and the dynamics of identity, as well as familiar policy issues such as values, migration, and political participation.
This workshop seeks to develop this area of scholarship by engaging with this breadth of both content and approach in a systematic fashion. It draws on and seeks to extend existing work, including theories such as the “Islamisation of space”, dichotomies of “the religious” and “the secular”, and accounts of local Muslim “cultures”. In our experiences as researchers, these perspectives have not always done justice to the complex empirical and conceptual issues involved, such as diversity, time, power, units and scales of analysis, matrices of identity, and the inter-weaving of secular and religious.The workshop has five main aims:
- To offer an evaluation of “space” as a heuristic tool within the study of Islam in Europe.
- To bring together a diverse series of scholarly projects, in the expectation that this breadth will benefit participants’ respective research undertakings.
- To evaluate and compare various conceptual approaches to space, drawing on the inter-disciplinary character of the workshop.
- To consider the different methodologies researchers have employed when handling issues of space, e.g. ethnography, history, discourse analysis.
- To explore the value and stability (or otherwise) of questions of place.
The workshop is organised by Chris Moses (University of Cambridge), Tobias Müller (University of Cambridge) and Adela Taleb (Humboldt University of Berlin), the other key note speakers are Professor Kim Knott (Lancaster University) and Professor Riem Spielhaus (Göttingen University).