Ruba Salih (University of Bologna) and Annelies Moors, Isim Chair/University of Amsterdam) would like to announce a call for papers for a workshop that will be held at the next 8th Mediterranean Research Meeting, Florence and Montecatini Terme, 21-25 March 2007.
The workshop title is “Muslim women” in Europe: Bodily performances, multiple belongings and the public sphere"
This workshop focuses on the heightened tensions between legal citizenship and cultural citizenship (national belonging) that Muslim women in Europe are confronted with. In the course of the last decade many European nation states have shifted their policies to a stronger assimilationist stance, while the general public has increasingly come to see Muslims as a threat to national security and Islam as incompatible with European values. In this context everyday performances of national belonging in several European countries have become ever more demanding. Women are particularly implicated not only because they are often seen as markers of communities but especially because their gender submission - symbolized by the headscarf as immediately visible sign - is taken as one of the hallmarks of this incompatibility. This workshop investigates what discursive and/or performative strategies Muslim women employ in the face of such shifts in state policy and public opinion. The premise is that both in the everyday performance of national belonging as well as in public debates the cultural politics of bodily appearances and of aesthetics count. This workshop, therefore, sets out to discuss the kinds of bodily performances Muslim women in various European nation-states engage in and the sorts of belonging they more or less consciously (want to) produce. The workshop invites papers based on in-depth research that focus on the diversity of strategies Muslims women have developed during the last decade with respect to issues of cultural citizenship / practical national belonging.
This includes questions such as:
What are the specific practices Muslim women have engaged, how are these interpreted by various participants and publics concerned?
How are particular forms and styles of presence in the public related to ideological positions and forms of organization with respect to national belonging, religion and gender (e.g. liberal-secularist, Islamic feminist etc)
Are "Muslim women” engaged in conflicting and clashing bodily performances that bring to surface generational, ideological, class, and political differences amongst them?
What are the relations between discursive (e.g. public debate) and performative (e.g. embodied appearances) forms of belonging?
Are there other, alternative embodied practices (different from veiling) that Muslim women engage with to get visibility in the public spheres? (e.g. engagement in civil society organizations, marches, demonstrations, boutiques, pictures, video- production)
What aesthetics (such as in the case of Islamic fashion, anti-fashion, or very revealing styles of dress) are employed to undergrid particular (micro-)political positions?
How are these practices positioned in fields of power? Which ones have become authoritative and which ones have become devalued within various settings?
How have these strategies been influenced by the cultural politics of various nation states (with respect to e.g. religion in the public, ethnicity, gender and sexuality)?
What has been the impact of the particularities of the Muslim presence in specific national context (colonial, labour migration, conversion) and concomitant transnational / subnational forms of belonging?
The workshop is jointly organised with the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM, Leiden).
Information on how to apply ca be found at:
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