Producing Knowledge on Islam in Europe: Epistemology, Methodology, Reflexivity

Postgraduate Workshop
Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, Tuesday, 25th April: 0930-1800

Organised in partnership between postgraduates at SOAS and the University of Cambridge, and kindly sponsored by the British Association for Islamic Studies, the Department of Politics and International Studies (Cambridge), and SOAS Doctoral School, this workshop brought together established academics and postgraduate students at an advanced stage of their research to explore challenges and suggest solutions for researchers working in the field of Islam and Muslims in Europe.

The workshop was designed to be inter-disciplinary, and address the related topics of epistemology, methodology, and reflexivity. These themes have frequently arisen when problematising our respective productions of academic knowledge, such as the multiple forms of insider-outsider negotiation for both Muslim and non-Muslim researchers, various issues of access, trust and representation, and the politicisation of the Muslim subject in a security-saturated cultural context.

Workshop Photos (Click to see gallery)


09:30 – 10:00: Registration

10:00 – 11:00: Keynote

  • Dr Frank Peter (Hamad Bin Khalifa University)
    Local Islam in secular France: Modelling the processes of interaction

11:00 – 11:15: Break

11:15 – 13:00: Methodology 

  • Asma Khan (University of Cardiff)
    Reflections on Establishing and Maintaining Fieldwork Relationships As An Insider-Outsider Within a British Muslim Community
  • Adela Taleb (Humboldt University of Berlin)
    Making strange what seems familiar: Ethnography in question
  • Dr Paul Anderson (University of Cambridge), Discussant

13:00-14:00: Lunch

14:00-15:45: Epistemology

  • Hira Amin (University of Cambridge)
    Fundamentalists, progressives and everything inbetween: the perils of labelling ‘the Muslim’
  • Emanuelle Degli Esposti (SOAS, University of London)
    Muslim Subjects or Subjects of Discourse? A Lacanian Approach to the Study of Muslim Identity in Europe
  • Professor Humayun Ansari (Royal Holloway, University of London), Discussant

15:45 – 16:00: Break

16:00 – 17:45: Reflexivity 

  • Margot Dazey (University of Cambridge)
    Researching a highly-politicized topic: fieldwork politics on French Islam
  • Alyaa Ebbiary (SOAS, University of London)
    ‘My people’: Ambivalence and Loyalty for the Insider-Outsider
  • Dr Caroline Osella (SOAS, University of London), Discussant

17:45 – 18:00: Concluding remarks

  • Dr Sara Silvestri (University of Cambridge)


We kindly thank the speakers, discussants, and sponsors for making the day possible.


Workshop Organising Committee

  • Hira Amin, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge
  • Margot Dazey, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge
  • Alyaa Ebbiary, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, SOAS
  • Chris Moses, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge
  • Mathilde Zederman, Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS