Religious? Secular? Re-thinking Islam and Space in Europe

Organised in partnership between researchers at the University of Cambridge and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and kindly sponsored by the DAAD Cambridge Research Hub for German Studies, the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme and the Cambridge Institute on Religion and International Studies, this workshop offered a much-needed opportunity to evaluate questions of space within the study of Islam in Europe.

The premise of this workshop was that the place of “space” within the study of Islam in Europe has lacked systematic examination. We therefore looked to bring together researchers tackling questions of space in this field from a range of disciplinary and thematic perspectives, in order to explore challenges and suggest solutions for theoretical, conceptual, and methodological debates associated with the topic.

Workshop Gallery (Click to enlarge)

Workshop Schedule

– – – Wednesday 29th November – – –

1930: Informal Welcome Dinner (Optional Framework Programme)

– – – Thursday 30th November – – –

0930 – 1030: Visit to the new Cambridge Mosque project (Optional Framework Programme)

  • Tour of mosque construction site on Mill Road, followed by Q & A with Dr Tim Winter, Chairman of Cambridge Mosque Trust

1145 – 1230: Arrival at Faculty of Divinity and Lunch 

1230 – 1240: Formal Welcome 
  • Adela Taleb (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Chris Moses (University of Cambridge), Tobias Müller (University of Cambridge)
1240 – 1340: Workshop Keynote I
  • Dr Marian Burchardt, Universität Leipzig
    ‘Governing through space’
  • Tobias Müller, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge

1340 – 1345: Short Break

1345 – 1445: Panel I: How to think about space? Locality, Relationality, Power

  • Professor Thijl Sunier, Afdeling Sociale en Culturele Antropologie, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
    ‘Islam, local knowledge and trust’
  • Sebastian Scholl, Institut für Geographie, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg
    ‘Critical geopolitics, space-related semantics and religion: Some thoughts on how “space” matters to the understanding of religious social movements’
  • Dr Caroline Tee, The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge

1445 – 1515: Coffee Break

1515 – 1615: Panel II: Boundaries, Place and Politics

  • Tobias Müller, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge
    ‘What is local Islam? Spatial politics, absence and agency’
  • Professor Tone Bringa, Institutt for sosialantropologi, Universitetet i Bergen
    ‘Disrupted emplacement: spatial practices after war in Bosnia – some reflections’
  • Dr Judd Birdsall, Cambridge Institute for Religion and International Studies, Clare College, University of Cambridge

1615 – 1630: Short Break

1630 – 1800: Panel III: Re-thinking Islam in secular institutions

  • Dr Ryan Williams, Centre for Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge
    ‘Thresholds of meaning: Contested religious and secular boundaries in high security prisons’
  • Dr Katarzyna Puzon, Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
    ‘Silencing Islam? The Museum as a Secular Space’
  • Adela Taleb, Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
    ‘Manifestations of “Europe” in the city of Brussels: The EU and its Others’
  • Dr Julian Hargreaves, Woolf Institute, Cambridge

1800 – 1830: Break

1830 – 2000: Public Keynote Lecture

  • Professor Kim Knott, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Lancaster University
    ‘Thinking Spatially about Islam in Europe’
  • Dr Iza Hussin, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge

2015: Workshop Dinner

– – – Friday 1st December – – –

0845 – 0900: Morning Coffee

0900 – 1030: Panel IV: Theorising Mosques: Aesthetics and Materiality
  • Dr Shahed Saleem, School of Architecture, University of Westminster
    ‘In what style should we build?’
  • Dr Peter McMurray, Junior Fellow, Society of Fellows, Harvard University
    ‘Sound, death and Islamic space: Ashura in a Berlin Hinterhof Mosque’
  • Dr Nazneen Ahmed, Laura Cuch, and Dr Claire Dwyer, Department of Geography, UCL
    ‘The West London Islamic Centre: Tracing the making of everyday Muslim space’
  • Dr Jan-Jonathan Bock, Woolf Institute, Cambridge

1030 – 1100: Coffee Break

1100 – 1230: Panel V: Identities, Visibility, Embodiment
  • Dr Rebecca Skreslet Hernandez, Independent Scholar
    ‘“All are Welcome”: Space, Embodiment, and Identity in London Interfaith Events’
  • Dr Mar GrieraDepartament de Sociologia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
    ‘Religious visibilities and the politics of space in the neoliberal city’
  • Matteo Benussi, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge
    ‘Between Heritage and Ethics: Debating Islamic Spaces in Tatarstan’
  • Amine El-Yousfi, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge

1230 – 1330: Workshop Keynote II

  • Professor Riem Spielhaus, Abteilung Schulbuch und Gesellschaft, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
    ‘Contested spaces in the study of Muslims in Europe’
  • Adela Taleb, Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

1330 – 1415: Lunch

1415 – 1500: Research Forum

  • Future research strategies, grant applications, publications

1500 – 1515: Workshop Close

1515 – 1700: Tour of Cambridge (Optional Framework Programme)

Organising Committee
Adela Taleb (Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Chris Moses (Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge)
Tobias Müller (Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge)




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