Miriam Kurz

miriam_kurz

Mosque Space(s) in Berlin: Configurations of Gender in Social Practice and the Constitution of Islamic Spaces. An Ethnographic Study

Mosque Space(s) in Berlin: Configurations of Gender in Social Practice and the Constitution of Islamic Spaces. An Ethnographic Study

As a scandalizing tone and public mistrust dominate debates about German mosques and Islam on a broader level, this project sheds a different light on social practice in youth mosque spaces in Germany. Departing from ethnographic fieldwork, it investigates the complex ways in which gender as a category of distinction is (re-) produced, negotiated and navigated by young Muslims in mosques and how the space of the mosque is (re-) produced in social practice. This project departs from a practice-theoretical approach and is positioned at the intersection of Islamic studies, gender studies, and anthropology.

Understanding ‘space’ as constructed through practices of positioning subjects and objects, I examine the construction and transformation of gendered space(s) in the mosque and explore the ethical and emotional implications of the different architectural settings and the (shifting) gender boundaries. The normative underpinnings of the hegemonic view on masculinity, femininity, and appropriate gender relations in the youth mosque spaces under study are analyzed and brought into conversation with the specific conditions of the German secular context. Complying with Islamically inspired gendered moral practices in the ways that are characteristic of my main field sites, positions Muslim subjects in very particular ways in secular (physical and discursive) spaces. Thus, this research also foregrounds the ambivalences involved in creating German Muslim spaces and identities. I examine how young people engage with Germanness and difference and how racist constructions of Otherness are reproduced and contested in the mosque spheres.