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


About The Event

Call for Papers

Date: November 30, 2017 – December 1, 2017

Venue: University of Cambridge, The Old Schools, Trinity Ln, Cambridge, UK

Submission Deadline: September 17, 2017

Organized by: Mr Chris Moses (University of Cambridge), Mr Tobias Müller (University of Cambridge) and Ms Adela Taleb (Humboldt University of Berlin)

We invite scholars to present their work for a two-day inter-disciplinary workshop, “Religious? Secular? Re-thinking Islam and Space in Europe”.

Organized 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 and the Cambridge Institute on Religion and International Studies, this workshop offers a much-needed opportunity to evaluate questions of space within the study of Islam in Europe.

The workshop will be inter-disciplinary in character, connecting fields such as religious studies, geography, politics, anthropology, and architecture. We will look to tackle the subject both in breadth (in terms of content and concepts under discussion) and depth (with particular, but not exclusive, interests in German and UK contexts).

Confirmed keynote speakers are Professor Kim Knott (Lancaster University), Professor Riem Spielhaus (University of Göttingen), and Dr Marian Burchardt (University of Leipzig).


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 (Fadil 2013; Hopkins and Gale 2008; DeHanas and Zacharias 2011; Baker 2017).

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 (Amir-Moazami 2018; Knott 2005; Minkenberg 2014; Walters 2010).

Most recently, both the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) and supporters of Brexit have made the presence of Muslims in Europe a key point of their rhetoric. At the same time, ever more sophisticated studies of “local Islams” try to point out the differences of Muslim life worlds varying not only depending on national and ethnic backgrounds, but also with regards to spatially refined levels of analysis such as neighborhoods, networks, or single mosques (Schiffauer 2014).

The premise of this workshop is that the place of “space” within the study of Islam in Europe has lacked systematic examination. We are therefore looking 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.


We invite proposals that engage with one or more of the following questions:

– What theories, concepts and methods are most useful in order to investigate the intersections of Islam, secularism/secularity and different dimensions of space in Europe?

– What are the benefits and limitations of utilizing space as an analytical lens in the study of Islam and Muslims in Europe?

– How does space connect with other topics associated with the study of Islam in Europe, such as conversion, the state, ethnicity, or the family?

– How should researchers analyze the spatial implications of major scholarly challenges such as debates over Islamic exceptionalism, or the contestation of binaries (e.g., “religious”/”secular”, “public”/”private”)?

– How do particular research contexts require the use of different space-related concepts, such as territory, network, scale, dispositif, or assemblage?

– How can researchers navigate methodological challenges in the study of Islam and space in Europe?

– Why might symbolic and material contestations and/or collaborations be framed in terms of notions of space, and is space an adequate analytical tool in these instances?

– How should we study the role(s) of governmentality in spaces marked as “religious” and “non-religious” (e.g., spheres, publics)?

– How can a critical evaluation of the categories of “Islam”, “Religion”, “Secularism”, and/or “Europe” inform the study of space?

– What can material and sensory approaches (e.g., architecture, media, and orality) to the study of Islam and space reveal?

– How do insights gained within Gender Studies and Postcolonial Theory with regard to agency, power and (subversive) knowledge production relate to a space-sensitive analysis of Islam in Europe?

To apply, please send an abstract (max 400 words) and biography (max 200 words) to islam.space.workshop@gmail.com. Abstracts from postgraduate students and early career researchers are especially welcome, and there will be some expenses available towards speakers’ accommodation and travel. The closing date for proposals is 17th September, with decisions communicated by 25th September.


We are most grateful for the sponsorship of DAAD Cambridge Research Hub for German Studies (www.daad.cam.ac.uk) and Cambridge Institute on Religion and International Studies (http://ciris.org.uk/).

Source: DAAD Cambridge Research Hub for German Studies

  • Cost: Free
  • Total Slot: 0
  • Booked Slot: 0

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University of Cambridge

University of Cambridge, The Old Schools, Trinity Ln, Cambridge, UK
Website https://www.daad.cam.ac.uk/workshops/religious-secular-re-thinking-islam-and-space-in-europe

Our Speakers

Dr. Marian Burchardt
Professor Kim Knott
Professor Riem Spielhaus
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