I’m very happy announce my new project: Forces that Bind or Divide.

Conflicts related to the public presence and the representation of Islam have had an enormous impact on European societies over the past decades. Whereas most research considers Muslims as the object of integration policies, this proposal focuses on Muslims as active participants and investigates how their interventions produce ties that bind or divide (amongst and between Muslims and non-Muslims). Have such interventions contributed to development of a Muslim public sphere? To what extent and along which lines is this public sphere fractured? How does such a Muslim public intersect with other religious and non-religious publics? In short, what transformations have taken place in the binding or dividing force of Islam in the Netherlands?

To answer these questions, this proposal does not start with categorizing Muslims (in terms of ethnicity, religious conviction and so on), but sets out with mapping the variety of positions Muslims, and Muslim women in particular, have taken up in particular debates, both in terms of the substance of their interventions and with reference to their styles of presentation and the impact of particular forms of mediation. The broader question it addresses is whether and how such Muslim interventions and their societal effects are specific to the Dutch context or an expression of a far wider European or even global trends, by employing a historical, comparative and transnational perspective.

In this project I try to take up these questions together with my colleagues Annelies Moors, Sarah Bracke and Fouzia Outmany (PhD). The how, when, and what you can find on my blog HERE or on the blog that is dedicated to this project: ACT? – Inspiration, Intervention, Information.