Previous activities

Below you will first find a list of sessions, workshops and conferences that we (co-)organized in chronological order (with presentations of members of our group)





Topics include:

  • The politics and/of marriage
  • Incarceration, marriage and social reproduction
  • Marriage and non-marriage
  • Mixed-faith marriages

Date: 2-3 July 2019

Venue: University of Amsterdam

Workshop Programme:  Programma Workshop july 2019 nw

Closed session 1 July: presentations of the PhD students:

Annerienke Fioole, Dina, Zubeidy, Ibtisaam Sadegh, Iris Kolman, Jaafar Alloul, Rahma Bavelaar,



Date and time: Thursday 13 June 12:00 – Friday 14 June 17:30

Venue: University of Amsterdam, Department of Anthropology


If you would like to attend, there is no fee but you need to register: multiplematerialities at

And here is the Workshop Programme Programme Workshop Multiple Materialities Muslim Marriages

Call for papers: CFP-Multiple-Materialities-of-Muslim-Marriages 25-1-2019


INSRUM (International Network for Scholars Researching Unregistered Marriages) 2nd International Conference 

Organized together with ERC programme Problematizing “Muslim Marriages”: Ambiguities and Contestations

Topic: Muslim Marriages: Plurality of Norms and Practices in Muslim-Majority Contexts

Date: 11/12 April 2019

Venue: University of Amsterdam

Call for Papers is closed (see  )

Final Program see



Date: 15-16 March 2019

Venue: Cairo, NVIC

For Call for papers see: musmar_cairo_conference_final

Rahma Bavelaar: The Ethnography of ‘unpleasant’ religiosity: Honor, patriarchy and secular power in scholarship around conversion in Egypt

Vanessa Vroon: Translating ethnography? The case of conversion to Islam in the Netherlands’, follow by a screening of her documentary ‘Marrying before Allah: Personal stories of converts’

Annelies Moors: Problematizing Muslim marriages / entering into Muslim marriages: Engaging with different forms of critique

Ibtisam Sadegh: ‘We moved to Ceuta as a compromise: Interfaith matrimonial lives between Europe and Africa

Shifra Kisch: Staging ‘mixed couples’: Preaching tolerance, marking difference (paper co-written with Rahma Bavelaar and Annelies Moors)



Annelies Moors: The trouble with transparency: Doing research on Islam/the Middle East at the University of Amsterdam

Miriyam Aouragh: From point of exit to place of arrival… and back to point of departure: Tangiers as city of lost dreams

Vanessa Vroon-Najem: Making hijra/coming back: Existential (im)mobility of women converts to Islam from the Netherlands

Dina Zbeidy:  Narratives of vulnerability: the approach of international organizations to ’’early marriages’’ among refugees in Jordan

Shifra Kisch: Upward mobility between geopolitical peripheries: Palestinian students in Eastern Europe


MUSMAR Work-in-progress Meeting: 17 – 20 September 2018

Arzu Unal: Disengaging Marriage from Motherhood: An ethnographic perspective on single mothers in Turkey

Vanessa Vroon-Najem: Doing hijra/coming back: Existential (im)Mobility of Women Converts to Islam from the Netherlands

Shifra Kisch and Prof. Annelies Moors: ‘Mixed couples’ intimately kissing: preaching tolerance, marking difference


MUSMAR Work-in-progress Meeting: 18 – 20 June 2018


Panel ‘Carving Out Spaces For Intimacy: Ethnographies Of Relationships In North Africa’ organised by Miriyam Aouragh, Annerienke Fioole, and Iris Kolman, University Of Amsterdam, WOCMES Seville, 19 July 2018.

CHAIR: Dina Zbeidy

DISCUSSANT: Samuli Schielke

Aymon Kreil, University Of Ghent: ‘Marriage even tough. Customary marriage in Egypt, or the precarious conciliation of contradicting desires’

Iris Kolman, University Of Amsterdam: ‘Happily unmarried in Tunis: an ethnographic study of cohabitation through the lens of space’

Miriyam Aouragh, University of Amsterdam: ‘Ash al sha’b: Married to the Revolution’

Meriam Cheikh, The University Of Edinburgh: ‘The intimate life of the disenfranchised and criminalised Moroccan working-class youth’

Annerienke Fioole, University Of Amsterdam Department Of Anthropology: ‘Befitting doubt. Moroccan couples’ establishment of covert intimacies within their core social networks’


MUSMAR Work-in-progress Meeting: 23 – 24 April 2018


CONFERENCE Religious Marriages in the Mediterranean, 20-21 March 2018 (Co-organized with the Mediterranean Institute, University of Malta)

This multidisciplinary conference brought together researchers who have engaged in research on religious marriages in the Mediterranean.

For conference announcement and more information, visit the website of the University of Malta.


SYMPOSIUM Navigating Displacement and Humanitarian Responses: Discourses and Experiences of Syrian Refugees and Aid Providers in Jordan, 15-16 March 2018

This workshop brought together researchers that focus on Syrian displacement in Jordan, and sought to generate a critical conversation on the interaction between displaced communities in Jordan, with development and humanitarian organizations that offer them various services.

For program and information see here.

TALK by Dr. Sarah Tobin, ‘Understanding Early Marriage: Amplified Agency, Decreased Regulation, and Structural Violence of Syrian Refugees in Za’atari,’ 14 March 2018.

MUSMAR Work-in-progress Meeting: 12 – 13 March 2018

Julie McBrien, ‘On Shame.’

Themed discussion: marriage and social class.

Houssine Allaloul, ‘Belgian Diplomats and their Ottoman Spouses: Cross-National, Cross-Denominational, and Cross-Faith Marriages (and their Inhibition) in the Long 19th Century.’

Discussion PhD writings.


MUSMAR Work-in-progress Meeting: 30 – 31 Jan 2018

Themed discussion: ‘Rights.’

Discussion PhD writings


Writing retreat: January 26 – 29


WORKSHOP On Giving Voice: Ethics in research, activism and politics in post-revolutionary Egypt: 25 January 2018

In cooperation with the Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam, the workshop addressed the ethical choices and dilemmas involved in the processes of ‘giving voice’ in Egypt’s current hyper-repressive context.

For full program and information see link.



Organized by Annelies Moors (UvA), Birgit Meyer (UU), Peter Pels (LU), and Martijn de Koning (UvA/RU), AISSR, University of Amsterdam. For full programme see link.


MUSMAR Work-in-progress Meeting: 18-19 Dec 2017

Discussion PhD writings and plans for the future


MUSMAR Work-in-progress Meeting: 9 – 11 Oct 2017

Discussion PhD writings and plans for the future

Themed discussion: ‘Destiny’ (Nasib)


MUSMAR Work-in-progress Meeting: 5 – 6 Sep 2017

Themed discussion: ‘Shame’

Miriyam Aouragh, ‘Married to the Cause: Love as Resistance.’

Vanessa Vroom-Najem: Viewing of Documentary ‘Trouwen voor Allah: persoonlijke verhalen van bekeerlingen’

Discussion PhD writings



Organized together with Yafa Shanneik (University of Birmingham), this international exploratory workshop on Shia Marriages brought together researchers working on Iran, Oman, Lebanon, Pakistan, Indonesia, Ghana, the UK, Norway, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The workshop focuses on various strands of Twelver Shia Islam – defined by doctrinal differences or following different sources of clerical authority, the legal and ethical practices, rituals and everyday lived experience – and investigates how different forms of Shia marriage are debated and concluded.

For full programme see link.


MUSMAR Work-in-progress Meeting: 4-5 July 2017

Shifra Kisch ‘Conversion as a Gift: Palestinian Bedouin Grooms and Rumanian Brides’

Vanessa Vroon-Najem: First viewing of sections of the documentary ‘Trouwen voor Allah: persoonlijke verhalen van bekeerlingen’

Discussion PhD writings and plans for the future


MUSMAR Work-in-progress Meeting 15-17 May 2017

Discussion PhD writings and plans for the future


Conference Unregistered Muslim Marriages: Regulations and Contestations

On 24-25 April 2017 we organized together with Rajnaara Akhtar (De Montfort University, Leicester) a conference on ‘Unregistered Muslim Marriages: Regulations and Contestations’ at De Montfort University, Leicester.

For full programme see link.


MUSMAR work-in-progress meeting 10-12 April 2017:

Central Asia workshop, 12 April 2017, with presentations by:

Julie Mcbrien, ‘When Definitions Matter: Marriage Regulation and the Protection of Young Women in Kyrgyzstan’

Dr. Jarkyn Shadymanova (Bishkek Humanities University), ‘The problematization and politicization of underage marriages in Kyrgyzstan: discourse on new law’

Dr. Aksana Ismailbekova (MPI, Halle), ‘ ‘

Dr. Tommaso Trevisani (University of Naples), ‘Restructuring labor and workers’ families in a former Soviet steel plant: Axes of inequality and conjugality in industrial Kazakhstan’
Dr. Juliette Cleuziou (University of Paris Nanterre), ‘”If you’re not married here, you’re nothing at all”: Exploring gender, family, and power relations in marriage in Tajikistan’

Discussion PhD writings, 10-11 April 2017


MUSMAR work-in-progress meeting 27 February – 1 March 2017

Eileen Moyer, Writing Workshop for PhD students, 1 March 2017

Maaike Voorhoeve, ‘ ‘, 28 February 2017

Discussion PhD writings, 27-28 February 2017


MUSMAR work-in-progress meeting 23-25 January 2017

Vanessa Vroon-Najem, ‘Making a documentary’, 24 Jan 2017

Nadia Sonneveld, ‘Male and female judges dispensing justice in paternity cases in Morocco’, 24 Jan 2017

Discussion PhD writings, 23-25 January 2017


MUSMAR work-in-progress meeting 19-21 December2016

Discussion ‘Writing Ethnography’ and ‘Theorizing Cases’, 20-21 Dec 2016

PhD fieldwork reports Dina Zbeidy and Jaafar Alloul, 19 Dec 2016


MUSMAR work-in-progress meeting 14-16 November 2016

Martijn de Koning, with Vanessa Vroon-Najem and Annelies Moors, ‘Contesting the Primacy of the State and Islamic Authority: the Multiple Meanings of Marriage in the Netherlands’, 16 Nov 2016.

Iris Kolman, ‘Happily Unmarried in Tunisia: A Case Study of Extramarital Cohabitation in Tunis’, 16 Nov 2016

Shifra Kisch, ‘Conversion as a Gift: Palestinian-Bedouin Grooms and Rumanian Brides’, 16 Nov 2016

Annelies Moors and Vanessa Vroon-Najem, ‘Converts to Islam: Marriage, Well-being, and the Dutch Nation-State’, 16 Nov 2016

PhD Fieldwork reports: Annerienke Fioole, Rahma Bavelaar, Ibtisam Sadeqh, 14-15 Nov 2016


Presentations at the Senior Research Symposium ‘Mixing and Matching: Trends in Muslim Marriages, 26 February 2016, University of Malta

Ibtisam Sadegh, Concluding Interfaith-Muslim Marriages in Ceuta

Annelies Moors, Problematizng ‘Islamic Marriages’ in the Netherlands

Julie McBrien, (Im)proper Marriage in Kyrgyzstan

This event was sponsored by the University of Malta’s Department of Anthropological Sciences in collaboration with the Civil Law Department of the Faculty of Law, organized by Professor Susan Hirsch and Dr. David Zammit


Session at the ACMES Research Convention, Amsterdam, 28 January 2015, ‘Marriage controversies: Public Debates and Lived Experiences’

Introduction: Julie McBrien


Annelies Moors, Islamic Marriages in the Netherlands: Beyond the Radicalisation Frame.

Vanessa Vroon-Najem, Conversion to Islam: What does marriage have to do with it?

Ibtisam Sadegh, Marriage Law, Marriage Stories: Muslims in Malta.

Annerienke Fioole, From Parenting to Marriage: Dealing with transgressions in Morocco?

Rahma Bavelaar, Framing Mixed Marriages in Egypt.

Dina Zbeidy, Marriage Controversies in Beirut: A Preliminary Note on Categorization.


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