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State Islam in Morocco

Kaylee Steck investigates the diversity of state Islam in Morocco, including the ways it manifests across the densely interconnected fields of education, politics, religious practice and religious programming. Given the breadth of these manifestations, Steck argues that Moroccans engage with official religious discourse in different ways, rendering not a uniform experience of Islam, as the state may prefer, but unique and diverse quotidian experiences alongside multiple state Islams with different discourses and iconographies. In doing so, Steck resists the notion of state religion as a coherent set of policies and institutions.

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Enacting “Electronic Qur’ans”: Tradition Without a Precedent

Natalia Suit describes instances in Egypt in which the Qur’ān is enacted through the daily routines of worship and piety known as the etiquette of the muṣḥaf. These practices, she argues, are inseparably entangled with technology. A book made of paper is not the same as the Qur’ānic text on the screen of a phone. A text visible on the page does not necessarily appear in the same way as its digitized version under a plastic cover. When the medium of the message changes, the etiquette of the muṣḥaf changes as well, and practices are redefined to accommodate this new and unprecedented materiality of the text.

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Sensing Eid al Kabir’s Tactile, Viscous Stickiness: Affect, Embodiment and Material Religion

Rebecca Moody reads Eid al Kabir in Fes, Morocco, through the lens of affect theory. The sights, sounds and smells of Eid yield the circulation of “sticky” affect that, as it touches each participant and observer, in turn renders them sticky and therein “(re)surfaces” their material bodies. Moody argues that affect theory offers a unique approach to the study of material religion, specifically Islam, by combining the materiality of the human body with the “textures” of affect that circulate around Islam in its different, quotidian expressions.

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Affects of Consumption and Commodification in a Moroccan Ramadan

Rebecca Moody narrates her impressions of commodification and consumption during Ramadan in Fes, Morocco, through a series of ‘still lifes’. By paying attention to the power of the ordinary as affects and traces, Moody encourages us to pause and contemplate how the sacred and the secular are mixed in daily life. Never separated, they flow into each other, carried by the everyday struggles and celebrations of bodies and minds in this sacred month in the Islamic calendar.

Religion, Materiality and Machines in Faouzi Bensaïdi’s Death for Sale

Rebecca Moody interprets Bensaïdi’s 2011 film, Death for Sale, using a variety of perspectives; from the ways that religion influences the materialization of political and economic structures—especially in relation to state institutions—to the link between broken (or breaking) institutions and broken (or breaking) lives, as informed by Deleuze and Guattari, to the struggles of Muslim women in rapidly changing societies. The film uses subtle visual techniques and minimal dialogue to convey the conflicts and fragmentation that commence when two (or more) starkly different ways of life are forced into an uneasy alliance too quickly.

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