Nefissa Naguib

Muslim Devotional Practices is funded by the Research Council of Norway's program Assigning Cultural Values (KULVER). The project explores how devotional practices, such as praying, thanksgiving, honoring, and commemorating include aesthetical practices such as recitation, chanting, music, performance, images and food. These are displays and expressions which stimulate a range of sensory experiences that are audiotive, visual, gustatory, and olfactory.

With attention to non-Western and Western influence on Muslim aesthetics and identity the project highlights globalization as a process informed by cultural impulses deriving from many localities. The empirical focus is on Palestinian Sunnis in Norway and Syria, Sufis in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Pakistani Sufis in the UK, Sufi migration between the Middle East, Africa and Europe, and Shia Muslims in Norway. A multi-disciplinary international group of scholars interrogate the impact of transnational mobility on the aesthetic expressions of devotional life and everyday life. A shared perspective among the participants is the sensory power of Muslim festivals and commemorations, whether in the homeland or in the diaspora.

Concentrating on recitation, performance, music and cuisine within migrancy contexts the five sub-projects advance the understanding of changing patterns of sentient devotional actions and responses. The project moves beyond the dichotomic categorization of the encounter between Muslim and Western communities. Instead, Muslim Devotional Practices suggests multiple aesthetics and identities, and transnational and transcultural mobilities. The aim is to contribute empirically and theoretically to the study of local and translocal Islam.

Recent CMI publications: