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Lecture | LUCIS What's New?! Series

Localizing Islam: Self-Education among Young Muslims in Northern Europe

Thursday 11 November 2021
What's New?! Fall Lecture Series 2021
This is an online event. Please register to receive the link to the lecture.

In this lecture, I discuss self-education among young Muslims living in Northern Europe. From 2009 to 2021, nine Twelver Shia religious organisations have been established in Oslo, Norway, run by young men and women from the age 15 to 30. The groups are self-governed in the sense of being initiated and administered by the young, independently from mosques. What are the youths’ motivations for establishing self-governed groups and how do the members proceed to achieve their objectives? The analytical theoretical underpinning draws from Scott, who connected the concept ‘temporality of generations’ to the notion of ‘problem-space’, understood as a discursive formation of concepts, ideas, meanings etc, and a context of argument. What defines a problem-space are not simply the posed problems, but the questions asked and the answers that seem worth having. In examining the youths’ motivations, I establish their posed problems and questions. In examining how they responded I identify their answers. The nine groups pursued various types of educational methods, information, interpretive frames, questions, and answers, reflecting diversity within the community. The findings offer insight into what knowledge and competence are considered important and relevant to young Twelver Shiites living in Northern Europe today.

About Ingvild Flaskerud

Dr. Ingvild Flaskerud is an historian of religion who has specialized in the study of Twelver Shiism in Iran and Europe. She has presented ground-breaking perspectives on Muslim visual and material culture in the monography Visualizing Belief and Piety in Iranian Shiism (2010), and her research interests also include gender, ritual as social and ethical discourses, Twelver Shia migration to the West, and Muslim youth. She is the co-editor of Muslim Pilgrimage in Europe (2018) and has produced and ethnographic film introducing Iranian Shia women as ritual performers, Standard-bearers of Hussein: Women commemorating Karbala (2003).

See also her blog on Twelver Shi'a pilgrimage for LUCIS' Leiden Islam Blog.

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