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Chair of Islamic Studies – Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Seesemann

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Ongoing projects

Gender and Marriage among Beninese Muslims in Germany (2021-2022)Hide

Gender and Marriage among Beninese Muslims in Germany

Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, 2021-2022

Dr. Fulera Issaka-Toure (Postdoctoral Fellow)

This project explores the ways gender is negotiated within the context of marriage among Muslims of Benin origin in Germany from the perspective of men, women and Islamic religious authorities. Focus is on the ways in which Muslims chart new paths with regard to gender negotiations in the area of marriage while at the same time exploring their sense of belonging to Germany as a diasporic space for Muslims of Beninese origin. In addition, I examine the manner in which Muslim women in particular embody and challenge certain hegemonic discourses on, and practices of, women in the domain of marriage. These include negotiating their marriage-linked expectations and obligations, managing daily family life and solving marital conflicts.

My empirical approach to this study is framed by, and contrasted with, broader debates in the field of Islamic feminism or feminisms. This field has produced a body of literature that posits Islamic feminism as one of the feminisms that challenges Western feminism. Although contested among Muslims and brashly criticised by male conservative Muslim scholars, Islamic feminism has come to stay, and is still growing, as seen in the many debates unfolding among largely female Muslim academics (Mernissi 1992, Wadud 2006, Shaikh 2012). These debates aim to show among other things the egalitarian nature of Islam by drawing from Islamic sources. Some authors even speak of Islamic feminisms in the plural, thus accounting for the diverse nature of feminism, even within one Muslim setting (Ennaji, Sadiqi and Vintges 2016). Since the emergence of the concept of Islamic feminism in the 1990s, debates about Islamic feminism have usually been heated, due to the assertion of women’s rights in Islamic contexts (Kynsilehto 2008).

In particular, this study is related to Islamic feminism in the ways in which Islamic feminism relates to the lives of Muslim women and gender in Muslim cultures and societies. It is particularly relevant and timely because it gives a perspective on understanding gender among African’s in a diasporic space. In addition, it opens up a broader debate on gender among Muslims outside of their original “home”. It has been shown that people travel with certain intangible valuables of their “home” traditions, especially social practices. So, the manner in which they engage the practices of the original “home” with that of the “foreign land” is particularly an issue this project seeks to understand (Drozdzewki and Birdsall 2019, Stanczyk 2019).

This research will be conducted in mainly three German towns, Hamburg, Essen and Dortmund. The main attention will be focused on Hamburg and Essen because these are the two cities with large number of Beninese Muslims. They are the towns where the earlier migrants settled and so became more attractive for later migrants. Besides this, the earlier settlers established Islamic structures like Madrasa (Islamic schools). However, I will pay a certain degree of attention to Dortmund due to the presence an active small Beninese Muslim community in addition to its proximity to Essen.

Toward an Islamic Cultural Archive (since August 2019)Hide

Toward an Islamic Cultural Archive (ICA): Building a Collaborative Database of Islamic Learning in Africa

DFG, Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence, since August 2019

Bayreuth team:                      

  • Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Seeseman
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Rebstock
  • Dr. Franz Kogelmann
  • Prof. Dr. Britta Frede
  • David Malluche, M.A.                

Other members:

  • Prof. Dr. Hassan Ndzovu (Moi University, Kenia)
  • Dr. Abdourahamane Seck (Université Gaston Berger, Senegal)
  • Dr. Mohamed Mraja (Bomet College, Kenia)
  • Dr. Fatimatou Abdel Wahhabe (Université Moderne, Mauretanien)
  • Dr. Ramzi Ben Amara (Université Sousse, Tunesien)

The aim of this project is to collect data collaboratively about various aspects of "Islamic learning". The collaborative research team is bringing together a broad variety of perspectives reaching from every day Islam and festivities to informal and formalized settings of Islamic education. The team is creating synergies between various research interests by creating a joint cross-lingual database bringing together sources and research data from five African countries: Mauritania, Tunisia, Senegal, Kenya, and Tanzania. The database has been developed together with the digital team of the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence as a trilingual working environment that allows entering data with Latin and Arabic script alike. The collection integrates various types of data and connects it beyond language barriers by using a standard data description in each language environment and meanwhile interconnecting it cross-lingual by a multi-layered expandable tagging taxonomy. Read more

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