Charles Hirschkind

Research Expertise and Interest

Islam, anthropology, religious practice, media technologies, political community, Middle East, Europe

Research Description

My research interests concern religious practice, media technologies, and emergent forms of political community in the Middle East and North America. Taking contemporary developments within the traditions of Islam as my primary focus, I have explored how various religious practices and institutions have been revised and renewed both by modern norms of social and political life, and by the styles of consumption and culture linked to global mass media practices. In approaching these issues, I have been particularly interested in the cultural organization of sensory experience, including the practices of language, media and gesture through which traditions of sensory knowledge and skill have been sustained and developed. I explore a number of these themes in a book I am currently completing, entitled The Ethics of Listening:Affect, Media, and the Islamic Counterpublic. Most recently, I have shifted my focus to Europe, in a project that examines how Spain's Islamic legacy is inflecting the way the "Muslim Problem"--a pivotal issue in contemporary discourses of European identity--is being posed within Spanish national debates.

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