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    Historicising diaspora spaces: performing faith, race, and place in London’s East End

    Ahmed, N. and Garnett, J. and Gidley, Benjamin and Harris, A. and Keith, M. (2015) Historicising diaspora spaces: performing faith, race, and place in London’s East End. In: Hausner, S.L. and Garnett, J. (eds.) Religion in Diaspora: Cultures of Citizenship. Migration, Diasporas and Citizenship. London, UK: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 55-79. ISBN 9781137400307.

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    In this chapter, we focus on how diasporic religious affiliations of Muslims have been performed in public and institutional spaces in east London in various historical moments since the late nineteenth century. Rereading self-presentations and contemporary commentaries reveals migrant stories which cut across the imagined borders of the ethnic mosaic and which defy the tidy chronology of ethnic succession: these are stories of diasporic Muslims out of place or untimely, and involved in messy contingent alliances with diverse others in the metropolis. We focus here principally on South Asian Muslims: nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century seamen and nursemaids who travelled repeatedly to and fro from the Indian subcontinent and sometimes settled; and late-twentieth- and early-twenty-first-century British Bengali women. The intersectionality between religion, gender, ethnicity, and nationality is seen to be fundamental to their self-understanding and engagement with dominant imperial, British, and Christian cultures, even as the languages of British power and citizenship have drawn on the strategically deployed overlaying of these characteristics. This excavation also raises methodological questions regarding the problems and possibilities of resistant readings, challenging assumptions made about the ways in which subalterns speak and are heard in the archive (Joseph, 2004, p. 10; Spivak, 2010, pp. 18, 256). Emphasis upon space and encounter can unsettle the established narrative of displacement and segregation by instead retrieving moments of tension, affiliation, and resistance in communities across difference in east London.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): East London, East End, British Islam, British Muslims, Bengali migration, diaspora
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Ben Gidley
    Date Deposited: 19 May 2017 07:42
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:33


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