Making British Islam Across Generations

Supervisory team: Professor Esra Özyürek (Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge) and Sadiya Ahmed (Everyday Muslim Heritage and Archive Initiative)

Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award at the University of Cambridge, in partnership with the Everyday Muslim Heritage and Archive Initiative.

The CDA project asks how do different generations of Muslims understand what it means to be a Muslim in the U.K.? Can we talk about a British Muslim experience? If so, at which generation does it start? What kinds of everyday religious expressions bind British Muslims with each other and make them different from non-British Muslims? What would the across the generations experiences of British Muslims tell us about the relationship between migration and localization when it comes to diverse religious communities coming together and forming a distinct minority?

The CDA student will conduct research under the supervision of Esra Özyürek, Sultan Qaboos Professor of Abrahamic Religions and Shared Values, and Sadiya Ahmed, Director and Founder of the Everyday Muslim Heritage and Archive Initiative. The student will use existing audio-visual archival material from the Everyday Muslim Project, as well as collecting new sources from three generations of Muslims from different families in the U.K. This is a unique opportunity to understand transformation in the lived experience of Islam through generations of diverse Muslim communities in the U.K. The dissertation will be an anthropological contribution to our understanding of the rich but understudied lived experience of Islam in the U.K. from a generational perspective. It will allow us to gain a diachronic perspective on the localization of religious expression in creating cultural, ethnic, and citizenship ties in contemporary U.K.

The CDA is also an opportunity to develop professional skills in collecting oral history narratives and other audio-visual and material documents for archives. Upon completion of their degree the student will both have academic qualifications and practical training in collecting and archiving oral history narratives, and other visual and material evidence that highlight an aspect of Muslim lives in the UK of their choice. Hence, the student will join the much needed but scarce ranks of qualified people who can build bridges between academia and the museum and heritage world.

The award holder will be based at the Faculty of Divinity in Cambridge, with regular periods of time spent at the Everyday Muslim Heritage and Archive Initiative offices in London.