Muslims, Media, and Mobility

In a world of greater spatial mobility and of intensified financial, institutional and personal connections, a focus on media practices, and the concomitant exploration of the adoption and interpretation of various media technologies, offer a fresh perspective on changing translocal linkages and the remaking of migratory worlds.

The different research projects on media and mobility explore practices related to various audio-visual technologies such as audiocassettes, videos and internet-based forms of representation and communication, and examine how different groups of media users appropriate these technologies in diasporic and translocal settings to make and remake their social worlds. The projects seek to understand how media practices are used to negotiate identity, feelings of community and belonging, and various other forms of social and religious affiliation, and to address the challenges of everyday life in diasporic situations.


Media, Gender, Generations: Translocal Networking and media spaces of Senegalese in Berlin (and Dakar)

Part of the DFG funded project: Media-related configurations of translocal social spaces by West African Migrants in Europe (August 2011 - July 2013) and DFG-funded graduate school "Locating Media" (until 2017)

Project Leader: Prof. Dorothea Schulz, Ph.D.
Researcher: Simone Pfeifer, M.A.

The research project focuses on forms of sociability and media practices of West African Migrants in Germany. The empirical study explores religious and non-religious associations of Senegalese in Germany (Berlin) and their networking within Europe and Senegal (mainly wider Dakar).  It is assumed, that through the social practices associated with the production and reception of media, West African migrants locate themselves both within the country of origin but also within the European country of residence. A special focus of analyses lies on the practices surrounding facebook, mobile phones and wedding videos and their appropriation by users of different age and sex.

Secondly, the project takes into account the importance of moralizing, sometimes religiously coded idioms in the formulations of belonging of the migrants. By studying translocal migratory connections between Germany and Senegal, and taking into account the role of media practices in the translocal social context, the project is innovatively positioning itself at the interface of social and media anthropology.

Mobility, Media and Morality. Translocal Extensions of an Islamic Revival Movement – Paris and Bamako

Project Leader: Prof. Dorothea Schulz, Ph.D.
Researcher: Carolin Maevis, M.A.

The doctoral dissertation research project explores translocal ties among and activities of a specific group of Malian migrants in Paris; these are supporters of the charismatic Muslim preacher Seid Cherif Ousmane Madani Haidara who, starting in the 1980s, has mobilized an ever-growing constituency of fellow believers around his call for a moral renewal based on Islamic values. Since then, his group of followers (“Ançar Dine”) has been growing rapidly in Mali and throughout the neighboring countries and the French and US American diaspora, relying on dense networks of economic, social and moral support. Sheikh Sharif Haidara’s disseminates his teachings in the form of sermons that, in the form of audio- and video-recordings, circulate among his followers in Mali and the Malian diaspora. The ways in which his adepts discuss his teachings during their weekly sessions and reflect on their relevance for their daily lives and practices of mutual support point to the deeply social and political implications of Sheikh Haidara’s teachings.

While existing scholarship on Haidara has studied these implications within the national Malian context, the doctoral dissertation project covers new ground by exploring the networking activities of Haidara’s followers in the Malian diaspora in Paris. Its primary objective is to understand how the engagement of Haidara’s followers with his mass-mediated teachings fits into and possibly transforms practices and institutions of sociality and mutual economic support among Malian migrants in France. The project will pay particular attention to the ways in which the distinct legal, social, economic and political conditions of French diaspora affect the ways in which Haidara’s followers engage and make sense of his mass-mediated teachings. Of particular relevance for the research project are the social ties and activities through which followers of Sheikh Haidara make their life in Paris and develop a sense of belonging.  

Being Hui in Yunnan, China: Media practices, qingzhen, space and negotiating Sino-Muslim identities and authenticities

Part of the DFG funded project: Media-related configurations of translocal social spaces by West African Migrants in Europe (until October 2016) 

Project Leader: Dorothea Schulz, Ph.D.
Researcher: Nelli Morkel, M.A.



Muslim-Christian relations and the auditory making of religious community in Uganda.

Part of the DFG funded project: Muslim-Christian relations and the auditory making of religious community in Uganda (March 2014 - February 2017)

Project Leader: Dorothea Schulz, Ph.D. 
Researcher: Leyla Bachtiosin, M.A. 

The research project investigates how Muslims in Uganda position themselves as a religious minority in local and national contexts and how, in this process, they define and structure their relations to Christians in public arenas. Rather than focusing exclusively on Muslims, the project addresses these questions by looking at the boundary work effected between Muslims and Christians. To this end, the project examines the discursive and auditory practices and symbolic forms through which Muslims and Christians seek to achieve greater public prominence, to partake in debates over the ordering of social and moral life, and to negotiate their mutual relationship. The project addresses these questions from a media studies perspective, by paying particular attention to the aesthetic and sensory, symbolic forms that, partly remediated via electronic media, allow Muslims in Uganda to experience religious community and to reflect on their minority position in local and national contexts.