Exploring Contemporary Shi’ism in European and Middle Eastern Contexts (panel I-II)

Professor Oliver Scharbrodt – University of Birmingham

‘My Homeland is Husayn’: Transnationalism and Multi-Locality in Shia Contexts

This paper will discuss some recent debates on the relationship between religion and space, in particular as they arise in relation to migrant or diasporic religious communities in the West. By distinguishing between different spatial scales (the local, the national and the transnational) and between different types of spaces (physical, social and discursive), this paper discusses how the multi-local trajectories of global Shi’i networks, ritual practices and discursive identity formations around the veneration of the ahl al-bayt can be conceptualised and analysed by a adopting a transnational perspective. Shi’a presences, as minorities in particular, are embedded in particular local and national contexts and entertain multi-local and supra-temporal orientations. They are part of transnational networks, engage with global articulations of ‘Shia-ness’ and as local actors are affected by, respond to and participate in a transnational public sphere of global Shi’a Islam.