Project Description

The public and private spaces Muslims have built in Detroit their mosques, institutions, homes, schools, and neighborhoods, are products of careful thought and negotiation. In this project, University of Mchigan faculty and graduate students will examine how communal places and institutions have been made Muslim in Detroit, focusing on processes of building, inhabiting, and display. We will consider how Muslims in Detroit have imagined and redefined these processes as American. Our project is critical to understanding the place Muslims now occupy in American society. In the aftermath of September 11th, Muslims in the U. S. have been closely scrutinized. While this project recognizes that American Muslims now live as “a community under siege,” it also highlights fluctuations in this status over time, its variations in the present, and the multiple ways in which Muslims have successfully established their presence in a country that has often excluded them. The age and diversity of Detroit’s Muslim communities, which date back to the late 19th century, make this city a rich site of convergence and contest among Muslims and between Muslims and the larger society. Our project will explore this complex political and aesthetic terrain through research, documentation, and a campus exhibition in the spring of April 2005. An edited volume will follow from our collaborations, and we also plan also to make much of our documentation available to the public through our website and the Bentley Historical Library. Finally, the project will build models and infrastructure for Islam/Art/America (see appendix a), an international, interdisciplinary research, performance, and exhibition series now being planned with support from the International Institute.
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