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Title: In the midst of our mutually baffling cultures : the making of Muslim space and identity in 19th century Cape Town
Author: Saloojee, Ozayr
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 0048
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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There is an archival gap in the South African record characterized by colonial tradition and marked, until recently, by the more binary discourse of black-and-white politics. This archival gap is compounded by the fact that space in a South African context has largely been seen and studied in a similarly skewed fashion. In addition, established research has tended to prioritize Continental and European conceptualizations of space and the other. This PhD proposes an alternative method of theorizing and interpreting the space and identity of the 19th century Muslim community of Cape Town’s Bokaap neighbourhood. Beginning with the premise that the architecture of this community was an architecture of action, this research suggests that it is through a radical empiricism of the spatial (a linking of ideas in postcolonial theory and religious studies) that the spaces of this community can be made more fully known. The outcome is the proposal of a new spatial framework for the study of Muslim space and identity, developed through a methodology that links empirical research with a phenomenological heuristic. This framework is infrastructural, associative, contingent and anticipatory in relation to the space of this 19th century community. The research includes documentary and photographic archival analysis in Cape Town as well as studying historical and contemporary case studies. The research takes its centre as the Auwal Mosque – the first established in South Africa in 1794. Chapter 1 situates and explores the mosque as a negotiator between ideas of the local and the global, the visible and the invisible. Chapter 2 grounds and extends this reading into the urban context of the city around the mosque through the ritual co-option of existing urban contexts. Chapter 3 investigates the spatial implications of the sacred terrain of shrines (kramats) as part of a larger theological narrative.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available