The project takes its point of departure in cultural theories about the construction of modern forms of subjectivity and applies them to the history of the modern Muslim world. While the relationship between Islam and politics has been a central theme in research about Islamic modernity, the formation of modern Muslim identities has remained a comparatively marginal field of inquiry. With regard to European history, sociological research refers to three dominant types of subjectivity formation since the nineteenth century: the classical bourgeois, the peer-group-oriented subject of the salaried masses and a consumption-oriented “postmodern” form of subjectivity. It is the hypothesis of the project that all three types are of relevance in the Muslim world. However, while Christianity seems to play a relatively peripheral role in modern European subjectivity formation, modern forms of subjectivities in the Muslim world have been constructed in close reference to Islamic traditions. The project will investigate the various ways in which Islamic traditions have been related to these cultural processes and why in the Muslim world religion tends to play a more significant role than in modern Europe.
The project has received funding from the Danish Council for Independent Research (dkk 5,549,401) and the VELUX FOUNDATION (dkk 4,987,500). In addition, the Carlsberg Foundation supports the fieldwork of the sub-project 'The Role of Islamic Universities in Modern Muslim Subjectivity Formation in Europe and the USA' with dkk 50,000.