Historical Social Research

Mohammad Magout: Transnationalizing Multiple Secularities: A Comparative Study of the Global Ismaՙili Community [Abstract]

This article starts with and proceeds from empirical observations about the ways international Ismaՙili students at two institutes for Islamic studies in London draw boundaries between religion and other spheres in their everyday life. According to these observations, students from Ismaՙili communities in Iran, Tajikistan, and Syria tend to make more explicit distinctions between a religious domain and a secular one in comparison with their Khoja coreligionists of East African descent. In order to explain this disparity, structural, ideological, and social conditions in their respective countries and communities are analyzed using the framework of multiple secularities. It is argued that while Ismaՙili communities in Iran, Tajikistan, and Syria have each internalized a motif of secularity from its broader national context, Khoja Ismaՙili communities have developed their own form of secularity, which can be described in terms of internal secularization. This article makes a contribution to the multiple secularities framework by extending its application to the transnational domain and to the analysis of secularity within religious communities. Furthermore, the article offers a comparative approach to the study the role of religion in global Ismaՙilism.

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