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Exploring Islam and Music-Making in Istanbul

By: Banu Senay  

So much has been written in recent years on Muslim art practices in which there is an overt mobilizing urge to use music/art as a tool for communicating a moral-religious message, or a deliberate intention to transform individual subjects into better Muslims. But what of other forms of Muslim music-making that not only lack such a mission, but which are actually at odds with the project of art as piety mobilization or as missionary apologetics? Taking a vibrant artistic community of practice in contemporary Istanbul as its case study, this paper describes and analyzes how this practice of art relates to current debates in social sciences around Islam, piety, and art production. It argues that participation in this project of musical Islam fosters in practitioners an exploratory way of knowing both music and Islam – a way of knowing one through the other.

Islam, Muslim Art Practices, Istanbul, Turkey
2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session



Banu Senay

Lecturer, Anthropology, Macquarie University, Australia
Australia