27 January 2022

New research project: The Afterlives of Urban Muslim Asia

The project is funded by the Art and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), UK

Dr. Vera Skvirskaja, Co-PI, 2022-2024, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies

The project is a comparative programme of research that will provide new empirical data and analysis of Muslim Asia's legacy of cosmopolitan urban living in the context of migration and conflict. It deals with the experiences of ethno-religious minorities and the extent to which the legacies of cosmopolitan urban life remain a vital aspect of the cities' Muslim populations, many of whom have also experienced geographical dispersal.

Last Emir Bukhara

The project's in-depth investigation of the afterlives of Muslim Asia's historic urban centres focuses on Aleppo (Syria), Bukhara (Uzbekistan), Kabul and Heart (Afghanistan) that have historically been home to sizeable communities of ethno-religious minorities, including Jews, Christians, Sikhs and Hindus. In the context of upheaval in Muslim Asia today, studies of the communities and relationships arising from the region's urban centres offer critical insights into forms of identity that transcend sectarian and national identity as well as the prospect of greater sensitivity in future interventions in the field of heritage preservation and restoration. The project explores lived and imagined connections to the historic cities of Muslim Asia through ethnographic fieldwork amongst emigrant minority and Muslim communities in London, New York, Vienna, Jerusalem, Istanbul and in the selected cities themselves (in Bukhara; fieldwork in Aleppo, Herat and Kabul is not currently feasible).

For more information, see the project’s main website at the University of Sussex, UK.

Research Team

PI Prof. Magnus Marsden, Department of Anthropology, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex, UK
Main focus on Afghanistan and Afghan diaspora

Co-PI Dr. Vera Skvirskaja, Department of Cross-Cultural and Religious Studies, University of Copenhagen, DK
Main focus on Bukhara, Uzbekistan, Bukharan Jews and post-Soviet migration

Co-PI Dr. Paul Anderson, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge, UK
Main focus on Syria and Syrian diaspora

Poster: let them leave