My research interests concern religious practice, media technologies, and emergent forms of political community in the Middle East, North America, and Europe. I give particular attention to diverse configurations of the human sensorium, and the histories, ethics, and politics they make possible. Taking contemporary developments within the traditions of Islam as my primary focus, I have explored how various religious practices and institutions have been revised and renewed both by modern norms of social and political life, and by the styles of consumption and culture linked to global mass media practices. My first book, The Ethical Soundscape: Cassette Sermons and Islamic Counterpublics (Columbia 2006), explores how a popular Islamic media form-the cassette sermon-has profoundly transformed the political geography of the Middle East over the last three decades. My more recent project is a study of the different ways in which Europe's Islamic past inhabits its present, unsettling contemporary efforts to secure Europe's Christian civilizational identity. Taking southern Spain as my focus, I explore the forms of history and memory that mediate and sustain an active relation to Europe's Islamic heritage, and the impact these forms have on the ethical and political possibilities of finding a place for Islam in Europe today.
2020 On the Virtue of Holding your Tongue. Critical Times 3 (3): 471-477.
2016 Granadan Reflections. Material Religion 12 (2): 209-232.
2016 Introduction: New Media, New Publics? (with Maria D’Abreu and Carlo Caduff) Current Anthropology.
2016 Prayer Machines: An Introduction. Material Religion 12 (1): 97-98.
2015 Religion. In Novak and Sakakeeny, eds. Keywords in Sound: Toward a Conceptual Lexicon. Raleigh, N.C.: Duke University Press.
2014 The Afterlife of Moorish Spain. In Nilufar Gole, ed. Islam and Public Controversy in Europe. Farnham, England: Ashgate Press.
2012 Interview with Alaa Abd al-Fattah, Tahrir Square, 12pm, July 19th. Anthropological Quarterly85 (3): 917-926.
2012 Experiments in Devotion Online: The YouTube Khutba. International Journal of Middle East Studies 44 (1): 5-21.
2012 Beyond Secular and Religious: An Intellectual Genealogy of Tahrir Square. American Ethnologist 39 (1):49-52.
2012 Interview with Talal Asad. Published in series, Pliegues de la Memoria 5, Casa Arabe-IEAM.
2011 From the Blogosphere to the Street: Social Media and Egyptian Revolution. Oriente Moderno, XCI (1): 61-74.
2011 Is There a Secular Body? Cultural Anthropology 24 (6): 33-47.
2011 Secularism: Introduction (co-written with Matthew Sherer). Cultural Anthropology 24 (6): 28.
2011 Media, Mediation, Religion. Social Anthropology. 19 (1): 93-105.
In today’s world, the lines between Europe and the Middle East, between Christian Europeans and Muslim immigrants in their midst, seem to be hardening. Alarmist editorials compare the arrival of Muslim refugees with the “Muslim conquest of 711,” warning that Europe will be called on to defend its borders. Violence and paranoia are alive and well in Fortress Europe.