Lindsay Randall

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Edinburgh, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9620

Approve Date

April 13, 2018

Project Title

Randall, Lindsay B., U. of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK - To aid research on 'Growing Up Under the Gaze of Saints: Youth, Islam, and Modernity in Harar, Ethiopia,' supervised by Dr. Tom Boylston

Preliminary abstract:This project explores contemporary Muslim childhood and youth in Harar, Ethiopia. Globally, Islam faces unrelenting scrutiny as a geopolitical threat and as a homogenizing ‘culture’ that is incompatible with modernity (Mamdani 2004; Masquelier and Soares 2016; Soares and Osella 2009), and locally Ethiopia casts Islam as an import to the Christian nation which is not entirely compatible with Zemenawinet, or Ethiopia’s particular modernity central to its religious and political discourse (Giorgis 2012; Eshete 2012). Harar, the ancient foothold of Islam within the nation and a city famous for its ‘traditional culture’, emerges as a focal point for national debates concerning what is acceptable Ethiopian Islam as well as for anthropological debates about Islam and modernity. Within this religious and political context, this project aims to answer one overarching question: how are youth in the ancient Islamic city of Harar fashioning themselves as modern Islamic subjects amidst global and local debates about the place and practice of Islam? To do so, this project will explore who is and who is responsible for the making of Muslim subjects in Harar, what the modes of being Muslim are in Harar, how young people practice them, how they might be gendered, and lastly, how the concept of modernity is being engaged in the city. By analytically foregrounding Muslim children and youth this research enriches, broadens, and challenges anthropological scholarship on the crafting of modern Islamic selves, gender in Islam, and how young people construct (non)secular cultural futures.