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Politicizing Elsewhere(s)

Negotiating Representations of Neo-Pentecostal Aesthetic Practice in Berlin

Dominik Mattes

Abstract

Drawing on ethnographic research in a Nigerian-based Pentecostal church in Berlin, this article explores the discussions that emerged when my scholarly representations of the congregants’ aesthetic engagements with the Elsewhere diverged from the church leadership's expectations. More specifically, it interrogates my representational practice in relation to the stakes of the diasporic congregation, which is operating at the political margin of Berlin's widely diverse religious landscape. In exploring the collision of my analytical focus on the affect-charged elements of the believers’ routines of connecting to the Elsewhere with the church's emphasis on affective discipline and moderation, the article demonstrates how aesthetic practices that engage with the Elsewhere not only have a religious but inevitably also a political bearing.

Open access

Traversing Fields

Affective Continuities across Muslim and Christian Settings in Berlin

Omar Kasmani and Dominik Mattes

Abstract

This article, a reflection on collaborative fieldwork involving a Sufi Muslim and a Pentecostal Christian setting in Berlin, examines whether distinct and diverse religious groups can be brought into a meaningful relation with one another. It considers the methodological possibilities that might become possible or foreclose when two researchers, working in different prayer settings in the same city, use affect as a common frame of reference while seeking to establish shared affective relations and terrains that would otherwise be implausible. With two separately observed accounts of prayer gatherings in a shared urban context, we describe locally specific workings of affect and sensation. We argue that sense-aesthetic forms and patterns in our field sites are supra-local affective forms that help constitute an analytic relationality between the two religious settings.

Open access

Introduction

Elsewhere Affects and the Politics of Engagement across Religious Life-Worlds

Omar Kasmani, Nasima Selim, Hansjörg Dilger, and Dominik Mattes

Imagine a divided mountain-scape. A line of ceasefire. Fog. Imagine coming to a clearing. In a mist-covered, militarized order of here and t/here, affection makes way where vision or bodies cannot. Mothers call out to daughters; sons identify their mothers’ voices in two-way traffics of sound. So long as the vocal exchange lasts, somewhere along the disputed territory of the Golan Heights, an Elsewhere opens.