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Critical Thin

Haunting Sufis and the Also-Here of Migration in Berlin

Omar Kasmani


This article delves into the spectral and affective reserves of Zikr, the Sufi exercise of godly remembrance. It explores how performances of religious longing broaden the moral experience of a post-migrant Berlin by offering contemporary believers critically thin zones of hypersocial contact with Islamic holy figures. Zikr emerges as a key interface of felt and material worlds: through acts of remembrance, subliminal figures and migrant inheritances are made contemporaneous while suppressed civic-political matters find a spectral, more-than-visual presence in Berlin. Sufi haunting thus achieves, amid enduring conditions of migration, a provisional positioning of the not-here and the not-now as an also-here. Such remembrance affords migrants a greater awareness of being distinctly historical as well as the critical means to look past conditions of the present.

Open access

Traversing Fields

Affective Continuities across Muslim and Christian Settings in Berlin

Omar Kasmani and Dominik Mattes


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


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.