PhD | Racializing “the Other” while naturalizing the “Secular” Nation – An Ethnographic Study of Christian-Muslim Couples in the Netherlands
PhD-Candidate: Deniz Aktaş
Institution: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Supervisor: prof. dr. Marianne Moyaert
How do Christian-Muslim couples negotiate their material and ritual practices, and what does this reveal about the cultural archive of Dutch society, specifically concerning the normative “secularized” Christian assumptions and the dominant and privileged white Dutch identity with its connotations to nationalism, citizenship, and full societal belonging? By probing how a normative “modern” (and Christianized) distinction between “good religion” (interiorized, spiritualized, and private) and “bad religion” (ritualized, materialized, and public) is at play within the race-religion nexus in this so-called secularized society, this research looks at how such normative distinction may contribute to the marginalization of those who fall on the wrong side of the fault line and whose presumed and racialized beliefs and practices are associated with “bad” religion. Through an extended ethnographic study of the racialized aspects of Christian and Muslim’s everyday life, this research not only aim to highlight and magnify the prevailing norms and systemic inequalities, but also to provide a thought-provoking space to understand the multiple creative ways in which individuals navigate the effects of the cultural archive in their daily lives, helping us understand the possibility of social change.