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Sisters in Islam: Community, Precarity, and Gendered Politics in Russia

Fri, Nov 15, 11:10am to 12:25pm, Hilton Union Square, Floor: Tower 3, 4th Floor, Union Square 10


This paper examines the contradictory meanings and practices of sisterhood in Islam, a form of intimacy and solidarity that working-class pious Muslim women in Russia practice. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in St. Petersburg in 2015-2016, I demonstrate how it creates bonds of reciprocity that shield the women from the pressures of daily lives. A form of spiritual kinship, sisterhood also allows for the circulation of material support, affection, selfcare, as well as dreams about a different kind of future for this marginalized community. Simultaneously, sisterhood serves as a policing and disciplining tool, as the women compete for resources and authority