Charles Hirschkind

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Hirschkind's research interests concern religious practice, media technologies and emergent forms of political community in the Middle East, North America and Europe. He gives particular attention to diverse configurations of the human sensorium, and the histories, ethics and politics they make possible. Taking contemporary developments within the traditions of Islam as his primary focus, he has explored how various religious practices and institutions have been revised and renewed both by modern norms of social and political life and by the styles of consumption and culture linked to global mass media practices. His first book, The Ethical Soundscape: Cassette Sermons and Islamic Counterpublics (Columbia, 2006), explores how a popular Islamic media form-the cassette sermon-has profoundly transformed the political geography of the Middle East over the last three decades. His more recent project is a study of the different ways in which Europe's Islamic past inhabits its present, unsettling contemporary efforts to secure Europe's Christian civilizational identity. Taking southern Spain as his focus, he explores the forms of history and memory that mediate and sustain an active relation to Europe's Islamic heritage, and the impact these forms have on the ethical and political possibilities of finding a place for Islam in Europe today.