Didem Ünal Abaday
Didem Ünal Abaday

Welcome to our department! Why did you want to work at ERG and Stockholm University?

I have been granted a 12-month postdoctoral fellowship to conduct fieldwork in Stockholm as a part of my current project on Islamic fashion in diaspora. Prof. Pia Karlsson Minganti kindly agreed to host my project at ERG.

What project will you be working on during your stay?

My current project titled ‘Spatial Negotiations of Piety and Islamic Fashion in Diaspora’ aims to provide a comparative analysis of pious Turkish women’s sartorial practices in contemporary European and North American societies. I aim to focus on the shifting meanings of agency, resistance and piety in pious Turkish women’s everyday religious practices in diaspora. I will particularly engage with the recently growing literature on the materialities and the spatial politics of Islamic dress and will scrutinize the Muslim consumer landscape in European and North American migration regimes through relocating the political within the quotidian.

What do you think is the most important knowledge your research can bring to light in this field?

My project on Islamic fashion in diaspora can be situated within the recently growing scholarship on the complex relationship between Islamic ethics, neoliberalism and fashion. It also aims to engage with the recent scholarly debates on the material, ethical, aesthetic and spatial dimensions of Islamic dress. It looks at pious Turkish women’s sartorial choices, strategies and maneuvers with a focus on how they revisit the complex relationship between Islamic ethics and aesthetics and engage in a self-reflective inquiry into the meanings of belonging, piety and public self-presentation in diaspora. It also scrutinizes how they reimagine the urban space by transgressing the assumed spatial, social and ideological divisions reinforced through anti-Muslim discourses.

Do you have any previous connection to Sweden?

No.

What is your impression of Stockholm so far?

Sweden is a great place for a scholar coming from Turkey, a country marked by political turmoil and attacks on academic freedom. I feel very privileged to be here and hope that my research stay at ERG will allow me to have enough mental space to deeply focus on my work.