“I’ve discovered I love to pray alone”: Women’s approaches to practicing Islam during the Covid-19 pandemic"

with Anna Piela (Northwestern University) & Joanna Krotofil (Jagiellonian University)

Wednesday, November 4, 2020 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Zoom Virtual Event

Photo_Anna PielaPhoto_Joanna Krotofil

In their presentation, Anna Piela (left) and Joanna Krotofil (right) will explore how
new social practices such as maintaining physical distancing and mask
wearing have shaped experiences of Muslim women of different racial,
cultural, and national backgrounds during the pandemic. Bringing
together findings from Dr. Piela's new book, Wearing the Niqab: Muslim
Women in the UK and the US, and a pilot study conducted by both
presenters during Ramadan 2020, they will discuss how the pandemic has
brought into focus often conflicting narratives about individual and
collective religious experiences, perceptions of threat and social
order (exemplified by simultaneous existence of mask-wearing- and
niqab-banning legislation in many European contexts), and religious
knowledge and authority. Dr. Piela and Dr. Krotofil will also examine
how intersecting frameworks of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality
shape the lived experience of Islam, paying particular attention to
ways in which marginalized identities are lens for coping with
exclusion (which for many is not marked by the beginning of the
pandemic, but affects them indefinitely). As experiences of isolation
become more mainstream, discursive spaces are opening up to center
marginalized Muslim female experiences.

Anna Piela is a visiting scholar in religion and gender at
Northwestern University. She has a PhD in Women’s Studies from the
University of York, UK. She has written widely on female religious
agency and radical practice in Islam, most recently in the Journal of
American Academy of Religion. Her new book, Wearing the Niqab: Muslim
Women in the UK and the US, will be published by Bloomsbury Academic
in February 2021.

Joanna Krotofil is an assistant professor in religious studies at
Jagiellonian University, Poland. She has previously worked at
University College London. Her book is titled Religion in the Process
of Shaping Identity Among Polish Immigrants in the UK. Her recent work
addressed the "refugee crisis" in Europe and related narratives about
Islam. She has also recently commenced her role as a PI on a National
Science Center Poland-funded research project about
religiously-informed experiences of motherhood and mothering in Islam
and Catholicism.