Luis Manuel Hernández Aguilar is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the project EnGendering Europe's Muslim Question (NWO Vici project, 2018-2023). Previously, he was a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Technical University Berlin, and Researcher at the project: Counter-Islamophobia Kit Project: Countering Islamophobia through the Use of Best Practice in Counter-Narratives in EU Member States, funded by the European Commission – Directorate of Justice. He completed his Ph.D. in Sociology at the Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, his MA in Social Sciences at the Latin American Faculty of Social Science (FLACSO) campus Mexico, and his BA in Sociology at the Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) in Mexico City. Luis M. Hernandez research focuses on theories of race and racism, Islamophobia, theories of the state, postcolonial theory, gender and sexuality, as well as discourse analysis. His monograph Governing Muslims and Islam in Contemporary Germany, Race, Time, and the German Islam Conference was published by Brill in 2018.
This project investigates the role of gender and sexuality in the problematization of Islam and Muslims in Europe today. Two deliberate theoretical and methodological strategies are used to achieve this objective.
First, by shifting the analytical and methodological focus from 'the Muslim other' to the 'European self'. This shift enables three subsequent theoretical moves: (1) the analysis of the problematization of Islam and Muslims in Western Europe, in which problematization is a research strategy tasks from Foucault and focused on the study of how and why something becomes a social problem; (2) the carefully mapping of the resonances and differences with Europe's Jewish Question, which represents a paradigmatic instance of the racialization of a religious minority in Europe; and (3) further thinking and accounting for the conceptual entanglement of race and religion in Western Europe.
Second, by centering the analysis in gender and sexuality. This is warranted by the salience of gender and sexuality questions in Europe's Muslim Question (eg debates on women's rights and homosexuality) as well as the potential of gender analysis to generate new knowledge. This strategy allows the project to unpack how gender and sexuality function as privileged terrains upon which Europe's Muslim Question comes into being, as well as considering the effects of the Muslim Question upon pre-existing regimes of gender and sexuality.
The project combines elaborate conceptual work with an 'ethnography of a problematization' focused on studying public debates and more precise key texts in the realms of policy-making and public debate, as well as interviews with key figures. The empirical inquiry on three topics: gender segregation, violence against women, and toleration of homosexuality. The empirical study is focused on the Netherlands, with contrasting case studies from France, Germany, and Belgium.
Principal investigator: Prof. dr. Dr. Sarah Bracke
The Counter-Islamophobia Kit research project documents and critically analyses dominant Islamophobic narratives in operation, and also counter-Islamophobia narratives and related best practices employed in eight EU member states (Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Greece, Portugal, and the UK) in order to produce the Counter-Islamophobia Kit. This Toolkit identifies and postulates narratives, arguments, strategies and actions that will be able to directly counter Islamophobia and set guidelines on best practice aimed at countering this form of racism. This two year project is funded by the European Commission – Directorate of Justice, and brings together experts from across Europe.
Findings based on normative patterns of Islamophobia and effective counter-narratives to anti-Muslim hatred in each case will inform the production of a transferable ‘Counter-Islamophobia Kit’ (CIK), which aims to detail best-practice in countering anti-Muslim hate across the continent. The key messages contained within the CIK will be aimed at policy makers, professionals and practitioners from across the EU.
Principal investigator: Prof. Dr. Ian Law, University of Leeds
In 2006 against the background of the increasing problematization of Muslims and Islam in German public debate, the German government established the German Islam Conference. In a post 9/11 world, this was a time period shaped by the global war on terror, changes in the German naturalization law, the proliferation of racism targeting Muslims, and the expansion of security apparatuses. In Governing Muslims and Islam in Contemporary Germany Luis Manuel Hernández Aguilar critically analyzes the institutionalization of the Conference and the different projects this institution has set in motion to govern Islam and Muslims against the looming presence of racial representations of Muslims. The analysis begins with the foundation of the Conference until the end of its second phase in 2014.