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Prayer as a History: Of Witnesses, Martyrs, and Plural Pasts in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina

Henig, David (2017) Prayer as a History: Of Witnesses, Martyrs, and Plural Pasts in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina. Social Analysis, 61 (1). pp. 41-54. ISSN 0155-977X. E-ISSN 1558-5727. (doi:10.3167/sa.2017.610103) (KAR id:49163)

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Abstract

This paper is an exercise in the ethnography of history. It explores how Muslims in Central Bosnia engage with the violent past, through acts of prayer, to make history. The paper traces two idioms articulated in prayers via which Bosnian Muslims affectively apprehend, remember and temporalise the past, that of witness (šahit) and martyr (šehit). The two idioms, I argue, help Muslims to reanimate recent critical events as the realms of personal moral-cum-temporal orientations rather than unreflectively partaking in an ongoing nationalisation of the past in the public discourses. This paper thus suggests to take seriously an act of prayer as a mode of historical consciousness–that brings together divergent sensibilities, materialities, practices and ethical conduct–in order to develop a more nuanced perspective on the past as actively and ethically in-the-making in the present.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3167/sa.2017.610103
Uncontrolled keywords: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Critical Events, Historical Consciousness, Islam, Martyrdom, Past and Present, Prayer
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahai Faith. Theosophy, etc
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Social and Cultural Anthropology
Depositing User: D. Henig
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2015 13:41 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2020 13:32 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/49163 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Henig, David: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6111-6523
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