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Plural concepts of time in (trans)local contexts

Roman Loimeier
Hassan Mwakimako

In the research project „plural concepts of time in (trans)local contexts“ the major focus of research will be the question as to how the coexistence and competition of different (trans)local concepts of time are expressed in the everyday lifes and everyday agency of human communities with a particular reference to Muslim communities. Which concepts of time do gain particular importance in which specific context and how do processes of negotiation develop with respect to questions over hegemony of definition. How do concepts of time acquire particular relevance with respect to the (trans)local competition of times and conceptions of time. The major question is whether particular concepts of time that claim universal validity prevail in processes of social change against locally established concepts of time.

Project publications

Part 1

Local and translocal times in East Africa: Zanzibar and Dar es Salam as localities for the negotiation of time(s) in cosmopolitan contexts

Roman Loimeier

Zanzibar and Dar es-Salam are characterized by historically different forms and experiences of embedding in different translocal contexts (see above) that are again characterized by different experiences with respect to the evolution of concepts of time. Zanzibar as well as Dar es-Salam have developed, thus, since the late 19th century, different time-scapes, that have acquired, in the form of specific concepts of time, orders of time and time-budgets, relevance for the everyday life of people. Loimeier´s project will focus on the development of different orders of time in the sphere of education. The central question will be as to how specific concepts of time have been translated, in three different types of school, ie. government schools, mission schools and Qur´ânic schools, since the late 19th century, into social realities and to ask how specific orders of time, such „punctuality“ have been imposed in that process. In addition, the project will ask how the competition between different models of education has influenced the development of the specific time-budgets in the different types of school and thus influenced the social relevance of these models of education.

Part 2

Changing Times: Muslim religious debates in old and new cosmopolitan Mombasa and Nairobi

Hassan Mwakimako

In his project, Mwakimako will focus on question as to how disputes and discussions over issues of time are negotiated in concrete terms in two historically different time-scapes, namely, the „old cosmopolitan centre“ of Mombasa and the „new cosmopolitan centre“ of Nairobi. These disputes and discussions over issues of time may result from competition between Islamic and non-Islamic concepts of time, but may also result from conflicts that reflect internal Muslim dynamics, in particular, when set in the temporal context of the annual disputes over the sighting of the moon for the month of Ramadhan. These disputes do not have an only local character any more, but should be seen, on account of the increasing density of communication in the Islamic umma, as being part of translocal disputes withing the Islamic world as such.