Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften


Derichs, C., Muhammad Din, F., & Stephan-Emmrich, M. (2022). Becoming professionals: virtual mobility, gender, and religious knowledge.


The connectivity and relationality between knowledge, religion, mobility and professionalisation in today’s globalised economy is just as remarkable as the active and formative role that Muslim women from different regions of Asia play in this field. Taking this observation as anchoring point, this article addresses the nexus between religion, knowledge and professionalisation. Deploying a gender lens that draws attention to women from Asia as mobile agents connecting multiple fields of work, knowledge and piety through entrepreneurial activities online, we introduce ‘Muslim professionalism’ as a new analytical concept to emphasize the co-constitutive relationship between individual and societal Islamization and global capitalist development. The text also contours the methodological and conceptual scope of a new and cross-cutting research field that links new area studies approaches with mobility, gender and religious studies. Grasping Muslim professionalism empirically, the article illustrates how Muslim women create and shape new fields of entrepreneurship across geographical borders and social boundaries. Being mobile (physically and virtually) is a crucial facilitator for and enabler of women’s professional agency. In conceptual terms, ‘Muslim professionalism’, as a lived reality, draws attention to the multiple border-crossing settings in the women’s professional everyday life that transcend the nation-state, gender norms, institutionalised social orders, as well as the academically constructed boundaries of Asia and the Middle East. The latter region shapes the centre curve of the loop that stretches from South, East, Southeast, to Central Asia.



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