Deconstructing the American Mosque
Space, Gender, and Aesthetics
Publication Year: 2002
Published by: University of Texas Press
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This book is the outgrowth of my research and study of the formation of Muslim aesthetics in the United States over the last five decades. Each chapter introduces an incisive discourse apropos to three individual debates, which will explain the impetus behind the appearance of Muslim aesthetics in North America. The first debate concerns the opposing views held by the...
Introduction: THE POLEMICS OF DECONSTRUCTION
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In the United States, the design and interpretation of Muslim religious art and architecture have been influenced by both the exclusion and the inclusion of historical fact, cultural bias, and a host of subtle contradictions. Each anomaly gives rise to a new discourse, and these discourses inform the corpus of this inquiry. Moreover, the American Muslim community has...
Chapter One: AESTHETIC ORIGINS AND END CONDITIONS
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In the performance of daily Muslim devotions, the repeated act of communal prostration intrinsically defines an interval of time and, invariably, a sense of space and place. Communal worship is a devotional act, and space and place can be expressed in terms of a referential cognition, which regulates the spatial order of a mosque (masjid).1 While these remarks provide...
Chapter Two: INTERPRETATIONS OF IMAGE, TEXT, AND FORM
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The aesthetic features of the American mosque can be codified under the rubrics of ‘‘image,’’ ‘‘text,’’ and ‘‘form.’’1 These three features suggest an anachronistic language corresponding to the use of ornament, inscription, and architectural form. The occurrence of image, text, and form, therefore...
Chapter Three: SPACE, PLACE, AND PUBLIC GATHERING
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Kevin Lynch, the renowned author of Good City Form, remarks that a ‘‘substantial equity of environmental access, at least up to some reasonable range of space and diversity of setting, must surely be one fundamental characteristic of a good city.’’1 In general, Lynch’s observation is correct; it is evident that the normative aspects of habitat in urban America maintain a spatial...
Conclusion: REVERSIBLE SPACE AND LINEAR TIME
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Our introductory remarks posited a dynamic relationship between architectural meaning and aesthetic representation by illustrating three major aesthetic genres of Muslim religious architecture in America: syncretic, traditional, and avant-garde. The specific idiom of these particular aesthetic genres is what we have come to call the American mosque. There are...
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Page Count: 208
Illustrations: 43 figures
Publication Year: 2002