‘Getting Comfortable to feel at home’ – article published

I am proud that my article on the potential within understanding how Black Muslim women get comfortable to feel at home has been published by Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal for Feminist Geography.

To access the article, please click here.

Abstract

This article explores the role of comfort as an affective encounter across bodies, objects (namely clothing) and spaces. I focus on how bodies that are marked as strange and a source of society’s discomfort negotiate this positioning through the presentation of one’s body. What does it mean for these bodies to be comfortable or uncomfortable? This question is answered through work done with Black Muslim women in Britain. By exploring how comfort is felt in relation to racially marked bodies, this article develops work on emotional geographies. Comfort is understood as both an emotional product and process that changes as bodies move across different spaces. In noting this movement, I also explore how boundaries around the body (enacted through e.g. the multi-dimensional hijab) presents a particular form of territorialisation that facilitates comfort as we present our bodies across different spaces. These boundaries can be both a source of comfort and discomfort through their positioning as deviant from social norms. In understanding the different roles of boundaries, I explore the social processes that construct comfort (or discomfort) as we move through different spaces. This is intertwined with furthering work on Muslim geographies by challenging the overwhelming focus placed on ‘public’ facing garments like the headscarf and abaya. Such a focus limits an understanding of the fluidity of Black Muslim women’s identities, and how these changes in our clothing practices affect and are affected by the relationships built across spaces.

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