Universiteit Leiden

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Sara Bolghiran

PhD candidate

S. Bolghiran
+31 71 527 2727

Sara Bolghiran holds a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences: Global Challenges, with a major in World Politics from Leiden University. She furthermore holds an MSc in Governance of Migration and Diversity from Leiden University, Technical University of Delft and Erasmus University (LDE) and an MA in Religion in Global Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. Her current PhD includes a Visiting Assistant in Research position at Yale University's department of Religious Studies.

More information about Sara Bolghiran

Fields of interest

  • Muslim Futurism Studies
  • Muslims in Western Europe
  • Contemporary Islamic Philosophy
  • Islamic Sacred Sites and Spaces
  • Islam and Aesthetics  
  • Islam and Poetry
  • Islam, the Unseen and the Occult
  • Islam in North Africa
  • Religion and Gender
  • Religion and Politics
  • Sufism


I am interested in the ways in which Muslims use theories and theologies of liberation, ethics, and social justice to imagine and work towards realizing their futures. Within these processes, I pay particular attention to the formation of their subjectivity, tracing and mapping how their spiritual selves unfold in the every day. I furthermore also focus on their engagements with aesthetic forms of spiritual devotion, such as the usage of poetry, art, sound, and architecture. Connecting all of these facets is the notion of ilm (knowledge), whereby I attempt to configure what kind of knowledge is pursued in other to form and inspire Muslim subjectivities, and ultimately what is needed to imagine and realize a future.
My research focuses on diaspora and revert Muslim communities in Western Europe, in particular those who are not congregating in mainstream mosques.

I am currently working on two research projects. Firstly, I am engaged in an empirical study whereby I am researching the relationship between space and spirit within inclusive prayer spaces across Europe, which have been on the rise for the last 10 years.  Mosques are usually constructed in ways that are meant to invoke sentiments of solace and inspire self-reflection.With their beautiful interiors laced with ornaments, calligraphy, and intricate geometrical designs, with attention payed to how the light sets in and brightens the room to embellish the space and create an almost divine-like aura, they are imperative in processes of both congregational worship and individual divine devotion. Inclusive prayer spaces however lack the funds to create such monumental buildings - if they even have an established building at all. At times, they rent out a different space at a different time. I aim to understand how this lack of a given or beautiful space influences the formation of their subjectivity as Muslims (if at all), and how they would envision a future inclusive space to look like considering the congregants come from a plethora of ethnic and denominational backgrounds.

Secondly, I am working on an analysis of Abderrahman Taha's Hiwarat Min Ajl al-Mustaqbal (Dialogue of the Future).

PhD candidate

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • LUCSoR

Work address

Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 1
2311 BZ Leiden


No relevant ancillary activities

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