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This paper explores what I call “online experiments in ethical affect” through an analysis of one popular Islamic genre: the short video segments of Friday sermons (khuṭub, s. khuṭba) placed on the video-sharing website YouTube. In my discussion of this media form, I give particular attention to the kind of devotional discourse and ethical socius that is enacted online around these taped performances: notably, the practices of appending written comments to specific videos, offering responses to comments left by others or criticisms directed at either the preacher or other commentators, and the act of creating links between khuṭba pages and other web-based content. In examining these practices, I want to look at the way some of the norms of ethical and devotional comportment associated with the khuṭba in the mosque carry over to the Internet context of khuṭba listening/viewing while also engendering novel forms of pious interaction, argument, and listening.

Corresponding author
Charles Hirschkind is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, Calif.; e-mail:
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Peter Mandeville , Transnational Muslim Politics: Reimagining the Umma (London and New York: Routledge, 2001)

Kristen Zahra Sands , “Muslims, Identity, and Multimodal Communication on the Internet,” Contemporary Islam 4 (2010): 139–55

Samuli Schielke , “Ambivalent Commitments: Troubles of Morality, Religiosity and Aspiration among Young Egyptians,” Journal of Religion in Africa 39 (2009): 158–85

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International Journal of Middle East Studies
  • ISSN: 0020-7438
  • EISSN: 1471-6380
  • URL: /core/journals/international-journal-of-middle-east-studies
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