Entangled Gazes: The Polysemy of the New Great Mosque of Granada
journal article
In 2003, a mosque was inaugurated in Granada, overcoming opposition voiced by neighbors, officials, and cultural institutions during two decades of heated debate. At issue was the meaning of the mosque within the contexts of local, regional, national, and global history. Current, large-scale immigration of North African Muslims stands clearly in the background. There was, however, a prior movement of conversion to Islam by young Spanish Christians in and around Granada at the end of the Franco dictatorship. These neo-Muslims conceived and built the Great Mosque of Granada, whose architectural design and decoration mobilize contested historical and cultural narratives. The mosque poses the fraught ideological issues in terms of what will be visible (or invisible) and to whom. The site of the mosque at the summit of the Albayzín hill, facing the Alhambra, has been the crux of entangled visualities. The mosque is not only an object of the gaze but also a privileged subject position for the gaze, in rivalry with the Christian gaze from the adjacent Church of San Nicolás and its mirador. The new mosque is a key to the transformation of the discourse of Spain’s relation to its Muslim past into debate about its Muslim present.
Bush, Olga. "Entangled Gazes: The Polysemy of the New Great Mosque of Granada." Muqarnas: An Annual On The Visual Cultures Of The Islamic World 32 (2015): 97-133.
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Olga Bush