Muslim Domesticities: Domicide, Trauma and Homelessness

From counter-terrorism home raids in Western countries, counter-insurgency home raids in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the dispossession of Palestinians, and the mass migration of refugees the traumatic loss of home is a recurring theme within Muslim political discourses that are imbricated with continuing histories of colonisation, war and imperialism. In contrast to previous research on migration, homes and affects, which stressed the emotional processes of migrant home-making and home-building, this paper mobilises Raymond Williams’ notion of ‘structures of feeling’ to examine Muslim domesticity as a shared experience, within which domicide takes an increasingly prominent role on the global stage.
Domicide is here understood as the deliberate destruction of the home in the pursuit of political goals. As a collective experience of Muslim homelessness, symbolic or psychological domicide is just as potent as the physical destruction of homes themselves. The techniques and groups of people involved vary across places: making Muslim homes feel unsafe, breaking up Muslim families through the justice system, coercing Muslims to leave neighbourhoods through racist violence, forced migration from their homeland through war and conflict, criminalising familial relations and kinship networks, turning family members into proxy prison guards, and purposefully traumatising and threatening women and children are just some of the many tactics involved. This paper argues that homelessness, broken homes and dysfunctional homes (rather than home-making or homeland) are far more prescient categories for understanding shared Muslim suffering.

Gilbert Caluya is currently a Lecturer in Screen and Cultural Studies at the University of Melbourne. He was recently the recipient of the Discovery Early Career Researcher Award for his research on the ways intimacy is used to manage Muslims’ access to citizenship. His research focuses on the relations between intimacy and race across a number of cultural sites, including sexual subcultures, cultural citizenship and cultures of security. He graduated with a PhD in Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney in 2009 before taking up three Postdoctoral Research Fellowships at the University of South Australia between 2009 and 2015, working at the Centre for Postcolonial and Globalization Studies and the International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding.