Blog Post#2: Affect’s in the details

Ever experienced the feeling of unfamiliar familiarity? When something really warms your heart and you feel at home but at the same time you feel completely estranged? That is how I feel when I visit my ecology. Masjid Ebun Abass is located in Mott Haven in the South of Bronx.  Structurally, the mosque looks like what one would expect a mosque to look like. The floor a carpeted in red afghan print. It contrasts with the pale green walls of the room. The khutbah is on the extreme left of the room on the men’s side, adjacent to a wall-covering bookcase. The men’s ablution room is at the very back of the room. The women’s side is separated by a cloth divider. The women’s side is much smaller and much darker than the men’s. The women’s ablution room is very much a part of the praying space and is concealed by half a wall. However, it is not hard to tell that the mosque lacks the resources and funds enjoyed by its South-Asian/Arab counterparts

Mosque Entry (Men’s side)
Entry (Women’s side)

The mosque has a strong sense of community which one can instantly feel as soon as you enter the place. However, there is definitely a sense of dullness in the air. The atmosphere is filled with a strong, inward-bound, sense of kinship and shared identity. This feeling, on one hand, feels extremely homely but on the other extremely exclusive. The community members are very warm and accommodating, but, I can always sense a feeling of confusion whenever I walk in, even if I am following the proper code of conduct and attire, which probably is partly related to the fact that I walk in with a camera but also partly tied to an internal structural divide along racial lines within the Muslim community. The mosque is definitely more of the conservative side which one can make out by its strict delineations of the men’s and women’s side, the relative size of both the sides and the traditionality of attire of the community members.

The neighborhood around the mosque is residential and very family friendly. There are parks and basketball courts around the mosque. While the majority of the residents are Hispanic and black, you could spot one or two people on the streets who were a clear product of the ongoing gentrification. There is a Dunkin Donuts right by the mosque but apart from that, most of the big chain establishments are about an 8-minute walk. Maybe it is my capitalism-trained brain, but the area reflects oldness and a feeling of retirement rather than youth, which I think is what renders it this feeling of calm yet decay. The neighborhood, especially right around the mosque, feels detached from the rest of the world. Viewing the mosque in the context of its neighborhood makes me wonder if there is a bilateral flow of affects between the two ecologies? and if there is, how do the issues faced by the neighborhood, such as economic instability, gentrification, substance abuse, among others, flow into the mosque to interact with religion?

-Vrinda Anand

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~ by va1997 on March 4, 2019.

7 Responses to “Blog Post#2: Affect’s in the details”

  1. This post had a strong afftecive response for me because you included people occupying the space in your photography. The inclusion of the men and the children made it feel alive.

  2. Best overall: You describe in detail your experience at the site and provided more information about the neighborhood surroundings. Additionally, your pictures are congruent with your descriptions.

  3. 2. Most Informative

    The images tell a consistent story of what the place was like (geometric red carpets that has Arabic patterns) and what the people in it were like (two kids playing and rolling on the floor). It is the captive shots of the natural behavior of people that made the writing more like an immersive journey to the reader to the mosque.

  4. Most Affective – I could actually feel the words that you were detailing through your pictures. I could see a clear representation of these Black Muslims lack the resources and funds enjoyed by its South-Asian/Arab counterparts and understood the greater implications of what that means and what society believes is a greater representation of Muslim.

  5. Most affective
    The blog post described the mosque in detail with photos that depict people inside of the space, I think this gives me a very lively sense of the whole community and the space in specific.

  6. Best Overall: Viewing the mosque in the context of its neighborhood makes me wonder if there is a bilateral flow of affects between the two ecologies? and if there is, how do the issues faced by the neighborhood, such as economic instability, gentrification, substance abuse, among others, flow into the mosque to interact with religion?”

    This quote truly exemplifies some of the ideas, questions, and concerns we’ve collectively thought through during this class. In the second paragraph, the authors use of language provided me with a clear and detailed image of setting of her ecology. Not only was the author thorough in her description, the blog seems to be written with great intent and purpose.

    Best overall.

  7. Best overall— The images show a comprehensive blend of the environment of your ecology as well as some close ups of the people of your ecology. The balance between the environment and the people makes your post both informative and affective in that it shows the lively movement and emotional depictions of your subjects with the more static and stable objects such as trash, and crossroads to put your audience right into the environment. Your description of the mosque pairs powerfully with the images of the messiness and disorganized ambiance of the interior. The order of the images made me feel like I was walking into the area myself.

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