Dreaming, Temporality in Diasporic Space, and Religious Reflections among Kabyle Immigrant Converts in France
Keywords:Dreams, Temporality, Religious Conversion, Amazigh/Berber, African Diaspora
This article explores diasporic experiences and reflections on religious conversion through analyzing visitational, predictive/generative, and inspirational dreams recalled and related by Kabyle immigrant converts in France, which prompted their earlier conversion from Islam in their home region of Kabylie in Algeria, North Africa, prior to their migration to France. There is an approach to dreaming as both self-psychoanalysis and social practice in which visions in visitational dreams illuminate complex cultural identity and belonging in contexts of believed soul travel in dream time and transcultural migration over space. Useful in this analysis is Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of the chronotope, referring to how configurations of time and space are represented in language—in the present case, dreams—analyzed here in terms of how converts’ dreaming, cultural theories of dreams, and dream-sharing construct ambiguous, changing, and ambivalent meanings of conversion in bringing together, but also highlighting contrasts between, cultural and religious distances over time and space. Pre- and post-conversion disruptions emerge in dreams that reveal both religious change and cultural continuity in ways these diasporic converts forge new meanings of identity and belonging as they cope with remembered political violence in Algeria and ongoing economic precarity, political discrimination, and social ambiguity in France. More broadly, an approach inspired by a Bakhtinian (1981) “chronotopic” metaphor hopefully opens up rich perspectives in the study of diasporic spaces and entangled religions in contexts of both conjunctions and disjunctions between dreaming and waking lifeworlds of contradictions and dilemmas over time.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Susan Rasmussen
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