Anna Piela

Anna Piela
Northwestern University | NU · Department of Religious Studies

Doctor of Philosophy

About

41
Publications
9,930
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
279
Citations
Introduction
Anna Piela is a visiting scholar at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL). Anna does research in gender, Islam and media. Her current projects are 'Wearing the Niqab in the UK and the US' as well as 'Managing spoiled identity. The case of Polish female converts to Islam'.

Publications

Publications (41)
Article
This article addresses the question of how the racial habitus of Polish White female converts (PWFCs) to Islam is performed in different social settings. We draw from in-depth interviews with 35 PWFCs living in Poland and the United Kingdom. While the notion of habitus has been used to analyze socialization into Islam, racial habitus has not been a...
Book
Bringing niqab wearers' voices to the fore, discussing their narratives on religious agency, identity, social interaction, community, and urban spaces, Anna Piela situates women's accounts firmly within UK and US socio-political contexts as well as within media discourses on Islam. The niqab has recently emerged as one of the most ubiquitous symb...
Article
Full-text available
Public health guidelines implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic have changed the way many people practice religion. In the realm of Islam, practices from the margins—attending online mosques and prayer groups, or praying alone—suddenly became commonplace. This paper addresses the question: What religious processes have become more evident among p...
Article
This article explores the conversion processes of Polish women of Catholic background to Islam. Data from participant observation of mosque-based, women-only weekend gatherings for converts and in-depth interviews with 29 Polish female converts to Islam are presented to illustrate the dialectic between the persistence and transformation of religiou...
Chapter
Some Muslim women have directly challenged male religious authority by leading women-only or even mixed-gender prayer (Hammer 2011). They include, for example, Shamima Shaikh, who led prayer in South Africa in 1995, Amina Wadud (USA, 2005 and beyond), Raheel Raza (UK, 2010) and Jamida Beevi (India, 2018).
Article
Full-text available
This article identifies a gap in extant literature on women who wear the niqab and their representations in ‘traditional’ media: there are few academic sources that draw from these women’s own narratives. In order to address this gap, this article highlights niqabis’ self-representations in the form of photographic self-portraits published in new m...
Chapter
This volume considers the implementation difficulties of researching religion online and reflects on the ethical dilemmas faced by sociologists of religion when using digital research methods. Bringing together established and emerging scholars, global case studies draw on the use of social media as a method for researching religious oppression, re...
Article
Full-text available
Article
Full-text available
This article focuses on online narratives of female converts to Islam who wear or plan to wear the niqab. There is little discussion in research literature about motivations leading to adoption of the niqab or experiences of women who wear it. Instead, the discourse on niqab has been sensationalised by tabloid media which construct it as a symbol o...
Article
Full-text available
Mature students’ experiences of learning and teaching on Access to Higher Education course are coloured by their socio-economic backgrounds, their prior experiences of learning and their relationships with their tutors. After giving informed consent, 60 students and 20 tutors across seven colleges in a region of England in 2012–2013 took part in in...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
145 words) An important way in which people can (re)present themselves in different situations, such as being an AHE student, is visually as well as through talking and acting. Drawing and labelling pictures by participants in social situations or taking photographs or drawing concept or mind maps are part of a broad range of visual methods that al...
Article
This edited collection provides a comprehensive analysis of the legal contexts within which the “burqa affair” is located across Europe. It was published following the December 2012 “Secularism and Religious Diversity in Europe: Opportunities and Perspectives” conference organized under the auspices of the RELIGARE project (Religious Diversity and...
Article
Full-text available
There is a dearth of literature on Access to Higher Education (AHE) tutors, which this paper addresses. Tutors play an important part in constructing emotional and academic support for students. Understanding their constructions of professional identity and their views of the students they teach helps to explain the learning environments they creat...
Article
Full-text available
Adult learners on Access to Higher Education courses struggled with institutional and social structures to attend their courses, but transformed their identities as learners through them. Although asymmetrical power relationships dominated the intentional learning communities of their courses, their work was facilitated by collaborative cultures an...
Article
This book is a valuable contribution to the growing body of research on the experiences and identities of British Muslim women. Intersections between gender, ethnicity, and Islam only became a prominent theme in British social sciences when the need for a careful and fair investigation of Muslim women’s realities arose during the last decade due to...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, I discuss the main arguments that deal with mainstream media representations of niqabis in the West. In distinguishing between such representations of niqabis and their self-representations distributed online on photo-sharing sites, it is my purpose to highlight the entirely different visual rhetoric that emerges from the latter by...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper investigates experiences of Access to Higher Education Diploma students in England in order to better understand ways in which they enact their agency as learners and conceive their future professional trajectories against the current UK policy backgrounds. Using repeated focus groups with 60 students aged 19-54 from seven Further Educat...
Article
This excellent edited collection unpicks and disputes multifarious and intricate processes that underpin the homogenization, otherization, and vilification of immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, Muslim citizens, and individuals with a Muslim cultural background in the group of countries known as “the West.” It does so through presenting a se...
Article
While issues surrounding Muslim women are common in the international media, the voices of Muslim women themselves are largely absent from media coverage and despite the rapidly increasing presence of Muslim women in online groups and discussions, it is still a relatively unexplored topic. This book examines Muslim women in transnational online gro...
Article
Full-text available
International research has demonstrated that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth have elevated rates of suicide and self-harm. What is missing from the evidence base, however, is qualitative research investigating LGBT youth perspectives. This is a sensitive subject area presenting ethical, methodological and epistemological challen...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates self-harm among young lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) people. Using qualitative virtual methods, we examined online forums to explore young LGBT people’s cybertalk about emotional distress and self-harming. We investigated how youth explained the relationship between self-harm and sexuality and gender. We found that...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, I address piety as a concept shaping Muslim women’s online discussions about gender roles, marriage and professional careers. I also investigate cross-cultural religious encounters in these women-only groups as I am interested in the potential of such online environments to facilitate women’s religious reflection and intellectual e...
Article
Finding a suitable partner in both diasporic and non-diasporic settings proves increasingly challenging for young Muslims, especially those unable or not wanting to search within their kinship networks. At the same time, religious matchmaking websites are becoming increasingly common especially among Muslim women. As studies of Muslim matchmaking s...
Article
Full-text available
This paper analyses debates of Muslim women who discuss gender relations in Islam in English-speaking women-only online groups. My focus is particularly on Muslim women's engagement with Islamic sources on the levels of existing interpretations and women's own readings. There is a diversity of views on different points and women expertly refer to t...
Article
Full-text available
This paper focuses on embodiment as enacted and expressed on websites and blogs produced or populated by Muslim women. While there is no agreement amongst scholars and believers in different schools of Islam whether Muslim women are required to wear the headscarf, it is acknowledged that Muslim dresscode should be guided by the principle of modesty...

Network

Cited By

Projects

Projects (2)
Project
In this project, we address the question: how does the racial habitus manifest in identity performances of Polish White female converts to Islam (PWFCs), given that they cross and traverse the boundaries of Whiteness in multiple ways?1
Project
This project examines social identities of Polish female converts to Islam. In addition to extending the scarce literature on conversions to Islam in Eastern Europe, the significance of this project lies in the fact that it addresses the issue of female conversion to Islam from a new perspective – identity management and relationship to the social world.