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The Expressions of Singularity and Unity in The British Mosque Typology

Part 2 Dissertation 2023
Yasmin Nagdy
Manchester School of Architecture Manchester | UK
This dissertation analyses the expressions of singularity and unity within the British Mosque typology through anthropologist Robert Redfield’s framework of a Great and Little Tradition. Redfield uses the Great and Little Traditions as a method to understand a whole cultural system, as no culture is independently functioning (Redfield, 1955:13). In my analysis, the Great Tradition is the purpose-built mosque, The Cambridge Central Mosque, and the Little Tradition, the converted mosque, The Shahjalal Mosque, and Islamic Centre in Manchester. This paper investigates how the Great and Little Traditions evoke the Islamic concept of singularity or taw?id, through geometry, stylistic forms typical of the British Mosque typology, and social rituals within the space.

A mixed methodological approach is used, as the existing body of secondary sources around the two traditions is unbalanced. The purpose-built, Great Tradition Cambridge Central Mosque is analysed through visual studies and textural references to many traditionalist metaphysicians, theologians, anthropologists, and philosophers. The converted Little Tradition Shahjalal Mosque and Islamic Centre is researched through primary interviews and analysed through ethnographic and cultural theories. Through a comparative analysis of the two traditions, this dissertation explores how unity is present across the British Mosque typology, despite the different expressions of it.

Yasmin Nagdy

Ewan Harrison
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