Introduction: Everyday Conversions
This chapter presents the phenomenon of South Asian migrant domestic workers’ Islamic conversion in the Gulf region, the major explanations often given to account for them, and the alternative explanation of “everyday conversions” discussed in the book. Understanding the circumstances through which these women become Muslim requires us to bring into focus a realm—the everyday—often relegated to the background. The particularity of these women’s experiences constitutes a form of everyday conversion, a form of transnational relations marked by emergent subjectivities, affinities, and belongings that complicate conventional understandings of both religious conversion and the feminization of transnational migration. They experience religious conversion not as an eventful moment, but as an ongoing process rooted in the everyday in which the outcomes of the conversion process are not evident at the outset. Here the everyday functions not just as a space of routine and continuity, but of contingency, emergent possibility, and ongoing conversion.