Laan, N. ter, Dr.

B04 Researcher
Institut für Ethnologie
Universität zu Köln
50923 Köln

Nina ter Laan holds a MA degree in Cultural Anthropology from Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands (2004). Her MA research focused on activist painters in the Moroccan Amazigh (Berber) movement. After receiving her MA and working for a couple of years as a tour leader in Morocco, she started her doctoral research on the political use of Muslim devotional music in Morocco. She defended her PhD-thesis in Religious Studies at Radboud University (2016). While writing her dissertation, she taught at the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Radboud University (2012) and at the Departments of Cultural Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies at Leiden University (2013-2015). After receiving her PhD, Nina worked as a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies at Utrecht University (2016-2020). There, she was a team member within the research group Religious Matters in an Entangled World, led by Prof. Birgit Meyer. Nina’s project focused on homemaking practices (interior design and food) and belonging among Dutch and Flemish converts who made hijra (Islamic migration) to Morocco. 

As from November 2020, she is a postdoctoral fellow within the research project Digital Publics and Social Transformation in the Maghreb (B04).

Nina ter Laan’s research focuses on Islam, aesthetic practices, and politics of belonging. Her regional expertise centers on Morocco. Using an ethnographic approach, she takes various aesthetic practices as entry points to explore religious experiences and practices in conversation with political formations in pluralistic settings. In related inquiries, she investigates music and sound, visual art, home furnishing, and food practices to explore complex connections between religion, the politics of belonging, migration, and citizenship. 

  • Morocco 
  • Anthropology 
  • Material religion 
  • Islam  
  • Music and sound practices
  • Politics of belonging 
  • Migration  
  • Home-making practices 
  • Conversion 

Laan, N. ter (2016). Dissonant Voices: Islam-inspired Music in Morocco and the Politics of Religious Sentiments (PhD thesis, Radboud University).


Refereed articles

Laan, N. ter (Accepted/ forthcoming 2020). “They have no taste in Morocco.” Home-making practices among Dutch-speaking muhajirat in Morocco. Contemporary Islam. Special issue. (Eds. A. Moors & N. Fadil).

Laan, N. ter (Accepted/ forthcoming March 2021). Musical negotiations of a ‘moderate’ vs. a ‘radical’ Islam in Morocco. Dissonance and the sonic among vocal performers of Islam-inspired music. Religion. Special issue: Beyond ‘Radical’ versus ‘Moderate’: Violent Extremism and Muslim Self-Representations in Africa, Europe and Asia (Eds. M. van Es, Nina ter Laan & Erik Meinema).

Laan, N. ter (2012) Performing dhikr above a nightclub: the interplay of commerce and spirituality at the Fez Festival of Sufi Culture. (2012) Performing Islam, 1(1), 161-170.


Refereed articles in preparation

Laan, N. ter (in preparation). “Assalamu alaikum, can we add this sister?” WhatsApp as an ethnographic research tool and a strategy of home-making among Dutch and Flemish muhajirat in Morocco, to be submitted with Religion and Gender.

Laan, N. ter (in preparation). “I feel like we've skipped a class” White Dutch and Flemish converts performing a European Islam in Morocco. To be published in guest edited issue of Feminist Review on the themes of gender, secularities and religiosities (Eds. Sabine Grenz & Mia Liinason).


Book chapters (refereed)

M. van Es, Nina ter Laan & Erik Meinema (2019). The Sense and Nonsense of Moderate versus Radical (in Dutch) In: J. Wagemakers & L. van Liere (Eds.), Who’s afraid of Religion? Why Knowledge of Religion is Important. Parthenon: Almere. (In Dutch)

Laan, N. ter (2016). “Islam is There to Make People Free”: Islamist Musical Narratives of Freedom and Democracy in the Moroccan Spring. In: K. van Nieuwkerk, M. LeVine & M. Stokes (Eds.), Islam and Popular Culture. Austin: Texas University Press.

Laan, N. ter (2015). The Politics of Religious Sentiments in Moroccan Anashid. (In Dutch) (2015) In: J. Wagemakers & M. de Koning (Eds.), Islam in verandering. Amsterdam: Parthenon.


Popular Science publications

Laan, N. ter (2020, March). Nourishing the Divine Between Suq and Supermarket. Food practices among Belgian and Dutch Converts in Morocco. Blogpost on Religious Matters project website :

(In Dutch)

Laan, N. ter & Merel Kahmann (2019). In search for a place to be a normal Muslim. Dutch converts and Dutch- Moroccans between the Netherlands and Morocco. Idee. (40) 4.

Laan, N. ter (2019). Living as a Muslim woman on the debrees of al-Andalus. Dutch and Flemish Muslim women doing hijra in Morocco. ZemZem. Tijdschrift over het Midden-Oosten, Noord-Afrika en islam, 15(1), 130-137.

Laan, N. ter (2012). The choked protest of a singer. ZemZem. Tijdschrift over het Midden-Oosten, Noord-Afrika en islam, 1, 36-40.

Laan, N. ter (2012). The coast is not clear. The pirate party in Morocco. ZemZem. Tijdschrift over het Midden-Oosten, Noord-Afrika en islam, 24-26.

Laan, N. ter (2011). Under the watchful eye of the king. The 20 February movement in Morocco. De Internationale Spectator, 65(11), 582-588. (adaptation of article in ZemZem).