Mikaela Rogozen-Soltar, Ph.D.

Associate Professor



Mikaela Rogozen-Soltar's research explores the intersections of mobility, religion, race, and gender in the urban Mediterranean to illuminate the ways migration and religious changes are reconfiguring how people conceptualize European belonging and attendant practices of political solidarity and exclusion.

Spain unmoored

Rogozen-Soltar's first book is an urban ethnography of social encounters between Muslim migrants, European converts to Islam, and Catholic and secular Andalusians in the city of Granada in Andalusia (southern Spain). Linking the study of migration and religious conversion, and ethnography of Islamophobia and Islamophilia, she explored how city residents differently mobilize historical narratives about Andalusia's Muslim past to navigate renewed ethnic and religious pluralism today. Non-Muslims are highly ambivalent about local Muslim history, which is both celebrated and silenced. As a result, Muslims are both included and excluded in social and political life in Granada, and in divergent ways for converts and migrants, resulting in a hierarchical, unequal multiculturalism. She explored this unequal multiculturalism, focusing on its gendered, racial, and political dimensions, ultimately showing how Europe's historical entanglements with Islam and North Africa continue to shape politics in the present.

European conversions to Islam

Her two current research projects developed out of this initial work in Spain. First, Rogozen-Soltar is conducting follow up research on European conversions to Islam and writing a series of articles exploring the relationships between conversion, gender, kinship, and global travel, as well as the roles of temporality, memory, persuasion, and representation in theories of conversion.

Multiple mobilities in urban Spain

She also has begun grant-funded ethnographic fieldwork exploring emerging relationships of political cooperation and tension among three intersecting migrant groups in Spain: elderly return migrants who initially left Spain during the Franco dictatorship, new migrants to Spain from across Africa, and Spanish youth emigrants preparing to leave Spain's struggling economy. Ethnography of interactions among people involved in these multidirectional movements reveals the way competing ideologies about race, gender, and religion shape ongoing debates about who "counts" in the shifting social and legal categories "migrant," "refugee" and "ex-pat," as well as their consequences for human rights campaigns in southern Europe. I also ask how political movements among these differently situated mobile communities are reshaping local understandings of European cultural belonging and European Union membership in Spain.

Migration and urban design in Scandinavia

Finally, as Rogozen-Soltar continues her research on religion and migration in Spain, she also has begun to develop a comparative research project in Scandinavia, exploring connections between urban design, hospitality, and public policy and civic programs directed at Middle Eastern migrants.

Research interests

  • Migration and citizenship
  • Urban anthropology
  • Islam
  • Religious conversion
  • Gender
  • Human rights
  • NGOs
  • Historical memory
  • Nationalism and regionalism
  • The Middle East and North Africa, Europe and the Mediterranean

She welcomes inquiries from prospective M.A. and Ph.D. students in these and related areas.

Courses taught

  • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • Graduate Core Seminar in Cultural Anthropology
  • Global Migration
  • Anthropology of Europe
  • Public Anthropology
  • Islam and Gender

Selected publications


  • Rogozen-Soltar, Mikaela. 2017. Spain Unmoored: Migration, Conversion, and the Politics of Islam. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.


  • 2021. The Mobile Ummah: Belonging and Travel among Muslim Converts in Spain. Ethnos DOI: 10.1080/00141844.2021.1925726.
  • 2020. “Back to the Mediterranean?: Return Migration and Political Morality in Spain.” History and Anthropology 31(1): 105-122.
  • 2020. “Striving Toward Piety: Gendered Conversion to Islam in Catholic-Secular Spain.” Current Anthropology 61(2): 141-167.
  • 2019. “Murabitun Religious Conversion: Time, Depth, and Scale among Spain’s new Muslims.” Anthropological Quarterly 92(2): 509-540.
  • 2016. "We Suffered in Our Bones Just Like Them: Migration and Moral Commensurability at the Margins of Europe." Comparative Studies in Society and History 58(4): 880-907.
  • 2012. "Managing Muslim Visibility: Conversion, Immigration, and Spanish Imaginaries of Islam." American Anthropologist. 114(4): 611-623.
  • 2012. "Ambivalent Inclusion: Anti-Racism and Racist Gatekeeping in Andalusia's Immigrant NGOs." The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 18(3): 633-651.
  • 2007. "Al-Andalus in Andalusia: Negotiating Moorish History and Regional Identity in Southern Spain." Anthropological Quarterly 80(3): 863-886.

Textbook chapters

  • Rogozen-Soltar, Mikaela. 2015. "Becoming Muslim in Europe." In Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology, 15th Edition. Dianna Shandy and Dave McCurdy, eds. 2015. 192-199.


Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2010