Critical Muslim Studies (Part I)

This AAS Digital Dialogue is first in an ongoing series of discussions about topics in Critical Muslim Studies.

Friday, January 29, 2021

4:00-5:15pm Eastern Time

This is the first of several conversations on “Critical Muslim Studies” that center engaging with “Muslim” as an object and subject of knowledge in these times of increased ethno-nationalist populism, neo-colonial governmentality, and rising Islamophobia. Presenters will offer some takeaway points from their research to illuminate the dialogic, interconnected, and informed discourses and practices to understand the “Muslim” across regional, spatial, theoretical, and disciplinary boundaries. As a dialogue with active engagement with the virtual audience, by bringing in scholars whose work speaks through Asian Studies, Asian American Studies, and Arab American Studies, we can discuss a wider conceptualization of “Muslim” as embodiment, practice, critique, and transnationalism that can be important interventions in our academic associations.

Session Transcript

Additional Resources

Lila Abu-Lughod, Do Muslim Women Need Saving?

Adam Ali,  “Something Got Into Their Minds: The Rise of Radicalization Discourse in Canada”

Rod Ferguson, Aberrations in Black:Toward a Queer of Color Critique

Gyanendra Pandey, “Can a Muslim be Indian?

Jasbir K. Puar, Inderpal Grewal, Robyn Wiegman, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times.

Edward Said, Orientalism.

Sanober Umar, “The Identity of Language and the Language of Erasure: Urdu and the Racialized-Decastification of the ‘Backward Musalmaan’ in India”

Session Speakers

Adam Ehsan Ali

Adam Ehsan Ali is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto. His main research interests include: sport in the post 9/11 era, extremism and deradicalization through sport, sport and national memory/grief, and sport and sustainability.

Hareem Khan

Hareem Khan is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at California State University, San Bernardino. She is a cultural anthropologist specializing in consumer cultures, gendered labor, and racialization. Her current research examines the burgeoning South Asian beauty industry in Southern California, focusing specifically on the entanglements of race, labor, and the commodification of cultural aesthetic practices. Previously, she explored how modernity is represented in Indian cosmetics ads and the ways discourses of the “modern Indian woman” get negotiated through daily consumption. Some findings from this research have been published in an anthology on global raciality organized by the UC Center for New Racial Studies.

Sanober Umar

Sanober Umar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics at York University. She is interested in the global histories and politics of gendering and “racing” Islam as a religion. Her upcoming work explores the relationship (and critical differences) between caste and racial hierarchies, and how they subsequently inform the figure of the Muslim in Indian and world politics. She refers to the institutional denial of oppressed Muslim caste histories, and the complex self-genealogies of historically marginalized Muslims as “racialized decastification” which critically intersects with racialized capitalism, border and surveillance regimes, and the rising phenomenon of Aryan Nationalisms in both the Global North and South. Her work therefore foregrounds caste as an important yet overlooked lens of analyzing Muslim identities and societies in a transnational framework.