Critical Muslim Studies (Part IV)

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

Friday, May 7, 2021

3:00-4:15pm Eastern Time

The fourth installment of an ongoing series of conversations on “Critical Muslim Studies” feature panelists Ahmed Afzal, Mujahid Osman, and Hadeth Rassol with moderator Neda Maghbouleh.

Thank you to Stan Thangaraj for organizing this session, as well as the ongoing mini-series on Critical Muslim Studies.


Guiding issues for this session include:

For this dialogue session, my short paper explores the way queer Muslims in Cape Town, South Africa, creatively reconfigure theological discourses, like jihad (struggle) or ghuraba (marginalized), to reveal and to disrupt the binaries of gender and sexuality. In this way, these queer activists, I argue, are challenging the hegemonic configurations of power that undergird conditions of violence (structural, cultural, and direct) against queer Muslims. By thinking through these interconnected questions, I hope to open up a dialogue about the displacement of (colonial) binaries of civilized/uncivilized, cultured/savage, or normal/deviant entrenched in contemporary approaches at the conjuncture of Islam and sexuality.

Mujahid Osman

Session Speakers

Ahmed Afzal

Assistant Professor of Anthropology, and contributing faculty in the Department of Asian American Studies at California State University, Fullerton

Ahmed Afzal completed his undergraduate education at Vassar College (BA, Self-Designed Major: Third World Cultures, 1992), and his graduate education at the London School of Economics (MSc, Cultural Geography, 1996) and at Yale University (MPhil and PhD, Cultural Anthropology, 2005). Afzal is assistant professor of anthropology, and contributing faculty in the Department of Asian American Studies at California State University, Fullerton. Ahmed is the author of Lone Star Muslims: Transnational Lives and the South Asian Experience in Texas (New York University Press, 2015). 

Ahmed’s research interests include ethnographically grounded research on globalization, transnationalism and cosmopolitanism; gender and sexuality cross-culturally, and anthropology of mass media and digital media. He is currently involved in two research projects.

Mujahid Osman

PhD Student at Emory University

I received a Master of Global Affairs with an International Peace Studies concentration from the University of Notre Dame in May 2019. There, I examined the Prophetic Theologies of three religious activists in the city of Jerusalem and its role in building conditions of justpeace. I graduated from the University of Cape Town (UCT) with a Bachelor of Social Science, with Honors in the first class, where I specialized in Religious Studies in December 2016. I also received a Bachelor of Social Science in Political Studies and Religious Studies from UCT in December 2015. I have worked with social justice organizations, such as the Claremont Main Road Mosque and the UCT Muslim Youth Movement, in Cape Town for over four years, where I focused on cultivating research skills and enhancing my understanding and practical application of contextual theology, intersectional political action, and religious ethics.

Hadeth Rassol

MA Student, York University in Toronto

My name is Hadeth Rassol and I am currently a 2nd year Masters student at York University in Toronto. Sport acts as the lens through which one can understand how different social processes play out in certain contexts. Under this guise, my study examines the negotiation process of identity, belonging and feelings of citizenship for Muslim Canadians participating in community, religious based sport, in this case the Umoja Soccer Tournament. More specifically, feelings and experiences around idealized narratives of acceptability within the nation such as the ‘model minority’ and the ‘good Muslim’ will be examined to better understand how these common Othering narratives are experienced by Canadian Muslims and how, or if, it shapes their sporting experience and participation. Above all, this study aims to highlight the Canadian Muslim voice and allow individuals to ponder on and share their experiences of negotiating being Canadian and Muslim in today’s political and social climate.

Session Moderator

Neda Maghbouleh

Canada Research Chair in Migration, Race, and Identity and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga and St. George campuses

Neda Maghbouleh is Canada Research Chair in Migration, Race, and Identity and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga and St. George campuses. Her first book, The Limits of Whiteness: Iranian Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race, was published by Stanford University Press in 2017. Her most recent and forthcoming articles are in American Journal of Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies; Mashriq & Mahjar: Journal of Middle East and North African Migration Studies; and Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism.