Race and Islam: Global Histories, Contemporary Legacies

Race and Islam: Global Histories, Contemporary Legacies
Contributed By: events coordinator
Organizing Institution: George Mason University
Contact email: [email protected]
Start Date: March 23, 2022 (9:00am EST)
End Date: March 24, 2022 (5:00pm EST)
Cost: Free
Website: https://islamicstudiescenter.gmu.edu/events/13079
Merten Hall – Fairfax – Virginia – United States

March 23, 2022, 9:00 AM to March 24, 2022, 5:00 PM
March 23, Merten Hall, 1202 & March 24, Johnson Center, 325, Meeting Room A

The Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University will convene an international conference on Race and Islam to be held from March 23rd through 25th, 2022 on its campus in Fairfax, Virginia. The conference aims to treat the subject through a set of broad, cross-disciplinary conversations exploring the full range of intersections between race, Islam, and Muslim experience. We invite paper proposals from all disciplines across the social sciences and humanities; all time periods, historical and contemporary alike; and all geographic and cultural contexts globally.

Recent events in the United States have led to a renewed focus in public discourse on the socially embedded legacies of race and racialization. These legacies, however, are byproducts of a much broader global history—one moreover in which Islam has had a consistent role and presence. Race, racism, and racialization have been problematized, defined, and redefined in changing contexts by multiple subject positions, and simultaneously articulated, confronted, and absorbed across various media, institutions, and communities. The intersectionality of the race with constructs of gender, justice, equality, freedom, faith, ethnicity, and identity has refocused attention on race as a defining theme of academic research, political deliberation, cultural production, and public discourse.

Islam as a faith tradition, both in its historical and contemporary manifestation, has been intricately intertwined with the question of race. While Islam has been subject to objectification and racialization, the lived experiences of Muslims reflect a mixture of indigenous, historical, and modern adaptations of racial categories. The conference, therefore, aims to explore not just how Islam—either scripturally or culturally—responds to questions of race, as has often been done, but also the ways Islam, as a faith tradition, has encountered, engaged with, and reflected particular understandings and experiences of the race (not least of all through Islam’s own history with racialized slavery). Cognizant of recent processes through which Muslimness has become subject to racialization, one of the underlying questions of the conference will be how being or becoming a Muslim has been defined and constructed vis-à-vis particular racial discourses and praxes. The conference participants will address the following focal themes of the conference:

  • Race in Islam’s scriptural tradition
  • Conceptualizing race in the literature of the formative period in Islamic history
  • Black and White in Islam’s historical experience with slavery
  • Media racialization of protest movements in and from the Muslim world
  • Black-Muslim politics of the Mahjar
  • Afro-Arab and Nubian literature: past, present, and future
  • Race and Islamophobia in Europe and the West
  • Race and gender in the construction of slave societies in the Islamic world
  • Anti-racist activism in the Muslim world
  • Minorities and racism in the Muslim world
  • Refugees, migrants, and racism
  • Racism against Muslims in media and social media
  • Wars on terror and racism against Muslims
  • Education, knowledge-production, and racism

Keynote Speakers

Sylvia Chan-Malik, Rutgers University [[email protected]]“Raising Muslim Girls: Women-of-Color Legacies in American Islam.”

Sylviane Diouf
Slavery’s Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons (NYU Press, 2014)

Sherman Jackson, University of Southern California
Islam and the Problem of Black Suffering (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Invited Presenters

Sahar Aziz, Rutgers University
The Racial Muslim: When Racism Quashes Religious Freedom (U. of California Press, 2021)

Amaney Jamal, Princeton University
Race and Arab Americans before and after 9/11 (Syracuse University Press, 2008)

Evelyn Alsultany
Arabs and Muslims in the Media: Race and Representation after 9/11 (NYU Press, 2012)

Khaled Beydoun, Wayne State University
Islamophobia and the Law (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

Saladin Ambar
Racial Politics in a Global Era (Oxford University Press 2014)

Sohail Daulatzai, University of California-Irvine
With Stones in Our Hands: Writings on Muslims, Racism, and Empire (U. of Minnesota, 2018)

Admitted Papers and Tentative Panels

East Africa and Arabian Peninsula

Ahmed Ali Salem, Associate Professor& Associate Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates

Africanized Arab and Arabized African Muslims: Reflections on the Historiography of the Sultanate of Zanzibar.

Dalal Daoud, Visiting Scholar at AVACGIS, George Mason UniversitySudanese Islamists’ Approaches to Ethnic Minorities

Javier Guirado, Ph.D. student in History, Georgia State University
The African question in Oman. Race, belonging, and empire in the periphery of the Arabian Peninsula

Ameen Omar, Research Assistant, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha, Qatar
After Emancipation: The Legacy of Slavery and Racism in the Gulf


Naglaa Hussein, Term Assistant Professor of Arabic, George Mason University
Afro-Arabs Literature and Disconnection between North and Sub-Saharan Africa

Ayşe Cırcır, Faculty member in English Department, Erzurum Technical University
Biopolitics, Islam and Slavery in Najwa bin Shawtan’s The Slave Yards

Olfa Zairi, Assistant Professor, Cultural Studies at the University of Gabes, Tunisia
Why has it taken so long? Tunisia from the abolition of Slavery to the removal of slave names

Fouad Gehad Marei, Research Fellow, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Birmingham
Nigeria, Where Bilal meets Husayn: Blackness, Redemption, and Sectarianism in Shi‘i Ritual Cultures


Jeta Luboteni, Ph.D. Student, Graduate Program in Religion, Boston University
Unapologetically, Imperfectly, Muslim: Race and Islam in the Music of Azet

Katarzyna Górak-Sosnowska, Associate Professor at the Institute of International Studies and head of the Middle East and Central Asia Unit at SGH Warsaw School of Economics
Problematizing anti-Muslim racism in the East-West nexus.  The case of Poland

Naveed Shahzad Sheikh, Faculty Member in International Relations, SPIRE, Keele University, UK & Editor-in-Chief Politics, Religion & Ideology (Taylor and Francis)
Terrorism and Racism: British Counter-Terrorism Legislation and the Construction of the Muslim Terrorist

South East Asia

Jing Wang, Senior Research Manager at the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication (CARGC), Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
Can comedy be racist? The anti-Muslim racism in post-Mao China

Wai Weng, Fellow and Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies, National University of Malaysia

Sites of Inclusion and Exclusion: Multiple Intersections between Race and Islam in Malaysia and Indonesia

Matthew Bowser, Adjunct Professor, Department of History, Tufts University, Medford, MA
Islam and Race in Burma: The Racialization of the Rohingya

Ruslan Yusupov, Assistant Lecturer, the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Regarding the Difference of Others: Inter-ethnic Family Life in Contemporary Xinjiang, China


Tazeen M. Ali, Assistant Professor of Religion and Politics, John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, Washington University in Saint Louis
Muslims on TV: Disrupting Islamophobia and Anti-Blackness in Ramy and East of La Brea

Michael D. Gutzler, Assistant Professor of Religion, Northern Virginia Community College, Woodbridge, VA
Uncovering Muslim Communities in the Antebellum American South

Nazita Lajaverdi, Michigan State University

Outsiders at Home: The Politics of American Islamophobia (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

Islamic Disciplines and History

Jonathan Brown, Alwaleed bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University
Antiblackness in Islamic Marriage Law: Custom as the Problem, Custom as the Solution

Bernard K. Freamon, Seton Hall University

The event is free and open to the public but RSVP is required.

Merten Hall
4441 George Mason Blvd
Fairfax , Virginia 22030 United States
+ Google Map

More upcoming events

Scroll to Top