The Friends of Sarah Lawrence Presents: Exploring Islam in America—Mini-Course with Kristin Zahra Sands

Note: This event has ended.

Marshall Field Room 1

Not open to the public

/ Friday

10:00am - 12:00pmAdd to calendar

The final part of a three-part mini-course with religion faculty member Kristin Zahra Sands. This event is open to the Friends of Sarah Lawrence; to register for this event or to learn more about joining the Friends, please contact Cheryl Cipro at ccipro@sarahlawrence.edu or 914.813.9211.

The United States has a long and complicated history with its very diverse body of Muslim citizens. Muslim slaves were brought involuntarily to this country and were forcibly kept from practicing their religion. Many of their descendants began to rediscover Islam in the early twentieth century and were joined by an increasing number of Muslim immigrants after the Immigration and Nationality Act ended racial quotas on immigration in 1965. White converts joined them throughout the years. Although Muslims currently comprise only one percent of the American population, their significance goes well beyond their numbers. Beginning with Malcolm X in the 1950s and early 1960s, and continuing to the post-9/11 era in the twenty-first century, perceptions about Muslims have functioned as barometers of deep social and political anxieties. To carefully examine these anxieties is to expose major fault lines in the domestic and foreign policies of the United States. The rise of fearmongering discourse from self-proclaimed “experts” on radical Islam after 9/11 is very much connected to the religious, political, and economic objectives of different groups, which are important to investigate. This three-part lecture series will look behind, but also beyond the hot button issues that dominate current headlines, exploring the variety of ways in which Muslims have flourished in America and contributed substantially to its intellectual and creative heritage. The mini-course will also provide a window into intra-Muslim discussions and disagreements over how to interpret the foundational texts and practices of the Islamic faith in twenty-first century America.