Course description

This course is a comprehensive exploration of the history and contemporary landscape of Islam in America. The course contains a brief introduction to Islam and is then divided into five parts. Part one covers Islam in America from the colonial era to the founding of the United States and into the first three presidents. Part two goes into the Barbary Wars and the discourse related to American slavery with respect to encounters with Islam. The juxtaposition of West African Muslims enslaved in the American south with white American sailors held captive by North African Muslim corsairs helped galvanize an abolitionist movement that was cloaked in Islamic tropes. Part three explores the rise of social reform movements in America and the use of Islamic tropes (or Islamicism) to give meaning to such movements. In particular, the course explores the temperance, abolitionist, corporal punishment, and rural cemetery movements. Known as Islamicism, the cultural interpellations of Islam become used to establish new social norms and cultural standards in America in this period. Part four covers Islam in the African American community. This part reveals the major catalysts and gateways for what has been called a communal conversion by an American group to Islam. It is here that the birth of a new community, a new art form, and a new method in the struggle for civil and human rights in America becomes essential to the defining of American Islam. Finally, part five explores the rise of American Islamophobia in the 9/11 era. In this section, this course reveals how anti-Muslim hate and violence has shaped the community and its response, and explores the lasting impact that shapes American Islam and Muslims today.


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