This course is a survey of Muslim life and religious
movements connected to Islam in North America. The course is divided across two
weekend intensive sessions. Weekend Session I, “Early Encounters and the
American Imagination,” explores the early history of Islam beginning with
slavery and the colonial period and ending with the early 20th century. We will
investigate the many ways in which Islam, as both a religion and idea, has
appeared on the American horizon and in the American imagination. Weekend
Session II, “Historic Muslim Communities,” will revolve around examining the
historic diversity of Muslim communities on the continent by exploring their
respective beliefs, cultural and artistic expressions, and sense of identity.
Special attention will be paid to the history of Muslims in the 20th century
into the post-9/11 context of today.
- 30% Class Discussion
- 30% Field Report
- 40% Final
Class Discussion & Participation (30%)
Students are expected to keep up with all course materials
and to participate in in-class discussions.
- Field Report &
Between Weekend Sessions I and II, each student is to
conduct research into a person, place, or organization of significance for the
history of Islam in America. Each student is encouraged to look into the
histories of their localities and family. A brief report of 4-5 typed, double
spaced pages that documents your findings and analysis should be submitted via
email prior to Weekend Session II. Each student will also briefly present their
field reports at the beginning of Weekend Session II for discussion with the
rest of the class.
During the last hour of class of Weekend Session II, each
student will complete a written final examination. The exam will consist of
reflective essay questions on terms, persons, and ideas that we will have
covered during the course of our time together.
- Edward E.
Curtis IV, Muslim in America: A Short History, Oxford, 2009.
- Edward E.
Curtis IV, ed., Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States, Columbia,
- Malcolm X
with Alex Haley. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. 1964
- Wajahat Ali,
Domestic Crusaders, McSweeney, 2011.
- [PDF] Diana
Eck, A New Religious America, Ch. 2 “From Many One,” pp. 26-77.
Zareena Grewal, Islam is a Foreign Country: American Muslims and the Global
Crisis of Authority, Ch. 7 “Muslim Reformers and the American Media: The
Exceptional Umma and Its Emergent Moral Geography,” pp. 292-345.
- NOTE: The Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United
States should be brought to class for both Weekend Sessions.
Recommended Readings After the Course:
- Vivek Bald,
Bengali Harlem and the List Histories of South Asian Americans, Harvard, 2013.
- Sylviane A.
Diouf, Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas, 15th
Anniversary Edition, NYU, 2013.
Howell, Old Islam in Detroit: Rediscovering the Muslim American Past, Oxford,
- Denise A.
Spellberg, Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an: Islam and the Founders, Alfred A. Knopf,
Wajahat Ali, Eli Clifton, Matthew Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes, Faiz Shakir,
Fear Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America. Center for
American Progress, 2011.
- [PDF] Ihsan
Bagby, The American Mosque 2011: Basic Characteristics of the American Mosque,
Attitudes of Mosque Leaders, Report Number 1. CAIR, 2011.