Deepa Kumar, professor of Media Studies and Middle East Studies at Rutgers University, has proven herself to be one of the most important and articulate voices on the wave of anti-Muslim sentiment that has swept this country since 9/11.
Now, New Yorkers will get the chance to see her in person to discuss her new book, Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire, in Manhattan tomorrow evening. Kumar will appear alongside Moustafa Bayoumi, author of How Does It Feel To Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America, to discuss “the historic relationship between Islamophobia and the agenda of empire-building.”
Here are the event details:
Thursday, September 6th
7pm | Alwan for the Arts
16 Beaver Street | 4th Floor
(Between Broad St. & Broadway)
Reception to follow
The event is being presented by Haymarket Books, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Council on American Islamic Relations (NY chapter).
Additionally, it is being co-sponsored by a number of New York City-area activist groups, including: Al Awda NY, Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM), Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews Against Islamophobia, Labor for Palestine, New York City Labor Against the War, Students for Justice in Palestine (NYU) and The United People of Color Caucus of the National Lawyers Guild.
Here’s more about the event:
In the week after suburban Chicago Congressman Joe Walsh claimed “there is a radical strain of Islam in this country – trying to kill Americans every week,” there were two separate attacks in the suburban Chicago area – one on a mosque in Morton Grove and the other a few miles away at an Islamic school in Lombard.
These attacks come just weeks after a mosque in Joplin, Missouri was burned to the ground in an apparent arson attack, and one week after the temple shooting in Wisconsin of Sikh worshippers targeted for looking Muslim.
Attacks on Arabs and Muslims are nothing new, and neither are incitations to violence based on claims about an existential “Muslim threat.” In the wake of 9/11, Islamophobia – in both neoconservative and liberal forms – has been an important ideological pillar of the “War on Terror.”
In her new book, Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire, Deepa Kumar analyzes the historical roots of Islamophobia, offering a sweeping historical analysis of the changing views of Islam and Muslims in the West, and examining the ways that ruling elites throughout history have used the specter of “a Muslim enemy” to justify their imperial projects.
By deconstructing the most persistent myths about Islam and Muslims, and explaining the role Islamophobia continues to play in justifying war abroad and political repression at home, Kumar makes a powerful case for a movement that challenges both anti-Muslim racism and the project of empire.
Deepa Kumar is an Associate Professor of Media Studies and Middle East Studies at Rutgers University. Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire is her second book. She has contributed to numerous outlets, including the BBC, USA Today, NPR, the Nation, the Hurriyat Times (Turkey), the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the Miami Herald, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Moustafa Bayoumi is author of How Does It Feel To Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America, which won an American Book Award and the Arab American Book Award for Non-Fiction. He has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, The London Review of Books, the Nation, and others.
For more on Kumar and her new book, see my interview with her here.