Being MuslimA Cultural History of Women of Color in American Islam

Being MuslimA Cultural History of Women of Color in American Islam

Sylvia Chan-Malik

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9781479850600

Publisher: NYU Press


Being U.S. Muslims: A Cultural History of Women of Color and American Islam offers a previously untold story of Islam in the United States that foregrounds the voices, experiences, and images of women of color in the United States from the early twentieth century to the present. Until the late 1960s, the majority of Muslim women in the U.S.—as well as almost all U.S. Muslim women who appeared in the American press or popular culture, were African American. Thus, the book contends that the lives and labors of African American Muslim women have—and continue to—forcefully shaped the meanings and presence of American Islam, and are critical to approaching issues confronting Muslim women in the contemporary U.S. At the heart of U.S. Muslim women’s encounters with Islam, the volume demonstrates, is a desire for gender justice that is rooted in how issues of race and religion have shaped women’s daily lives. Women of color’s ways of “being U.S. Muslims” have been consistently forged against commonsense notions of racial, gendered, and religious belonging and citizenship. From narratives of African American women who engage Islam as a form of social protest, through intersections of “Islam” and “feminism” in the media, and into contemporary expressions of racial and gender justice in U.S. Muslim communities, Being U.S. Muslims demonstrates that it is this continual againstness— which the book names affective insurgency—that is the central hall marks of U.S. Muslim women’s lives.