Interview: Shabana Mir on College Experiences of Muslim American Women

Recently, I took (and passed) my citizenship test, and the interviewer asked me if I had a middle name. When I said no, she asked if I wanted to change my name. Hmm, I thought, am I supposed to, to become an American? For many Americans, including those born and raised here, there’s an assumption that they must prove just how American they are. My research participants felt that way much of the time, but those who practiced certain kinds of behaviors—drinking, dating, dressing in mainstream Western fashion—felt the pressure less. Diya was relatively indistinguishable from her White American friends in terms of lifestyle, but then she came under question for just how Muslim she was. If she didn’t wear hijab, was she a nominal Muslim? Amber, a hijabi, was on the other hand perpetually being required to speak up for Muslims in classroom discussions on Islam and terrorism, or Islam and gender. Almost all of my research participants felt that because of the pervasive nature of Muslim stereotypes, they were always or often having to prove that they were really American, normal, empowered, peaceful Muslims.

Angie Maxwell: The Long Shadow of Scopes

When Bryan agreed to assist the prosecution in the 1925 Scopes trial that would test the Butler Act’s ban of the teaching of evolution in Tennessee, he was anything but new to the debate. Despite his progressive political record on issues such as women’s suffrage, Bryan’s swan song as an anti-evolution crusader was zealous and emphatic. He argued, wrote, and perhaps believed, that this single issue would erode American faith. For Bryan there was no middle, and his readers need only choose sides. His widespread essay on the subject was titled “The Bible and its Enemies,” and he considered the cause the greatest reform of his life. Science and even the experts who defense attorney Clarence Darrow had attempted to call at the trial, were adversaries in a zero-sum game that the world was watching.

Alex Lubin: Malcolm X’s Afro-Arab Political Imaginary

Malcolm’s transition would include rejecting the homegrown and Ahmadiyya-based, heterodox Islam practiced by the Nation of Islam and embracing the intellectual, moral, and political currents of orthodox Sunni Islam, African decolonization, and Arab nationalism. In this way, Malcolm’s political and moral commitments combined sometimes-contradictory political ideologies, including those of Muslim Brothers, secular pan-Africanists, and Nasserist pan-Arabists.

Jacqueline E. Whitt: Cooperation without Compromise: Military Chaplains’ Responses to the End of DADT

As the movement for the repeal of DADT gained political momentum, dozens of retired military chaplains and civilian religious organizations expressed grave concerns that a repeal of DADT would coerce military chaplains into performing services contrary to the dictates of their religious confession or would effectively silence their protected religious speech about the sinfulness of homosexuality. There were warnings of mass resignations or a mass exodus from the military chaplaincy by evangelical chaplains (who fill most chaplain billets). Ultimately, few chaplains have actually resigned their military commissions as a result of their opposition to the repeal of DADT or the ruling of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional.

Jacqueline E. Whitt: Merry Chrismahanukwanzakah from Uncle Sam

The difference between the two positions is stark—but the key to understanding the divergence rests in recognizing the different assumptions and interpretations of the First Amendment. For groups such as the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the establishment clause is at the heart of the argument. And for [Tony] Perkins and many other religious groups and individuals, the free exercise clause is central to the question. The problem, of course, is that the First Amendment doesn’t give primacy to one clause over the other. They are co-equal and held in tension.

David W. Stowe: A Conversation about the Jesus Movement with Malcolm Magee

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The Jesus music had a visceral effect on my peers and me. Music was all around us and a constant emotional and intellectual force in the 1970s. It was very much the vehicle for communicating this faith. Music identified us. It captured the emotion that was largely absent in the churches that emerged from the 1950s. The music communicated both an identity and a mission. We all felt like we were going to somehow change the world. Music, however could be exploited.

Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey: Jesus Jokes and Racial Pain

Jesus has had a long, exciting, funny, and painful life in America. From the slave ships of the Atlantic Ocean to the Hollywood sets along the Golden Coast, from the visions out of Indian country to the artwork of children, from the firing of bullets to the construction of billboards, Jesus has been born, crucified, and resurrected in America’s racial sagas. Those of the twenty-first century laugh because there is so much to cry over.

Marc Stein: Five Myths about Roe v. Wade

On 22 January 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in Roe v. Wade, the abortion rights case that culminated in one of the most controversial legal rulings in the country’s history. Forty years later, numerous myths continue to circulate about the contents and meanings of Roe. Here are five of the most significant.

Edward J. Blum & Paul Harvey: The KKK and Jesus Christ

To justify their more rigorous white supremacy that stood against racial segregation and for immigrant restriction and conservative politics, the Klan in the 1910s and ’20s turned to the white Jesus.

Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey: White Jesus and the Publius Lentulus Letter

The most fascinating thing about the letter is that before the Civil War, just about everyone knew that it was a fraud. Whenever Americans discussed it, such as the President of Yale University Ezra Stiles, they admitted that it was a fake and that the Bible said nothing of what Jesus looked like. But then between the Civil War and the Great Depression, white Americans transformed it into a believed truth.

Fall sale wrap-up: new categories 50% off, sale ends soon!

Announcing our last four sale subjects, all at 50% off, with free shipping for orders over $75 for the next two weeks.

Interview: Daniel W. Patterson on The True Image

A thousand unique gravestones cluster around old Presbyterian churches in the piedmont of the two Carolinas and in central Pennsylvania. Most are the vulnerable legacy of the Bigham family, Scotch Irish stonecutters whose workshop near Charlotte created the earliest surviving art of British settlers in the region. In The True Image, Daniel Patterson documents the craftsmanship of this group and the current appearance of the stones. In two hundred of his photographs, he records these stones for future generations and compares their iconography and inscriptions with those of other early monuments in the United States, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.