The Adelphi Ruth S. Ammon School of Education and Program in Educational Technology continue our social theory lecture series at the Manhattan Center. The next lecture by renowned scholar Shaireen Rasheed considers the complexities of Muslim identity in New York City schools.
The Western educational system is generally based on the logic of identity and sameness, where otherness often gives rise to uncertainty and fear. This has been apparent in the redefinition of American identity in the post 9/11 era of the Patriot Act, Guantanamo Bay detention camp, military tribunals, and, especially, in the widespread racial profiling and searches of Muslims. Unfortunately discourses around Islam and identity are laden with stereotypical notions of women and men and their sexuality or the suppression of it, with Muslim Americans continuing to occupy predefined roles, positioned as native informants from elsewhere. Their particularized agency has been taken away from them. In order to facilitate a notion of a third space, current multicultural and postcolonial scholarship and practice should reinforce the splitting that is already happening within the Western and Islamic discourses surrounding Muslim identity. Deconstructing racist discourses—particularly those that emphasize the need to modernize traditional culture and religion—will generate a view of culture, religion, sexuality and race as interconnected, where the Muslim identity is not a homogeneous, monolithic identity but one that is shifting, changing and contradictory.
Shaireen Rasheed is a professor of Philosophical Foundations and Diversity at Long Island University. She is also currently a visiting scholar for the 2014-2015 academic year at the Harvard Divinity School completing her manuscript titled, Sexuality, Islam and the War on Terror. She has written extensively in her area of interest, which includes issues of difference and identity in Gender and Sexuality Studies, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Century Existentialist and Continental Philosophy of the Other, Social Ethics and Cultural Philosophy, Post-Colonial Studies and Critical Feminist Pedagogy.
✯ An informal reception will follow the lecture ✯