Oral Presentation Session - Cosponsored Status Awarded
Sponsored by: Association for Africanist Anthropology
Cosponsored by: Society for the Anthropology of Religion
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: Race
Secondary Theme: Immigration/Migration/Citizenship
This panel examines formations of blackness and whiteness in relation to Islam by looking at Africa’s migratory, humanitarian, religious, and educational connections to the Middle East, as well as the Muslim Europe and North America. In particular, by focusing on the intersectionality of race and religion, this panel expands the scope of inquiry to the intertwined processes of the racialization across the Global South and North. Following anthropological lines of inquiry on race in Africa (Pierre 2015), this panel explores the geopolitical production of race and its varied, yet coherent, permutations within the Global South. Furthermore, not only has the study of Islam historically been marginalized within the anthropology of Africa, but Africa has remained peripheral to the study of Islam (Launay 2006, Saul 2006). Disrupting ahistorical narratives of pre-colonial ‘Arab supremacy’ and anti-blackness as foundational to the practice of Islam in Africa, this panel situates racial analysis of Muslims in Africa in the geopolitical context of global white supremacy. While global Islamic networks of humanitarianism and education create interracial intimacies and religious solidarities, African migrant and minority experiences expose the local and global constructions of anti-black racism.
This panel brings together papers that explore race as a process of identification, not only by a state-sanctioned gaze, but by racialized and racializing subjects themselves. By addressing the following questions, we provide a critical analysis of racial ideologies at local and global scales: How do Turkish Muslim philanthropists come to identify as “White Muslims” in Africa whereas the Muslim identity was previously associated with blackness in Turkey? How does a UK-based Islamic NGO reinscribe anti-black racism through its humanitarian work? How are racial categories and subjectivities negotiated by Lebanese Arabs who identify as white and Sudanese immigrants in Lebanon who seek to disrupt their discourses of anti-blackness? How do Moroccan racial formations perpetuate global white supremacy by subjecting sub-Saharan immigrants and its own Black citizens to violence? How are racial and religious categories reconfigured by African American Muslim youth studying in Senegal? Finally, the panel investigates how people across the Islamic world navigate racial formation as both modes and expressions of resistance. As racial ideologies keep adapting to the ever-changing demands of global capital, racialized subjects resist discrimination and dispossession by radically redefining human value and community.