This special issue of Islamophobia Studies Journal (ISJ) aims to generate and circulate new knowledge about the relationship between Islamophobia, gender, sexuality and racism.
It has been over a decade since the mediatization of events on 9-11-2001 created new forms and techniques of Islamophobia and brought along intensified scrutiny of politicized forms of Islam. Across the globe we note interactions between context-specific Islamophobia and its powerful transnational flows from elsewhere. We live in a world of increasing inter-connectedness, such that news, policies, images and practices can travel instantaneously between different sites. And in the current deepening economic crisis, we are witnessing an escalation of migration from postcolonial sites including Muslim-majority countries.
In this context gender, sexuality and race are enlisted in a variety of ways to legitimize and bolster Islamophobic discourses and practices. For instance, under the guise of saving women and queers from Arab and Muslim communities, Islamophobic colonial feminism and more recently imperialist concerns about “the status of homosexuality” has been used to legitimize invasions, occupations, war and destruction. Scholars have addressed some highly publicized examples, such as the occupation of Afghanistan that then U.S. President George W. Bush claimed, with the active support of colonial feminists, as a plan to “free” Afghan women from Afghan men. Islamophobia and Orientalism also guided the manipulation and deployment of queer sexualities in Abu Ghraib. While a plethora of examples abound, the analyses are very few. This project will shift that disconnect by providing a means to understand site-specific as well as transnational phenomena.
While Islamophobia is thought to have intensified since 9/11/2001, we note that such a presupposition problematically places the United States in the center of life across the planet. In the United States and in many other places across the globe, especially in Western Europe, there is surely an increase in Islamophobic profiling, criminalization, harassment, persecution, incarceration and disappearances. However, in many of these sites, including the United States, there is a long history of slower and more insidious Islamophobia formations in nearly all registers of life from dominant and popular culture (from opera and ballet to world fairs, cinema, music, etc.) to (official) governmental and juridical practices and discourses.
Farther back, there are multiple, place-specific genealogies to and manifestations of Islamophobia globally. Some of the most intense moments include: the crusades; the 1492 expulsion of Arab Muslims from Andalucía; settler colonialisms; the kidnapping and enslavement of Africans in the Americas; the 15th and 16th century colonization of Africa and Asia; the attempts to crush anti-colonial resistance movements in the 18th to 20th centuries.
Importantly, from the earliest to the most recent of its manifestations, gendered, sexualized and racist discourses and practices have been integral to the formation, maintenance and life of Islamophobia. While gendered, sexualized and racialized Islamophobia is there to mine in historical archives, it has only been partially researched.
Across the globe today, there is some excellent, albeit sporadic critical work by feminist, queer, critical race and area studies scholars on gender and Islamophobia, the racialization of Islam and Muslims, and the place of queer gender and sexualities in Islamophobia. This includes analyses of the U.S. wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, the French military interventions in Mali and other African countries, and the gendered, sexed and racialized relationship between Islamophobic discourses and policies in the heart of Empire and in colonial and “postcolonial” sites. An example is the scholarship on how France’s neo-colonialism reinforces and extends its official national Islamophobic policies while it maintains its “civilizing mission” of third world spaces and peoples it colonized and whose decolonization France has never fully accepted.
This special issue of the ISJ on Islamophobia, Gender, Sexuality and Racism, to be co-edited by Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi (San Francisco State University) and Paola Bacchetta (University of California at Berkeley), will draw upon insights of existing scattered earlier and current scholarship. The special issue of ISJ aims to radically deepen and extend our analytics for today. While the relatively few prior related works tend to be site-specific, we will bring together a body of innovative international scholarship on Islamophobia in which gender, sexuality, race and other relations of power are central. Our intent is to de-center the habitual U.S.-centric starting point of 9/11/2001 without glossing over its impact on lives and the ways in which it has altered scholarship on Islam and Muslims. Rather, this special issue of ISJ seeks to open up the discussion on Islamophobia to other temporalities, problematics and political geographies including but not limited to Africa; Asia; Central and South America and the Caribbean; Eastern and Western Europe; North, Central and South America; and the Pacific.
The present issue will include scholarship that individually and together opens up, expands and creates new conversations in which gender, sexuality and race are central to the study of Islamophobia. We seek fresh interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, international and comparative contributions that alone, in dialogue and/or inter-translation, enable the formation of new areas of knowledge production. We especially welcome work that moves beyond the bounds of current dominant epistemologies with their modes of interpretation, categories, terms, presuppositions and logics. We seek articles that present new, counter-hegemonic analyses, approaches and concepts.
We welcome a range of critical contributions about flagrant as well as more subtle mechanisms and manifestations of gendered, sexualized and racialized Islamophobia. Within these contours articles may also address questions such as:
Settler colonialism and other forms of colonialism; enslavement; neocolonialism; occupation; global capitalism; neo-liberalism; Islamophobia across the political spectrum from left to liberal to centrist and right-wing politics; political traumas; militarization, policing, surveillance, incarceration and security states; the juridicial; deployments of gendered and sexual imageries in psychological warfare.
Material conditions of African, Arab and Asian Muslims; marginalization, exclusion and murderous inclusions; Orientalism, colonial feminisms and the saving enterprise; the construction, generalization and/or homogenization of Muslims; the uses and limitations of homonationalism; the exceptionalizing constructions of African, Arab and Asian Muslim queer and transgender subjects, and of African, Arab and Asian Muslim femininities and masculinities; materialities of dress codes and repressions.
Dominant and popular culture; Islamophobic misidentifications or the extension of racialized targeting of Muslims to others; critiques of dominant fields of intelligibility, categories, terms, presuppositions and logics; constructions and deployments of Islamophobic terminologies such as “fundamentalism”; the notion of secularism; etc.
Resistance to and solidarities against Islamophobia and its material conditions including: south-south, third world, and subaltern-to-subaltern feminist and queer alliances and solidarities; political organizing, art, writing, performance, cultural jamming, music and other cultural and intellectual labor.
Abstracts of 500 words are due by October 10, 2014 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Full articles of no more than 8,000 words are due on March 2, 2015. Abstracts submitted for the special issue of IJS may also be considered for a subsequent larger anthology on Islamophobia: Gender, Sexuality and Racism to be co-edited by Rabab Abdulhadi and Paola Bacchetta. Please specify at the time of submission if you would like your manuscript to be considered for the Islamophobia Studies Journal, the book or both.
Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, PhD
Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies/Race and Resistance Studies
Senior Scholar, Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative
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