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Kathleen O’Brien Wicker Endowment Lecture: “Being Muslim: Women of Color Legacies in American Islam”
Dr. Sylvia Chan-Malik explores how U.S. Muslim womanhood is, and has historically been, constructed through everyday and embodied acts of resistance, what she calls affective insurgency. By negotiating histories of anti-Blackness, U.S. imperialism, feminism, and religious life during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Chan-Malik shows how U.S. Muslim women have engaged Islam simultaneously as Black protest religion and universal faith tradition from their distinct subjectivities as U.S. women of color. Through a series of archival images of U.S. Muslim women from the 1920s through the present, Chan-Malik weaves together the narratives of Black, Arab, South Asian, Latina, and multiracial Muslim women, while arguing that Black American Muslim women’s narratives are paradigmatic examples of Islam’s insurgent racial, gender,d and religious presence in the United States. In borrowing from the lineages of Black and women-of-color feminism, Chan-Malik’s talk proposes a new vocabulary for U.S. Muslim feminism, one that is as conscious of race, gender, sexuality, and nation, as it is of region and religion
Sylvia Chan-Malik is a scholar of American studies, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies. Her current research focuses on the history of Islam in the United States. More broadly, she studies the intersections of race, gender, and religion, and how these categories interact in struggles for social justice.
The Kathleen O’Brien Wicker Endowment Lecture honors Professor Wicker as a teacher, role model, scholar, and humanist, continuing in perpetuity her interdisciplinary and multicultural approach to feminist Biblical Studies.