The Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice at Rutgers University-Newark proudly presented the kick off to the Race and Religion Series which featured a book talk by Professor Evelyn Alsultany, Associate Professor at the University of Southern California, leading expert on the History of Representations of Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. Media and acclaimed author of Broken: The Failed Promise of Muslim Inclusion.
Professor Alsultany's book fundamentally shifts contemporary frames for understanding Muslim representation in media, corporations, government, and universities from 'Islamophobia' to 'Anti-Muslim Racism.' In doing so, she provides a razor-sharp analysis of the truly systemic reality of anti-Muslim racism.
The talk was moderated by Professor Deepa Kumar, award-winning scholar, activist and Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University—New Brunswick who along with Alsultany delivered a thought provoking and powerful conversation on Muslim inclusion and comprehensive exploration of where Muslims factor into American diversity initiatives.
About the Presenter and Moderator:
Evelyn Alsultany is the author of Arabs and Muslims in the Media: Race and Representation after 9/11 (New York University Press, 2012) that examines a paradox in an increase in positive portrayals of Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. media after 9/11 and a simultaneous increase in hate crimes and government policies targeting Arabs and Muslims. She shows that even seemingly positive images can produce meanings that justify exclusion and inequality. Her research, teaching, and lecturing are driven by a commitment to bringing Arab and Muslim Americans into the broader conversation about racial politics in the U.S. In her lectures, she seeks to educate audiences on the history of stereotypical representations of Arabs and Muslims in the US media, its consequences as evident in public opinion and government policies, and alternatives to foster greater human respect and dignity.
Professor Alsultany is the co-editor of two volumes: Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence, and Belonging (Syracuse University Press, 2011) which won the Arab American National Museum’s Evelyn Shakir Book Award and Between the Middle East and the Americas: The Cultural Politics of Diaspora (University of Michigan Press, 2013) which won honorable mention for the Arab American National Museum’s book award. She has served as a consultant for Hollywood studios and independent filmmakers on how to better represent Muslim characters. Recently she co-authored the Obeidi-Alsultany Test to help Hollywood improve representations of Muslims. She hosts the podcast “Muslims As Seen on TV.”
Professor Alsultany received a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2005. Since 2019, she has been an associate professor in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Prior to her appointment at USC, she taught at the University of Michigan for 13 years where she co-founded and served as the director of the Arab and Muslim American Studies, one of only three comparable programs in the world that focus on Arabs and/or Muslims in the U.S. context. At the University of Michigan, she was recognized for her contributions to campus diversity, mentoring underrepresented students, and program building through the Harold Johnson Diversity Service Award, the Arab Community Leadership Award, and the Arab Students Association’s Faculty of the Year Award. Professor Alsultany has won numerous awards for her undergraduate teaching, including the Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship, the highest teaching award at the University of Michigan. She has also been awarded prestigious fellowships such as the ACLS/Luce Program on Religion, Journalism, and International Affairs and a Fulbright Specialist Award to serve as a consultant in Qatar. In 2012, she was honored with a Jack G. and Bernice Shaheen Achievement Award.
Given the enduring salience of Islamophobia, she seeks to communicate her research to a wide audience within and beyond academia. In addition to being the guest curator for the Arab American National Museum’s online exhibit on Arab stereotypes (www.arabsterotypes.org), collaborating with colleagues at other universities to create the #IslamophobiaIsRacism online syllabus, and being selected for a TEDx talk, she is frequently contacted by journalists about current events and writes op-eds. Professor Alsultany maintains an active public speaking schedule, at the invitation of universities across the country and abroad.
Deepa Kumar is a Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. She is also an award-winning scholar and activist. She is the recipient of the Dallas Smythe award for her engaged scholarship, the Georgina Smith award for her work on gender and race equity, and the Marilyn Sternberg award for her leadership of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT faculty union. She is the author of more than 75 publications including books, journal articles, book chapters, and articles in independent and mainstream media. She is recognized as a leading scholar on Islamophobia both nationally and internationally. Her book on Islamophobia has been translated into five languages; a second and completely revised edition will be published in Sept 2021. She is also part of the Media Education Foundation‘s series on media, culture, and the Middle East along with Edward Said and Jack Shaheen. She is affiliated faculty in the Depts of Women and Gender Studies and Sociology and with the Centers for Middle Eastern Studies and Race and Ethnicity.
With thanks to Rutgers Continuing Studies Media Productions for their support of this event