Welcome to www.muslimsubjects.org.
www.Muslimsubjects.org was launched in Spring 2012 as a blog and an online portal for projects of the Muslim Studies Program at Michigan State University. Muslim Subjects seeks to move beyond the established academic paradigms for studying and representing Muslims and Islam by developing new approaches that focus on “lived experiences” and not merely scriptural and philosophical texts. Through its blog, projects, and videos, Muslim Subjects explores major issues facing Muslims in the contemporary era. These issues include the following: 1) the role of the media in shaping attitudes towards Muslims, 2) the complexity of cultural adaptation in the shaping of Muslim practices, 3) the globalization of Islam and regional politics of the Muslim World, and 4) the rise in Islamophobia.
To address these issues from a range of perspectives, Muslim Subjects provides a public forum to examine the common conflict-centered representations of Islam and to put on display alternatives to the mainstream media. Some documented evidence of the disconnect between the lived realities of Muslims and public perceptions of Muslims in America is provided by the 2009 Pew Research Center’s annual religion and public life survey, which shows that 38% of respondents think Islam encourages violence more than other faiths — but that those people who actually know a Muslim are less likely to believe that is true. These statistics support the sense that US perceptions of Islam and Muslims are influenced largely by media images of conflict and violence. Situated between the representations of Muslims in the media and the academic approaches of Islamic Studies scholars, Muslim Subjects considers the impact of contemporary forms of Muslim cultural and political expression as central to developing a richer understanding of the varied character of Islam.
The objective of Muslim Subjects is therefore to present a more complex picture of Muslims and to encourage more nuanced portrayals of Muslims in the public sphere. The project sees to bring into circulation a growing area of exciting cultural and political knowledge that has in many respects remained underground, underappreciated and unknown. To this end, Muslim Subjects builds on the success of Michigan State University’s Journal/Islam: Islam, Muslims and Journalism Education (formerly IMAJE) project launched in 2010 with special emphasis on the representations of Islam and Muslims by journalists, as well as the Migrations of Islam (2011-2012), which focused on Muslim American self-representation, especially in the area of popular culture.
Muslim Subjects has received support from the following MSU academic units and programs: the Asian Studies Center, the Center for African Studies, the Center for the Advanced Study of International Development and Women and International Development, the College of Arts and Letters, the College of Communications Arts and Sciences, and the School of Journalism. Muslim Subjects would not have been possible without funding from the Social Science Research Council in 2009-2010 and 2011-2012.
Please click the link to see a list of our website Contributors.