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Martha G. Newman, Chair BUR 529, Mailcode A3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-7737

"Framing/Reframing: The Five 'Media Pillars' of Islam"

Wed, April 4, 2012 • 6:00 PM • AVAYA Auditorium (ACE 2.302)

A public lecture by Munir Jiwa (Graduate Theological Union)

Munir Jiwa, founding director of the Center for Islamic Studies and Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union, examines the ways in which Islam and Muslims have been incorporated into the American public sphere. Nothing serves as a more unifying (and often divisive) force for the secular/liberal left and the Christian right than attitudes toward Islam and Muslims. These attitudes are framed by what Dr. Jiwa refers to as the five “media pillars” of Islam:

  1. the events of 9/11 as the predominant temporal lens through which to understand Islamic history and theology;
  2. violence and terrorism;
  3. the obsession with Muslim women and veiling;
  4. Islam and the West and questions of compatibility and values, including new debates on shar’ia;
  5. and finally the Middle East as the geographical and spatial zone through which to understand Islam and Muslims, with a focus on politics.

So all-encompassing are these "five media pillars" that any attempt to frame discussion and analysis outside of them runs the risk of being unrecognizable or apologetic. By what stretch of the American imagination and under what conditions and limits can we reframe and expand our recognition of Islam and Muslim life?

Munir Jiwa is the founding director of the Center for Islamic Studies and Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union and a visiting scholar with the Religious Norms Project at UC Berkeley. He holds a Ph.D. and M.Phil. in Anthropology from Columbia University and a Masters in World Religions from Harvard Divinity School. His research interests include Islam and Muslims in the West, media, aesthetics, secularism and religious identity. Since 1995 he has worked with Religions for Peace on interfaith programs in Bosnia, Japan, the Middle East, and West Africa. He also worked with the Ford Foundation-funded “Muslims in NYC Project” at Columbia University from 1998-2004.

Sponsored by: This lecture is sponsored by the program in Islamic Studies, with support from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the South Asia Institute, and the Department of Religious Studies.


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