Countering Epistemologies of Islamophobia: Critical Feminist Pedagogies

Sherine Hafez
Gender and Sexuality Studies
UC Riverside

Catherine Sameh
Gender and Sexuality Studies
UC Irvine

As scholar-activists working on issues of gender and Islam, we are concerned with the widespread dehumanization, displacement, extermination, and internment of Muslims in many corners of the globe. As war and occupation dispossess millions of their sovereignty, when acts of terrorism are enacted in the name of Islam, and as Islamophobic responses to such acts secure the logics of permanent war, the need for a deeply nuanced and intersectional feminist analysis of these pressing issues has never been greater. While there are robust critiques of such phenomena, they often fall short of addressing their complexity and offering long-term and systemic solutions. As scholar-activists who examine and work in particular movements, ideas, and political formations within Muslim communities, we know that challenges to Islamophobia must grapple with the complex and intersecting reasons that Islam and Muslims become scapegoats—readily targeted for actual social, political, and economic ills, including terrorism, economic insecurity, and widespread anxiety and malaise about the future.