Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
The 9/11 terrorist attacks and heavy-handed state and popular response to them stimulated increased scholarship on American Muslims. In the social sciences, this work has focused mainly on Arabs and South Asians, and more recently on African Americans. The majority of this scholarship has not engaged race theory in a comprehensive or intersectional manner. The authors provide an overview of the work on Muslims over the past 15 years and argue that the Muslim experience needs to be situated within race scholarship. The authors further show that September 11 did not create racialized Muslims, Arabs, or South Asians. Rather, the authors highlight a preexisting, racializing war on terror and a more complex history of these groups with race both globally and domestically. Islamophobia is a popular term used to talk about Muslim encounters with discrimination, but the concept lacks a clear understanding of race and structural racism. Newer frameworks have emerged situating Muslim experiences within race scholarship. The authors conclude with a call to scholars to embark on studies that fill major gaps in this emerging field of study—such as intersectional approaches that incorporate gender, communities of belonging, black Muslim experiences, class, and sexuality—and to remain conscious of the global dimensions of this racial project.