Islamic Studies classrooms have grown significantly over several generations. While once we could only find courses on the tradition in the most prestigious of institutions now Islam classes are taught at small liberal arts colleges, state schools, private universities, and even programs in Islamic theology and law. Teaching Islamic Studies in the Age of ISIS, Islamophobia and the Internet
(Indiana University Press, 2019), edited by Courtney M. Dorroll
, Assistant Professor at Wofford College, covers approaches, strategies, and topics important for the study of Islam today. Across several chapters we are introduced to various common dispositions students enter are classes with and how to address them. Many of these opinions are informed by popular stereotypes about Muslims and get reinforced by contemporary events. These moments often require immediate attention in the classroom, a burden most other subjects do not share, and unfortunately much of teaching about Islam is motivated by unlearning these biases. Throughout our conversation we explore how to achieve a simple course objective, that “Muslims Are People; Islam Is Complicated.” We discussed collaboration between junior and senior teachers, previous scholarship of teaching and learning in Islamic Studies, cross-cultural virtual exchange, Islamic religious education in European institutions, issues of Islamophobia and violence, questions of patriarchy and gender, remote teaching and online courses in the age of Coronavirus, and self-care as learning outcome.
Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.