In his new book, Islamophobia and Racism in America (New York University Press, 2017), Sociologist Erik Love provides a historical and current snapshot of...

In his new book, Islamophobia and Racism in America (New York University Press, 2017), Sociologist Erik Love provides a historical and current snapshot of civil rights issues surrounding people from the “middle east” in America. Much like other racial and ethnic categorizations, Middle Eastern is a term that does not fit quite right and is also so broad it is vague, but the concept is used widely in the mainstream media and literature and so Love uses it here to help the reader connect to current events and the language used to talk about this particular demographic group. Love starts off by providing the reader with a clear understanding of the social construction of race and how we see and do not see race as tied to Islamophobia.

Relying on sociological concepts and theory, Love uses historical information and examples from other racial groups to shine a light on the civil rights issues for people from the middle east in America, as well as those who are categorized as Middle Eastern even when they are not. The discussion in chapter three would be an excellent excerpt to use in any Sociology classroom to learn and talk more about the social construction of race. In his interview with advocates, Love learns about the strategies and history of these organizations and speaks about the struggles and successes they have had. Through the voices of the advocates, we learn more about the links between other civil rights issues and Islamophobia. This book is clearly written and provides the reader with a solid Sociological understanding of the issues surrounding race and Islamophobia in America. This book will be enjoyed by Sociologists broadly, but especially those studying Race, Ethnicity, or Religion, as well as Civil Rights advocates. This book would be well suited for a sociology of race or religion graduate course, especially at the beginning of the semester because it does a through and clear job of defining concepts and uses clear language to connect ideas.


Sarah Patterson is a Family Demographer and is ABD at Penn State. You can tweet her at @spattersearch.

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