Edward E. Curtis, IV

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    Integrating Islam and Muslims into the U.S. History Survey
    (Oxford University Press, 2008) Curtis, Edward E., IV
    By some estimates, there are only two to three million Muslims in the United States, and yet their vulnerability to state surveillance and mob violence, their symbolic importance to the so-called clash of civilizations between Islam and America—and their remarkable stories and lives—demand coverage in the U.S. history survey. Though no one lesson plan can cover an entire religious group, this teaching strategy suggests how instructors can build on students' own experiences and knowledge of key events and themes in the history of ethnic and religious groups and U.S. foreign policy to integrate Islam and Muslims into the survey. Many scholars of Islamic studies and history believe that, due to overwhelmingly negative news coverage associated with Islam and Muslims, teachers need to begin any lesson on Islam and Muslims with some discussion of the stereotypes and cultural baggage that color most American discourse on the subject. This teaching strategy goes a step further, asking students to think comparatively about the stereotyping of religious and ethnic minorities in U.S. history and to locate some of the historical roots of stereotypes about Islam and Muslims in the twentieth century. It concludes with suggestions and resources geared toward introducing students to the diversity of Islam and Muslims in the contemporary United States.
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    Why Muslims Matter to American Religious History, 1730 - 1945
    (Cambridge University Press, 2000) Curtis, Edward E., IV
    Long before the American Revolution, Muslims were a vital presence in the thirteen colonies and throughout the Americas. Though Muslim explorers from North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula may have been among the first Mediterranean peoples to arrive in the Americas, it was slaves from sub-Saharan Africa who composed the first significant population of Muslim Americans. No sidebar to United States history, Muslims at home and abroad became a vital symbolic force in national debates over slavery, the defining of American political identity, the shaping of evangelical Christianity, and the emergence of American consumer culture. As a religious and for the most part racial minority, Muslim Americans in nineteenth- and twentieth-century history helped to define the center of cultural and political power in the United States. The history of Muslim Americans also illuminates the simultaneous local, national, and global nature of American religious history from the colonial age to the early twentieth century. Shaped by voluntary and coerced travel and resettlement, most Muslims lived both as Americans and as persons whose identities crossed national and regional boundaries. In addition to Muslim slaves from Africa, Muslim practitioners in the United States in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries included immigrants who came largely from the Balkans and the Middle East, but also from Eastern Europe and South Asia. These were the first Muslims to establish mutual aid societies and other formal Muslim American associations.
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    Peril and Possibility: Muslim Life in the United States
    (Bloomsbury Academic, 2004) Curtis, Edward E., IV
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    Islamizing the Black Body: Ritual and Power in Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam
    (Cambridge University Press, 2002) Curtis, Edward E., IV
    Ever since C. Eric Lincoln published The Black Muslims in America, in 1961, many observers of the Nation of Islam (NOI) have seemed convinced by his claim that the movement was neither very “religious” nor “Islamic” in nature. In that classic study, currently in its third edition, Lincoln conceded that “the Black Muslim movement constitutes a legitimate religion within the definition of the sociology of religion” but also maintained that “religious values have a secondary importance.” For Lincoln, the success of the movement stemmed not from the particular nature of its religious activities but from its ability to provide a sense of “group solidarity” to the dispossessed black working class. According to Lincoln, this sense of community was produced through the group's embrace of black nationalism, which he understood to be “first a defensive response to external forces—hostile forces that threaten their creative existence.”
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    Debating the origins of the Moorish Science Temple: Toward a new cultural history
    (Indiana University Press, 2009) Curtis, Edward E., IV
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    Islam in New York City
    (Archives Partnership Trust, 2011) Curtis, Edward E., IV
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    Islamism and Its African American Muslim Critics: Black Muslims in the Era of the Arab Cold War
    (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007) Curtis, Edward E., IV
    The development of Islam as a twentieth-century African American religious tradition and political discourse has been shaped by the interaction of black Americans with immigrants and visitors from Muslim-majority lands. After the Second World War, during the era of decolonization and the "rising tide of color," African American identifications with Muslims from overseas only increased as black Americans viewed Muslims as potential allies in the struggle against European neocolonialism and white supremacy. But little is known about the actual contact between African American Muslims and Muslims from historically Islamic lands and the impact of Middle East politics on the practice of Islam among African Americans. This essay begins to fill that void by uncovering African American Muslim reactions to Islamism, the twentieth-century transnational ideology that sees Islam as both a political system and a religion. It analyzes the contact, exchange, and competition that resulted as African American Muslims participated in a global Islamist missionary culture spawned by the ideological participants of the Arab cold war. As foreign and immigrant Muslim missionaries reached out to African American Muslims in the 1960s, they claimed the authority to interpret what constituted legitimate Islamic practice, encouraged African American Muslims to join their missionary organizations, and in some cases, challenged the Islamic authenticity of indigenous African American Muslim groups and leaders. This essay examines the differing responses to such missionary activity, showing how Shaikh Daoud Ahmed Faisal, the founder of the State Street Mosque in Brooklyn, New York, aligned his community of believers with Islamist ideologies; how Malcolm X became the student and ally of these new foreign and immigrant missionaries, though he resisted their politicized interpretation of Islam; and finally, how members of Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam rejected the missionaries' claims to ultimate religious authority and instead defended Elijah Muhammad's prophetic voice. The essay also explores the shared repercussions of these exchanges. As a result of the increased contact with Islamic missionaries and Muslim immigrants, African American Muslims altered their religious practices and political identities, increasingly read and studied canonical Islamic texts, and created new visual art and poetry signaling their identification with the rest of the Muslim world and the heritage of Islam.
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    (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2010) Curtis, Edward E., IV
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    The Islamophobic History of the United States
    (Equinox Publishing Ltd., 2011) Curtis, Edward E., IV
    This article offers an history survey of Islamophobic attitudes in the United States. It locates the roots of Islamophobia in colonial views of the Muslim Anti-Christ, early republican fears of the Barbary pirates and Oriental despotism, antebellum fascination with Muslim American slaves, and nineteenth-century fantasies of the Turkish harem. The article also explains how the functions and meanings of Islamophobia have changed during the Cold War and post-Cold War eras, emphasizing the clash of interests that developed between Muslim political groups abroad and U.S. foriegn policy after 9/11.
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    The Ghawarna of Jordan: Race and Religion in the Jordan Valley
    (Taylor & Francis, 2011) Curtis, Edward E., IV
    While research on the lives of African-descended Muslims in the Middle East has expanded dramatically in the past two decades, no study documents the religious practices of the African-descended Muslims in the Jordan Valley. This initial inquiry into the role of race and religion in the lives of the Jordanian Ghawarna, or the people of the Jordan Valley, explores the complicated meanings and functions of blackness and Islam among both men and women in a contemporary Middle Eastern setting. It reviews various theories about the origins of those Ghawarna who are of African descent, charts the effects of racism on their lives, and outlines the ways in which Ghawarna, African-descended and not, celebrate Ramadan, conduct wedding parties, and ward off the evil eye. The findings, based on the original interviews conducted largely with residents in the towns of Ghor al-Mazra‘a and Ghor as-Safi, suggest the usefulness of further inquiry into both rural Islamic practice and racialization in Jordan.