Reading Muslims through the Culture Wars

A public lecture by Zareena Grewal




Zoom registration:


  • Reading Muslims through the Culture Wars

    A public lecture by Zareena Grewal

The Quran is one of the most iconic objects in American debates about racial and religious tolerance. Is the Quran a “good book”? Is it like the Bible and other scriptures? Or is its message more violent, more misogynistic, more intolerant? Or is the danger in the power readers ascribe to the book? Tracking the Quran’s social life as an American culture-object, anthropologist Zareena Grewal provides a window into today’s culture wars and the racialization of Islam.  

Zareena A. Grewal is an Associate Professor of American Studies, Religious Studies, Anthropology, and Ethnicity, Race, and Migration at Yale University. Her first book, Islam is a Foreign Country: American Muslims and the Global Crisis of Authority (NYU 2013), is a historical ethnography of transnational Muslim intellectual networks that link U.S. mosques to Islamic movements in post-colonial Middle East through debates about the reform of Islam, based on fieldwork in Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. She is currently working on a social life of the Quran as a racialized text-object at the center of the culture wars in the U.S. Her writing also appears in the Washington Post, The New York Times, and other such venues. She is also a documentary filmmaker with films including By the Dawn’s Early Light: Chris Jackson’s Journey to Islam and the forthcoming Muslims in America.

Grewal’s lecture will be followed by a Q&A with Tazeen Ali, Assistant Professor of Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. There will also be time for questions from the audience.

The John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics is supportive of the Washington University in St. Louis COVID-19 policies and will continue to provide live-streamed events this semester using Zoom.We very much miss seeing you in person and hope you are doing well in these uncertain times. Until we can greet you in person, we encourage you to stay connected by joining us for these virtual events, following us on Facebook and Twitter, and reading new weekly content from our online journal Religion & Politics


  • Zareena Grewal

  • Tazeen M. Ali

    Assistant Professor of Religion and Politics