Course Details

SOAN 263: Terrorism

In recent years, Muslim communities in Western countries have come to be seen as national security threats. In tandem, efforts to stem the flow of Muslim migrants into the U.S. and Europe, under the logic of combating terrorism, has shaped world events, from Trump’s election to Brexit. Through a reading of works in political ethnography and the anthropology of religion, this course will examine the presuppositions that inform discourses on Muslim migration as a threat, as well as the “countering violent extremism” (CVE) programs directed at Muslim communities here in the U.S. We will look at the assumption of an affinity between religion, particularly Islam, and violence that undergird CVE programs; the tensions such programs expose between a liberal secular democracy’s commitment to religious freedom and its aspiration to govern and reform religious traditions; and the culture of surveillance and the marginalization of Muslim communities these programs spawn. Prerequisite: Previous courses in anthropology or religion would offer helpful background, but are not required.
6 credits; SI, WR2, IDS; Not offered 2021-2022