Creating a positive ‘identity’ for refugees?
In most media discourses, Refugees are constructed as pathological creatures. The entire discourse of refugees and their plight is portrayed as something of a ‘problem to be fixed.’ While it is true that most refugees are in need of desperate help and do, over a short period of time, burden the economy of any host […]
“Where are you from” and other questions
In the U.S., ‘Where are you from’ can be a loaded question. It took me a while to realize this. It could range from : a) genuine curiosity about your origins b) ignorance about who you are OR c) An arrogant assumption that you are an ‘outsider,’ even if you are more ‘native’ than the person […]
Do we need to re-think the definition of Tradition?
In International Relations, Development theory as well as cultural analysis, often one hears that ‘tradition’ ideas are evil, and must be gotten rid of, on our way to ‘modernity.’ Indeed, if one looks at the development of the West, on is way to Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries, much of the tension was […]
Religious Freedom laws in the U.S. : Freedoms used to justify discrimination?
I taught my students about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a law that is being used to pass similar laws in various states in the U.S. The most controversial case involves a similar law in Indiana. The contours of the case point to the idea that private businesses can discriminate against LGBT couples. But […]
Do Scholars have a social responsibility?
The amount of b&%* shit that I see in the ‘public domain’ on a regular basis makes me want to cry. Really.I am researching Islam in the U.S. and one can only imagine the amount of non-sense that there is, out there, along with genuine, credible scholarship. I would hazard a guess that at least […]
Top ten books I read this year
I read a lot of books this year. Like a LOT. Part of the reason is that I am preparing for my prelim exams (part of the PhD process) where you prove to your committee that you know your stuff. Additionally, I presented a few papers at a few conferences, many of them outside my […]
What a 19th century French Aristocrat can teach us about America
This is perhaps the most cited book in the world. I have seen it cited even when there is no need to do so, because the aura of quoting Tocqueville, the 19th century French aristocrat is irresistible. With his magnum opus Democracy in America, written after his visit to America in the 1830s’, Tocqueville […]
Do we really need nonprofits in America? : Five arguments for the sector’s existence
Are nonprofit organizations redundant? Can the for-profit sector solve all our problems and usher in a world where poverty, disease and deprivation are things of the past? I read an article on the Forbes website yesterday that argued for dismantling of the nonprofit sector. This piece by Mr. Freedman sought to show, using two […]