Gender and Sexuality in Islam
Ithaca College, Spring 2017
Using theological, historical, and anthropological perspectives students will explore how gender and sexuality has been constructed, negotiated, challenged and policed by Muslims primarily through interactions with religious texts. Additionally, this course will explore how increased contact with non-Muslims, as well as other types of Islams via colonialism, war, and globalization has produced new conversations around gender and sexuality among Muslims. Using an intersectional approach, the course will also explore how race and ethnicity intersects with Islam in multiple ways, challenging the notion that there is one “proper” way to be a Muslim. Topics covered in this course include same-sex marriage, Islamic feminism, and trans* rights in Islam.
Course Twitter: https://twitter.com/RLST27502
Black Lives Matter: Religion and Justice
Ithaca College, Fall 2016
Whereas history has attributed the success of the Civil Rights Movement to heterosexual Black men grounded in the Black Church, the Movement for Black Lives is led by “unchurched” queer and trans Black women who reject the claim that tackling sexism should be a secondary issue for activists. Radically inclusive, these activists trace their lineage back to Assata Shakur, Ella Baker, and Ida B. Wells rather than Martin Luther King and even Malcolm X. Black women in the Movement for Black Lives are focused on recovering the forgotten history of earlier Black women activists and centering women, girls, and femmes in conversations on state violence.
This push has shifted conversations about the role religion will play in this new movement. Focusing on Christians, Muslims, and “religious nones” (atheists, agnostics, and unaffiliated people), this course will explore how people in the Movement for Black Lives have used religion in their activism, and how the movement has, in turn, also shaped religion.
Religion and Social Life: Race, Religion, and Rap
University of Iowa, Spring 2015
This course explores how race and religion intersect with the production and distribution of rap music in the United States and abroad. The goal of the course is to provide students with basic knowledge of a number of religions and to provide them with the tools to help them investigate how the boundaries of the religious and secular spheres are blurred and contested through the use of music. This course is broken into three interconnected themes: devotion, identity formation and articulation, and resistance.
Using an interdisciplinary approach, we will answer the following questions together over the course of the semester. What is the difference between hip hop and rap? Is hip hop dead? Is rap music a distinctively Black art form or a global phenomenon? Can you be a “good” Christian or Muslim while rapping about sex and drugs?
Subgenres explored include gospel gangsta rap, Native American conscious rap, and hip hop soul. Artists discussed include Lupe Fiasco, Tupac, Kanye West, the Beastie Boys, KRS-One, Rakim, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Immortal Technique, Supaman, and Matisyahu.
Course Blog: https://racereligionandrap.wordpress.com/
Course Twitter: https://twitter.com/racerlgnandrap
Religion in America Today
University of Iowa, Spring 2014 and Fall 2014