See Our Academic Organization’s 40th Conference

40th Conference 2011


"Looking Beyond 9/11: Islam in the West and Democratic
Trends in the Middle East and North Africa"

The 40th Annual Conference of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists of North America (AMSS)

Cosponsored By:
The Department of Sociology &
CUNY Dispute Resolution Consortium
at John Jay College, New York, NY
Institute of Global Cultural Studies (IGCS)
Binghamton University, NY
September 23, 2011

Abstracts: June 25, 2011
Papers: September 9, 2011

In the context of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and the emergence of pro-democracy movements in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), this conference invites scholars to offer fresh perspectives on the interface of Western experiences of Islam and related issues of Islamophobia and normalization, as well as the new broader questions raised by the democratic trends that are re-shaping the MENA region. We are interested in papers that analyze the evolving character of Islamic movements, examine the tensions experienced by Muslims living in the West ten years after 9/11, and revisit the relationship between Islam as a religion and human rights and democracy.

To this end, papers are solicited from Muslim and Non-Muslim scholars that address any of the following sub-themes:

  • Is the Arab Awakening of 2011 the Beginning of the Muslim Renaissance?
  • Tunisia and Egypt: The Sparks which Ignited a Revolution?
  • 9/11: A Tumultuous Decade Between Civilizations
  • The 9/11 Generation: Muslim Youth in a Global Context
  • Muslim Women and the Democratic Revolutions in the Middle East & North Africa
  • New Social Media and Social Movements in the MENA Region
  • Global Militarism, Islamophobia & Terrorist Violence: Unpacking the Interlocking Dynamics
  • Western Involvement in Libya: Oil Politics or Humanitarianism
  • North American Islam and its Cultural Manifestations
  • Shari’ah in the West: A problem?
  • The Politics of Securitization, Surveillance and Governmentality
  • Role of Islamist Parties in the Democratization Process in the MENA Region
  • Islam, Democracy & Human Rights: Non-Violent Paths to Democratization in the Muslim World

Abstracts (250 words) are due by June 25, 2011. Abstracts will be evaluated according to the following categories: originality of theme, clarity of methodology, and relevance of the proposal to the conference theme. Accepted proposals will be announced by July 1, 2011. Final papers must be submitted by September 9, 2011 to be included in the conference program.

Program Co-Chairs:
Maria Volpe (CUNY at John Jay College, New York, NY) and
Mucahit Bilici (CUNY at John Jay College, New York, NY)

Send abstracts and papers to Conference Coordinator Ms. Layla Sein at
For more details about AMSS and conference updates, visit

North American Association of Islamic and Muslim studies.

Conference Program

The 40thAMSS Annual Conference

 “Looking Beyond 9/11: Islam in the West and
Democratic Trends in the Middle East and North Africa”

Cosponsored By:
Department of Sociology &
Dispute Resolution Consortium
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Institute of Global Cultural Studies
Binghamton University, NY
Friday, September 23, 2011

8:30 - 9:00 a.m.          Registration 
9:00 - 9:30 a.m.          Welcoming and Introductory Remarks
                                      [899 Tenth Avenue (Room 630) - Between 58th& 59th Streets]

Jane P. Bowers, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
(Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs)

Ali A. Mazrui, Institute of Global Cultural Studies, Binghamton University, NY
(AMSS President)

9:30 - 11:00 a.m.                     Panel 1                        (899 Tenth Ave – Room 630)
The Arab Spring: Paths to Democracy in the Middle East and North Africa
Chair: Maria Volpe, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Discussant: Ricardo René Larémont, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY

Khalid Madhi (University of Illinois at Chicago, IL): “Morocco’s Islamism(s) and the Arab Awakening: Opportunities and Limitations”   Abstract  / Bio  
Umar A. Oseni (Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA): “Toward a Sustainable Peace in the MENA Region: Exploring Conflict Management Techniques in Islam”  Abstract  / Bio

Mohamed Nimer (American University, Washington, DC): “The Prospect of People Power Democracy in the Arab World”   
Abstract  / Final Paper  / Bio

11:00 - 11:15 a.m.                     Break

11:15 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.            Panel 2                       (899 Tenth Ave – Room 630)
Moving Beyond Global Terror
Chair: Avram Bornstein, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Discussant: Imad ad-Dean Ahmad, Minaret of Freedom Institute, Bethesda, MD

Jasmin Zine (Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, Canada): “ ‘Embedded Academics’ and the War on Terror: Race, Religion and the Securitization of Muslim Youth”   Abstract  / Bio

Khanum Shaikh (University of California, Santa Barbara, CA): “Religious Femininities, National Sovereignty and the Global War on Terror: Pakistan’s Lal Masjid Movement”   Abstract  / Bio

Itai Sneh (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY): “East-West Redemption is not beyond Us: The Rise of Islam Wounded French Communities”  Abstract  / Final Paper  / Bio

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.                                                               Luncheon Keynote Address
[John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
455 W. 59th St. - Multi-Purpose Room 2200]

                                                                                Announcement of Newly Elected Board

Ismail Raji al-Faruqi Memorial Lecture:

                                                                                            Keynote Speaker:  
Ali A. Mazrui, Binghamton University, NY

                                                                                                Keynote Address:
“From the Tragedy of 9/11 to the Triumph of Tahrir Square”

2:00 - 2:30 p.m.                      Dhur Prayers [Jum’ah Salat]

2:45 - 4:15 p.m.                       Panel 3                       (899 Tenth Ave – Room 630)
Muslim Women: New Realities
Chair: Yuksel Sezgin, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Discussant: Staci Strobl, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY

Shabana Mir (Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK): “Peer Culture as Campus Policy: American Muslim Women Students’ Identity Navigation”  Abstract  / Bio
Fauzia Erfan Ahmed (Miami University of Ohio, Oxford, OH): “Empire, Subalternity, and Ijtihad: Two Muslim Women’s Leadership Models in Post 9/11 America”  Abstract  / Bio
Celene Ayat Lizzio (Harvard University, Cambridge, MA): “Horizons of Islamic Feminist Discourses within the Academy”   
Abstract  / Bio

4:15 - 4:30 p.m.                      Break & Asr Salat

4:30 - 600 p.m.                       Panel 4                       (899 Tenth Ave – Room 630)
Islamophobia Post 9/11
Chair: Greg (Fritz) Umbach, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Discussant: Mucahit Bilici, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY

Saeed A. Khan (Wayne State University, Detroit, MI): “Shari’ah and Moral Panic in the United States: A Fear beyond the American Muslim Community”  Abstract  / Bio 

Katherine Merriman (Harvard University, Cambridge, MA): “Beyond Park 51: Mosques and Muslim Communities in New York City Post 9/11”   Abstract  / Bio
Hilal Elver (University of California, Santa Barbara, CA): “Islamophobia in the West: A Comparative Legal Analysis in North America and Europe”   Abstract  / Bio

6:00 - 6:15 p.m.                      Concluding Remarks

6:15 - 7:30 p.m.                     Social Hour   (899 Tenth Ave – Room 630)
Annual Grand Meeting – Open to Public

North American Association of Islamic and Muslim studies.

Conference Report

"Looking Beyond 9/11: Islam in the West and Democratic
Trends in the Middle East and North Africa"

The 40th Annual AMSS Conference, held at John Jay College at CUNY in New York City, marked a decade since 9/11 by reviewing the past ten years of the Muslim narrative, with particular focus on the past year and the considerable social and political changes in the Middle East and North Africa. Welcomed by John Jay College Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Jane Bowers and by outgoing AMSS President Dr. Ali Mazrui, the conference’s one-day format ensured an intensive, stimulating session that captured the energy of the participants and attendees that filled the symposium. While a four panel conference featuring only twelve presenters may appear small in comparison to some academic meetings, AMSS yet again proved that quality eclipsed quantity in offering a diverse, yet deep analysis of contemporary issues ranging from the Arab Spring to domestic discourses highlighting and targeting Muslims.

A panel entitled, The Arab Spring: Paths to Democracy in the Middle East and North Africa, opened the day’s proceedings by assessing the very fluid and evolving situation in the heart of the Arab world. Khalid Madhi (University of Illinois- Chicago) focused on how the transformative movements in Tunisia and Egypt would be felt in Morocco by offering a study of the country’s Islamist efforts. Umar Oseni (Harvard Law School) shifted the discussion from the country specific to a more regional abstraction when he argued for a model for conflict management that is inherent within Islam itself. Finally, Mohamed Nimer (American University) forecast the potential for the Arab Spring to gain both currency and sustainability beyond the current areas of change to become a populist, democratic wave across the region.

Over the past decade, public discourse concerning Muslims and Islam has been dominated by the issue of security, often reducing the Muslim community to little more than a caricature of being a threat to society. The second morning panel, Moving Beyond Global Terror, explored the effects of this phenomenon as well as efforts to change the paradigm. Jasmine Zine (Wilfred Laurier University) discussed the role of academics in perpetuating, inadvertently or intentionally, the trope of Muslim youth being a security issue. Beyond the obvious impact on creating generalizations and stereotypes for the public, another danger was the internalization of these representations by the youth themselves. Khanum Shaikh (University of California, Santa Barbara) examined the intersection of gender, sovereignty and the purported global war on terror as it relates to the Lal Masjid Movement in Pakistan.

Continuing in the AMSS tradition of a sterling luncheon keynote address, Dr. Ali Mazrui delivered the Ismail Raji al-Faruqi Memorial Lecture, From the Tragedy of 9/11 to the Triumph of Tahrir Square. Dr. Mazrui expounded upon the changes to the Muslim world that have occurred in a span of ten years, with these two events constituting and reconstituting the ever-changing narrative of Muslims and Islam. Rich in texture and history, Dr. Mazrui’s remarks located the contemporary within a broader chronological context, giving due to attention to forces both within and outside the Muslim world that have played significant roles in shaping this period.

Gender continues to be a critical lens through which the Muslim experience has been examined in the post 9/11 era. The afternoon sessions began with an examination of New Women, New Realities. Shabana Mir (Oklahoma State University) explored identity construction of Muslim American women on college campuses and the manner by which they negotiate both intrafaith and interfaith spaces. With a focus on the role of Muslim women in leadership capacities, Fauzia Erfan Ahmed (Miami University of Ohio) discussed how two such individuals typified the struggles between hegemony and subalternality. Lastly, Celene Aayat Lizzio (Harvard University) presented on how Islamic feminist discourses are discussed and debated from an academic perspective and on campus generally.

The post 9/11 era has created new challenges for Muslims, with a rise of anti-Muslim sentiment assuming various forms. On the panel, Islamophobia after 9/11, Saeed Khan (Wayne State University) placed current efforts to impugn Shar’iah law at the state and national levels within a boarder discourse on moral panic in the United States. Katherine Merriman (Harvard University) explored the impact of 9/11 on Muslim communities in New York City, especially with regard to the controversy surrounding the Park 51 project. Finally, Hilal Elver (University of California, Santa Barbara) provided a comparative survey of Islamophobia in North America and Europe through legal and judicial modalities.

Once again, AMSS maintained its reputation of hosting a conference that brought together scholars and students who shared perspectives and insight on cutting edge topics. Continuing with the expected climate of congeniality and informality, the interactive nature of the 40th Annual Conference left attendees and audience members alike with a heightened awareness and knowledge about pertinent issues. As always, along with the presenters, AMSS staff, the Conference Co-Chairs, panel chairs, discussants and John Jay College worked tirelessly to create yet another excellent symposium, demonstrating that the AMSS Annual Conference is a highly anticipated date on the calendar of many scholars.

Saeed A. Khan
Ph.D Candidate, Wayne State University, MI