UCB2 - Islamophobia and Constructing Otherness
22 May 2017 – 30 June 2017
Hosted by University of California, Berkeley
This course will examine and attempt to understand Islamophobia, as the most recently articulated principle of otherness in America, Europe and its policy implications domestically and globally.
A common thread in Brexit vote, Trump’s recent election and the anti-immigrant/anti-refugee wave in the U.S. and Europe is the utilization of Islamophobia and demonization of Muslims as a group. Recent studies show that Islamophobia spikes and is directly related to election cycles and campaigns rather than the often utilized frame of response to act of terror. Thus, Islamophobia is increasingly utilized as a wedge issue and is monetized for votes at the ballot box in an increasingly polarized political landscape. The course will examine and attempt to understand Islamophobia, as the most recently articulated principle of otherness in America, Europe and its policy implications domestically and globally.
To locate Muslim otherness as a normative construction within American and European history and not a unique development once compared to earlier manifestations of racism directed at racial, ethnic or religious communities. The course will closely examine the ideological and epistemological frameworks employed in discourses of otherness, and the complex social, political, economic, gender-based, and religious forces entangled in its historical and modern reproduction. More broadly, the course will focus on the process of “Othering” Islam and Muslims, in a comparative manner, in the U.S. and European context, and viewing this process as the reproduction of historically globalized racial and gender matrixes. Finally, the course will examine the ideological and epistemological structures that operate in shaping Islamophobic discourse and the far-reaching consequences of this unfolding process on communities of color in the US and Europe.
The term “Islamophobia” was first articulated as a concept in a 1991 Runnymede Trust Report and defined generally as “unfounded hostility towards Muslims, and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims.” The concept was born and coined in the context of the condition of Muslims in the United Kingdom and formulated based on the more common “xenophobia.” Admittedly, the term has its initial framework in the European context; however, the post-9/11 circumstances have provided the atmosphere for its emergence, as a globalized and more inclusive phenomena affecting Muslim communities all over the world.
Islamophobia, as a structural organizing principle, presently sits at the crossroads of the rationale employed to extend the dominant global power configuration and the project of silencing the collective global other. Islamophobia can indeed be simply defined as “fear,” “anxiety,” or “phobia” of Muslims, but at it also has a far more encompassing connotation that affects global law, economy, and society. At one level its “ideologues” attempt to classify who belongs to the “civilized world” and who is the demonized and ostracized global other, but, at a more profound level, it serves as rationalization for the existing domestic and global power hierarchies and militarism. Islamophobia constructs a singular and homogenous undifferentiated image of Muslim men and women, one that presents them as religious fanatics, violent, and antithetical to civilization itself.
In today’s world, Islam and Muslims are the feared “other,” and the threat they pose is already connected to every local, regional, and global process. “Othering” Islam and Muslims is already underway with devastating consequences and has resulted in a virtual state of siege, not only in the affected communities, but also in academic circles where the subject has yet to receive comprehensive treatment. Islamophobia, as the present structural organizing principle of the Eurocentric world, is employed by the power elite in a manner to extend and maintain the patterns of racial, gender, colonial, ethnic, and religious discrimination.
Visit with the Berkeley Mosque community, discussion and visit at Zaytuna College (both are walking distance from the campus at no cost).
Target Audience/ Prerequisites
Delivery Method & Learning Outcomes
This course provides the students with an academic framework to explore new approaches in the study of the current period, and an understanding of the organizing process that gave birth to Islamophobia and its interconnectedness to existing and historical otherness in the area of race, gender, and “post-colonial” studies. The students will explore and pose a number of questions to serve as a springboard for further collaborative and multidisciplinary approaches to the study of Islamophobia and discourses of otherness.
Provide the students with the tools to examine recent election outcomes in the U.S. and Europe within a broader framework that centers the Muslim subject and monetizing fear. Students will be able to examine different election periods that utilized similar approaches and the far reaching consequences of it.
Provide the students with reading materials that can help identify and locate Islamophobia within a broader historical lens and guide the discussion toward critical questions related to the phenomenon: How should we approach Islamophobia, and can we think of it within the field of post-colonial studies? What is the relationship between present-day Islamophobia and well-documented race and gender discourses in the past as they impacted Native Americans, African Americans and Asian Americans? How should we compare these communities and each of the periods in America’s history?
Should Islamophobia be studied as the new manifestation of old patterns of racial and gender formations, or can we think of alternative models due to the specificity of the subject matter and the added religious dimension? Furthermore, how should we examine Islamophobia as the new otherness while, critiquing Muslim internal and external discourses?
Facilitate students research and development of projects that utilize technology, websites and cutting edge tools so as to connect the academic work to unfolding events across the globe.
15% Attendance of the lectures
15% Participating in class discussion
35% Final exam
35% Website Project
Credit equivalent at host university & contact hours
Students must register for the following courses:
- AAADS 132AC = 4 units
- AAADS 197 = 1 unit
Total: 5 units
Lecturer(s) / Tutor(s)
Hatem Bazian, Lecturer, Department of Ethnic Studies
Students will stay at International House, a program center and campus residence hall for both American and international students. The mission of the house is to promote cross-cultural experiences and leadership skills for a world of greater understanding. Students will have a double room reserved for them. The accommodations include 60 meals at the I-House’s Dining Hall (breakfast, lunch, and dinner available), all of the I-House’s social and extra-curricular activities, and internet access.
Once accepted into the program, students must apply for housing through a separate application. The UC Berkeley coordinator will provide instructions on how to do so.
Accommodation is subject to change depending on availability.
Figures are estimates only. Click on each item for details.
Tuition FeesUSD 520 per unit (5 units at 520 = 2,600 USD)
AccommodationUSD 2,460 (includes 60 meals) + USD 500 for deposit + USD 35 application fee
Accommodation figures are drawn from 2016 and subject to change.
TextbooksEstimated USD 70
USD 380 registration fee
USD 55 document fee
USD 300 international service fee
Living ExpensesUSD 600
Visa FeesEstimate USD 200
Required and/or Recommended Insurance
International students who come to UC Berkeley to take classes in Summer Sessions are required to have health insurance coverage during the entire length of enrollment. Students should purchase a health insurance policy before arrival in Berkeley. This policy should cover all medical and hospital costs or provide a minimum of:
- $50,000 (U.S.D.) for each accident or illness
- a deductible of $500 or less for each accident or illness
- at least 75% of hospital and physician costs from the time you leave your current residence to the day you plan to return.
- coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains
Students must be sure to bring a full description of the health benefits and an identification card giving the period of validity.
More information can be found here: http://www.uhs.berkeley.edu/students/insurance/internationalsummersessions.shtml.
Further Required Application Material
Once students have been accepted into the program, they will be required to register for their course through UC Berkeley’s online registration system. They can arrange to pay for the tuition and fees at that time either by credit card or bank wire. Students will register for housing after registering for courses and will make their payment directly to the housing office after registering for courses.
Depending on their citizenship, students will likely be required to obtain a US student visa. Once they have completed their online registration for courses they will be asked to upload a copy of their passport and financial statements to our website for review and they will be issued an I-20 certificate of eligibility, which they will use to apply for a US visa at a consulate in their home country. They are responsible for the SEVIS fee and any other visa application fees.