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About Us

Arab and Muslim individuals and communities have been living in the Americas for centuries. Research and community-based activism related to Arab American and/or Muslim American issues and concerns have been in practice for decades. Yet the academic field of Arab and Muslim American studies has been virtually invisible within colleges and universities throughout the United States. The attacks of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent backlash against persons perceived to be Arab, South Asian, or Muslim, produced a heightened interest Arab and Muslim American studies. This increased interest, however, often reduces the rich and diverse experiences of Arabs and Muslims in the U.S. to the circumstances of September 11th and its aftermath. Our approach to Arab and Muslim American studies displaces the post-September-11 gaze with a focus on diverse local, national, and global events that have inspired Arab and Muslim immigration and displacement to the U.S. and shaped Arab and Muslim American engagements with racism and whiteness within different historical contexts. Our research and teaching highlight Arab and Muslim American cultural expressions, the links between race, class, gender, sexuality, and religion, and the significance of media and art to Arab and Muslim American individuals and communities. Arab and Muslim American Studies at the University of Michigan prioritizes comparative approaches that place the understanding of Arab and Muslim Americans in relation to research and activism related to the wide range of indigenous, racial, ethnic, and immigrant communities in the U.S. It also prioritizes community-based approaches that link universities with local Arab and Muslim American communities from a social-justice-based perspective.