Donna Auston is a doctoral candidate, Anthropology Department at Rutgers University. She is a writer, and activist whose body of work focuses on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, media representation, and Islam in America. Her dissertation is an ethnographic exploration of Black Muslim activism and spiritual protest in the Black Lives Matter era. Some of her written work includes book chapters on the historical contributions of African American Muslims in the arts, culture, and social justice movements, and the intersection between Islamophobia and Black Lives Matter.
Donna has a forthcoming co-authored book chapter on Black Islam and U.S. Politics, and she has also published a number of short essays, including, “Mapping the Intersections of Islamophobia and #BlackLivesMatter: Unearthing Black Muslim Life and Activism in the Policing Crisis,” and “Recalled to Life: On the Meaning and Power of a Die-In." Her work has been covered by national news outlets, including NBC News, and The Huffington Post, and she was named one of the top 100 Muslim Social Justice leaders by MPower Change in 2016.
Jeanette S. Jouili is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research and teaching interests include Islam in Europe, secularism, pluralism, popular culture, moral and aesthetic practices, and gender. She is author of Pious Practice and Secular Constraints: Women in the Islamic Revival in Europe (Stanford, 2015), has published articles in various peer-reviewed journals (such as Comparative Studies in Society and History, Anthropology Quarterly, Feminist Review, and French Culture, Politics and Society,). Currently, she is working on her second book project: Islam on Stage: British Muslim Culture in the Age of Counterterrorism
Americans often view police violence and related issues of structural racism as if they were unique to the United States, when in fact these challenges are common globally. Making these global connections can help us learn something valuable about our own society – about the shared histories that give rise to distinctive forms of race relations, about transnational processes shaping race relations, law enforcement, and so on. Situating these issues in a global context can also help to defuse what are often tense debates by providing us with valuable critical distance on our own politics and society: it’s often easier to make sense of a situation about which we are relatively dispassionate than it is to make sense of one in which we are deeply invested. Notwithstanding these benefits, drawing transnational connections can itself be profoundly unsettling, forcing us to confront troubling issues such as colonialism, genocide, and white privilege. The Global Studies Center believes that there is a great opportunity to continue and enrich conversations on diversity and inclusion by situating these issues within their wider global and historical context. Doing so will provide a literal and metaphorical space for discussion of issues important to all of us and create a unique opportunity to experience diversity through consideration of multiple perspectives on a prominent – and still present – moment in recent American history. By speaking to the global context in which the events in Ferguson, MO unfolded, GSC and its partners will enable students, faculty, and staff to consider these events in new ways that may contribute to a deeper understanding of the events themselves and the broader processes of which they are apart.
Thursday, February 7 at 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.