2008 Annual Lecture Series

History and Identity among American Muslims

Dr. Ghanea Bassiri

September 18, 2008

Dr. Ghanea Bassiri is an Associate Professor of Religion and Humanities at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.  His lecture, “History and Identity among American Muslims,” was held on September 18, 2008, 4:30 p.m. at SFU's Burnaby Campus in AQ 3149.  


During the past two decades Muslims of North America have come under increased scrutiny by academics, intelligence officers, policy makers, and the general public.  Much of this attention has focused on questions of assimilation and identity formation.  How well do Muslims fare at being both Muslim and American?  What type of Islam is appropriate for the American context and what type is dangerous?  This lecture explores the construction of an American Muslim identity in the United States and juxtaposes it with the history of American Muslim community and institution building in order to provide new insights for understanding the presence of Muslims in the United States.

North American Sikhs in Global Perspective

Dr. Verne Dusenbery

October 16, 2008, 7:00PM
Fletcher Challenge Theatre, Rm 1900
Simon Fraser University - Vancouver Campus
515 W Hastings Street

Dr. Verne Dusenbery is Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the Global Studies Programme at Hamline University.  A specialist on deterritorialized cultures generally and overseas Sikh communities specifically, his most recent book is Sikhs at Large: Religion, Culture, and Politics in Global Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2008).


Sikhs in Canada and the United States (together with those in the UK) form the demographic core of the "Sikh diaspora", historically exerting considerable political, economic, and cultural influence both within the global Sikh Panth (collectivity) and upon their ancestral homeland and their countries of residence. 

This talk will address the global forces that have brought Sikhs and Sikhism to North America, suggesting some of the similarities and differences in how Sikh identities have developed in Canada and the United States and how Sikhs in North America are affecting others globally.

Click here to download the event poster.


Arab Identity in North America Post 9/11

Dr. Yvonne Haddad

November 6, 2008, 7:00PM
Simon Fraser University
Segal Graduate School of Business
500 Granville Street, Vancouver

Dr. Yvonne Haddad is Professor at the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre at Georgetown University. An internationally renowned scholar, she is the author, editor, or co-editor of over twenty books on the topic of Arab and Muslim minorities in the West. Her most recent book is Not Quite American? The Shaping of Arab and Muslim Identity in the United States (Baylor University Press, 2004).

Reception hosted by World Lebanese Cultural Union, BC Council


The attacks of 9/11 have impacted North American youth of Middle Eastern origin who have come of age in the context of unbridled Islamophobia. The paper will provide a comparative overview of identity formation of earlier generations of immigrants and their children during periods of West-Middle East conflict with special reference to WWI, WWII and the Arab Israeli War of 1967.

Click here to download the event poster.