Photo of gold crescent on top of mosque with words Islam in the Global Sphere
This seminar explores the international Muslim experience and how “Islam” as a concept is being imagined, constructed, and deployed in the global public sphere.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

asma afsaruddin photoAsma Afsaruddin; Near Eastern Languages & Cultures; School of Global and International Studies; Bloomington;



photo abdulkader sinnoAbdulkader Sinno; Political Science and Near Eastern Languages & Cultures; College of Arts and Sciences; Bloomington;




Seminar Events:



Peter Mandaville

International Affairs, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University


The Ambivalence of Islam in US Foreign Policy

Thursday, October 18th, 5-7 PM

Bloomington campus, Indiana Memorial Union, Persimmon Room

Reflecting on his three years working at the State Department during the Obama administration, Professor Mandaville will discuss the complex and at times contradictory approaches to Islam and Muslims that have characterized recent U.S. administrations. He will explore the legacy of Obama’s famed 2009 Cairo speech, US policy towards Islamist parties during the Arab Uprisings and their aftermath, as well as efforts to address the rise of ISIS. He will also assess how the Trump administration has approached these same issues. Arguing that Republican and Democratic administrations alike have followed a policy of “Muslim exceptionalism,” he will highlight some of the challenges associated with governments engaging world religion as an object of diplomacy.



Opportunities for Careers in the State Department with an Arabic Studies Background

Friday October 19th 12:00-1:30 PM

Bloomington campus, GISB building, Room 2134

Roundtable discussion with Professor Mandaville and Arabic Flagship students.  All interested in Arabic studies welcome!


Nathan Brownphoto of nathan brown

Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University


The Sructure of the Egyptian and Saudi Religious Establishments: Historical Divergence; Future Convergence

Thursday September 6th 12-1:30 PM

Bloomington Campus, GISB building, Room 2067



Is there a Future for Islamist Parties in the Arab World?

Thursday September 6th 5:30-7 PM

Bloomington Campus, GISB Building, Room 1106



Debating Jihad: Mainstream and Extremist Perspectives on the Ethics of War in the Contemporary Muslim World

Asma Afsaruddin

Department of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures, Religious Studies, and Gender Studies, IUB


Wednesday April 4th 5:30-7:00 PM

IU Bloomington, GA Building, Room 2067

This talk will focus on how mainstream Muslim scholars and extremist ideologues debate one another on what jihad means, under what circumstances armed combat becomes permissible, and who may be targeted during a military attack. Comparison of their views reveals key differences that allow us to gain a better insight into how jihad is invoked by various extremist groups today to lend legitimacy to their violent projects.


Sponsored by the Islam in the Global Sphere seminar and Students for Peace in the Middle East



Against Liberalism: Islamic Constitutionalist Thought in Modern Iran


Hussein Banai
International Studies, IUB


Friday March 30th 12:00-1:30 PM

IU Bloomington, GA Building, Room 3134

Faculty seminar with Hussein Banai, assistant professor of International Studies, who will discuss his book manuscript in progress.

This paper examines the decline and fall of liberal constitutionalism in Iran – a process begun in the late 19th century and definitively halted by the advent of the Islamic Republic in 1979 – in relation to the rise of its Islamic analogue in the same period. In particular, it demonstrates the interaction and mutual influence of liberal and Islamic constitutional thought upon one another, resulting in constitutional forms that are at once rights-based and non-representative. A work of comparative political thought, this paper offers a contextual reading of constitutional debates between Islamic jurists and their liberal interlocutors that go beyond abstract and binary considerations of these ideologies in recent theoretical accounts.



Improvisational Islam: Indonesian Youths in a Time of Possibility

Nur Amali Ibrahim

Religious Studies, International Studies, IU Bloomington


Thursday Feb. 22nd 4:00-5:30 PM

IU Bloomington Campus, GA Building, Room 2134

Faculty seminar with Nur Amali Ibrahim, who will discuss his book manuscript in progress.

This book is about novel and unexpected ways of being Muslim, where religious dispositions are achieved through techniques that have little or no precedent in classical Islamic texts or concepts. To cultivate piety, young Indonesians are drawing from accounting, auditing, self-help, and other methods originating from the business world, as well as reading Islamic scriptures alongside the western human sciences, from John Locke’s treatises to the writings of Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Clifford Geertz.  The Indonesian case study, which occurs in a heightened and volatile political context, brings into sharper relief processes that are happening in ordinary Muslim life everywhere. In the contemporary political discourse where Muslims are often portrayed as uncompromising and adversarial to the West and where bans and walls are deemed necessary to keep them out, this story about flexible and creative Muslims is an important one to tell.




photo of moustafa bayoumi

Moustafa Bayoumi

Professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York;

Columnist for The Guardian


How Does it Feel to Be a Problem: Being Young and Arab in America

Thursday October 19th from 2:30-3:45pm

Bloomington campus, Woodburn Hall, Room 104

Faculty and student discussion with Professor Moustafa Bayoumi regarding his highly-acclaimed, best-selling book How Does it Feel to Be a Problem: Being Young and Arab in America.


This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror

Thursday October 19th at 5:30pm

Bloomington Campus, Hodge Hall, Room 2075

Bayoumi will discuss what the War on Terror looks like from the vantage point of Muslim Americans, highlighting the profound effect that surveillance has had on how they live their lives. To be a Muslim American today often means to exist in an absurd space between exotic and dangerous, victim and villain, simply because of the assumptions people hold.  Bayoumi exposes how contemporary politics, movies, novels, media experts and more have together produced a culture of fear and suspicion that not only willfully forgets the Muslim-American past, but also threatens all of our civil liberties in the present.  This Muslim American Life was awarded the 2016 Evelyn Shakir Non-Fiction Arab American Book Award.



Professor William Maleyphoto of william maley

Australian National University


Afghanistan and the 'War on Terror': A Retrospective Appraisal

Monday September 11th 7:00-8:30 PM

IU Bloomington, SGIS auditorium, 0001




Refugees and the Responsibility to Protect

Tuesday September 12th 5:00-6:30 PM

IU Bloomington, GISB, 1118

Professor William Maley is Professor of Diplomacy at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy. He is one of the world’s leading experts on Afghanistan’s conflicts and on refugee issues. He published dozens of books and articles on these topics. He is the recipient of many honors and awards, including being appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) and being elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. He is also a Barrister of the High Court of Australia, Vice-President of the Refugee Council of Australia, and a member of the Australian Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP). He is also a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Global Responsibility to Protect, and of the International Advisory Board of the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination at Princeton University.


Co-hosted by Pan-Asia Institute; School of Global and International Studies; Islamic Studies Program; Department of Political Science; Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures; Working Group on Forced Migration




photo of chris bail


Sociology; Duke University


April 11th 2017 from 5:30pm-7pm

Terrified: How Anti-Muslim Fringe Organizations became Mainstream

IU Bloomington; GA Building Auditorium 0001

In this talk Bail traces how the anti-Muslim narrative of the political fringe has captivated large segments of the American media, government, and general public, validating the views of extremists who argue that the United States is at war with Islam and marginalizing mainstream Muslim-Americans who are uniquely positioned to discredit such claims. Drawing on cultural sociology, social network theory, and social psychology, he shows how anti-Muslim organizations gained visibility in the public sphere, commandeered a sense of legitimacy, and redefined the contours of contemporary debate, shifting it ever outward toward the fringe. Bail illustrates this theoretical argument through a big-data analysis of more than one hundred organizations struggling to shape public discourse about Islam, tracing their impact on hundreds of thousands of newspaper articles, television transcripts, legislative debates, and social media messages produced since the September 11 attacks. The research also draws upon in-depth interviews with the leaders of these organizations, providing a rare look at how anti-Muslim organizations entered the American mainstream.

To learn more about Christopher, click here.



photo of Edward Curtis


Religious Studies; IUPUI


Wednesday March 8th 5:30pm

Muslim Americans in the U.S. Military

IU Bloomington; Indiana Memorial Union in the Oak Room

Also hosted by IU Veterans Support Services

A lecture by Professor Edward E. Curtis drawing from his book Muslim Americans in the Military: Centuries of Service (Indiana University Press, 2016) in which he illuminates the long history of Muslim service members who have defended their country from the War of 1812 to recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

To learn more about Edward Curtis, click here.