From Wrongful Arrest to Anti-Prison Activist: Bryonn Bain’s Road to ‘Lyrics From Lockdown’ – Columbia Daily Spectator

From Wrongful Arrest to Anti-Prison Activist: Bryonn Bain’s Road to ‘Lyrics From Lockdown’ – Columbia Daily Spectator.

“Navigating [these politics] came through people like Bryonn who walked me through that racial consciousness and turned that into something very practical,” New School professor Hussein Rashid, who graduated from Columbia College in 1996, recalls. “We had a lot of agency coming into this protest tradition at Columbia.”
As campus activists, Bain and his peers in various campus affinity organizations not only challenged institutional injustice at the administrative level but also at the student level. He and others who fought alongside him on issues related to race and racism on campus publicly criticized Spectator’s perceived complicity in upholding structural racism at the University. “Their reporting was very deferential to authority,” Rashid—who wrote several pieces critical of the paper’s treatment of Black and Latinx voices and concerns—says. “There is so much talk about racial justice and equity in these spaces coming from ‘changing the narrative.’ What we really need is a movement that changes the narrators,” Bain adds.

New Article: Diverse Muslim Narratives: Rethinking Islam 101

I have a new academic piece out on The Wabash Center Journal on Teaching. The article is freely available under a Creative Commons license. The abstract is as follows:

The practice of teaching Islam in the American context has a particular intellectual pedigree. At this point, the critique of the Study of Religion as emerging out of a normative Christian framework is well-established in the field. Edward Said’s argument for the ways in which Islam is constructed to meet American political interests, rather than an engagement with Muslims and their religion, is nearly forty years old. These power dynamics mean that students, through popular discourse, understand Wahhabi Islam as Sunni Islam, which they consider the “true Islam” against which other Islams are judged. I propose a model of looking at how Muslims define their religion through contestation and relation which allows students to understand the dynamic nature of their traditions. What I outline as an approach gives a greater sense of covering the breadth of material represented by a global religious community, with over a millennium of history.