Event: Religion, Race, and Urban Space in NYC – Museum of the City of New York

1 December 2022, 6:30PM EST


Curator Azra Dawood talks with Nathaniel Deutsch, Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada, and Hussein Rashid, three leading scholars of religion in New York City, about the intersections of the public and private, the political, secular and sacred.

This program accompanies our new exhibition, City of Faith:Religion, Activism and Urban Space (opening 11/18).

Poster for event Religion, Race, and Urban Space in NYC at the Museum of the City of New York. Poster includes four portrait photos of speakers and details on date and location of event.
Poster for event at Museum of the City of New York on religion and race.

New Chapter: In Cyber Muslims

Cyber Muslims: Mapping Islamic Digital Media in the Internet Age

Through an array of detailed case studies, this book explores the vibrant digital expressions of diverse groups of Muslim cybernauts: religious clerics and Sufis, feminists and fashionistas, artists and activists, hajj pilgrims and social media influencers. These stories span a vast cultural and geographic landscape-from Indonesia, Iran, and the Arab Middle East to North America.

These granular case studies contextualize cyber Islam within broader social trends: racism and Islamophobia, gender dynamics, celebrity culture, identity politics, and the shifting terrain of contemporary religious piety and practice.

The book’s authors examine an expansive range of digital multimedia technologies as primary “texts.” These include websites, podcasts, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube channels, online magazines and discussion forums, and religious apps. The contributors also draw on a range of methodological and theoretical models from multiple academic disciplines, including communication and media studies, anthropology, history, global studies, religious studies, and Islamic studies.

12. Defining Islamic Art: Practices and Digital Reconfigurations, Hussein Rashid

Book cover for Cyber Muslims
Book cover for Cyber Muslims

Event: Critical Race Theory and Religion

Shoulder to Shoulder hosted a panel discussion featuring Harman Singh from The Sikh Coalition, Taneeza Islam from South Dakota Voices for Peace, and Hussein Rashid representing the Interfaith Center of New York to learn more about what CRT is and isn’t and what we can do to create communities where all people, regardless of their faith, culture, or background are treated fairly, respectfully, and with dignity.


New Chapter: In Are the Arts Essential?

Are the Arts Essential?

Across twenty-five highly engaging essays, these luminaries join together to address this question and to share their own ideas, experiences, and ambitions for the arts. Darren Walker discusses the ideals of justice and fairness advanced through the arts; Mary Schmidt Campbell shows us how artists and cultural institutions helped New York overcome the economic crisis of the 1970s, bringing new investment and creativity to the city; Deborah Willis traces histories of oppression and disenfranchisement documented by photographers; and Oskar Eustis offers a brief history lesson on how theaters have built communities since the Golden Age of Athens. Other topics include the vibrancy and diversity of Muslim culture in America during a time of rising Islamophobia; the strengthening of the common good through the art and cultural heritages of indigenous communities; digital data aggregation informing and influencing new art forms; and the jazz lyricisms of a theater piece inspired by a composer’s two-month coma.


New Book: Teaching Critical Religious Studies

Teaching Critical Religious Studies: Pedagogy and Critique in the Classroom

Are you teaching religious studies in the best way possible? Do you inadvertently offer simplistic understandings of religion to undergraduate students, only to then unpick them at advanced levels?

This book presents case studies of teaching methods that integrate student learning, classroom experiences, and disciplinary critiques. It shows how critiques of the scholarship of religious studies-including but not limited to the World Religions paradigm, Christian normativity, Orientalism, colonialism, race, gender, sexuality, and class-can be effectively integrated into all courses, especially at an introductory level.

Integrating advanced critiques from religious studies into actual pedagogical practices, this book offers ways for scholars to rethink their courses to be more reflective of the state of the field. This is essential reading for all scholars in religious studies.



Building Community Through the Arts | More On That Now | #sfusa2022 – YouTube

Building Community Through the Arts | More On That Now | #sfusa2022 – YouTube.

In this discussion, panelists talk about the true power of the arts to shape cities and policies and strengthen the ties between us. For this conversation, scholar Hussein Rashid is joined by Lydia Cotton and Marty Pottenger. Lydia Cotton is the co-founder of the Art Pot in Hanahan, South Carolina—our state’s first Hispanic multicultural center providing arts programming for kids and adults. Lydia is actively involved with the Hispanic community in the Charleston area, a tireless advocate of its people—making sure they are aware of their rights and their resources. A celebrated playwright, Marty Pottenger is also the founder of Art at Work, a national arts initiative that partners with communities and governments that uses creativity and the performing and visual arts to address non-arts based challenges.

Art & Global Politics | More On That Now | #sfusa2022 – YouTube

Art & Global Politics | More On That Now | #sfusa2022 – YouTube.

In this discussion, three artists and scholars talk about the intersection of art and history as well as art and politics and cultural diplomacy. How do performances shape our understanding of history—and how might politics shape our understanding of art? The panelists will also speak about America’s position as a global arts leader, and how its position has changed or been challenged over time. Moderator Dr. Hussein Rashid is joined by South African musician Kyla-Rose Smith and Georgian theater director Paata Tsikurishvili.

Teaching History | More On That Now | #sfusa2022 – YouTube

Teaching History | More On That Now | #sfusa2022 – YouTube.

What role should the performing arts play in education and the teaching of history? Spoleto Festival USA’s 2022 season looked at the power of the arts to reveal untold histories, especially those of marginalized people and groups whose stories are not widely shared or known. Works like Omar and Unholy Wars, for example, asked us to not only look at history, but ask why those histories are told and who is telling it.