Here is the abstract for my paper:
This paper explores the intersection between decolonialism and Islam in contemporary scholarship. It is inspired by the work of ethnic studies professor Ramón Grosfoguel (UC Berkeley). The first section introduces decolonialism as a type of world-systems analysis produced from peripheral epistemologies. Grosfoguel argues that this is different from postmodernism and postcolonialism, which remain epistemically Eurocentric critiques of Eurocentric modernity. For scholars of Islam, decolonialism entails responding to the problems facing humankind today as Muslims or with Muslims, rather than simply producing scholarship about Muslims. It entails considering Islam an epistemic perspective from which to actively generate critical thought, rather than a passive object of study. Moreover, decolonialism engages in inter-epistemic ‘pluriversal’ communication, and seeks to avoid Eurocentric universalism, Islamic takfiri discourse, and other forms of exclusivism. The second section examines Grosfoguel’s contention that epistemic Islamophobia is a constitutive element of the “modern/colonial capitalist/patriarchal western-centric/Christian-centric world-system.” He argues that modern social sciences and globalized structures of knowledge are deeply rooted in the four genocides/epistemicides of the long sixteenth century (against Jews and Muslims in Al-Andalus, indigenous peoples in the Americas, African victims of the transatlantic slave trade, and European women accused of sorcery). The third section discusses the contributions to decolonial Muslim thought by three intellectuals from Berkeley, California. After further consideration of Grosfoguel’s work, Hatem Bazian is introduced. He is a co-founder of Zaytuna College, the first accredited Muslim liberal arts college in the United States, where he works as a professor of Islamic law and theology. Furthermore, he lectures on Islam in America and Islamophobia at UC Berkeley. Dustin Craun, the third figure to be discussed, is an anti-racist educator, communications consultant, editor, and writer. He is also the founder and CEO of Ummah Wide, a San-Francisco based digital media and film production start-up focused on Muslim issues.