Rosemary Corbett – Making Moderate Islam in America: the History Behind a Contemporary Debate

  • Religion Department Building, Room 101 80 Claremont Avenue New York, NY, 10027 United States

Drawing on a decade of research into the community that proposed the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” Corbett refutes the idea that current demands for Muslim moderation have primarily arisen in response to the events of 9/11, or to the violence often depicted in the media as unique to Muslims. Instead, she places such demands in the context of decades of pressure on religious and racial minorities to conform to dominant American frameworks for race, gender, and political economy.


Rosemary R. Corbett is a Faculty Fellow with the Bard Prison Initiative and has a PhD in Religion from Columbia University with a focus on Islam in the United States. She has previously held positions as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Center for the Humanities at Tufts University, and (most recently) a Young Scholar in American Religion with the Center for the Study of American Religion at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis. Her research involves examining how racial and religious minorities navigate U.S. Protestant-derived norms by forming shifting alliances around civic or political issues, and her forthcoming manuscript—Muslims in the Middle: Service, Sufism, and “Moderate” American Muslims after 9/11—is under contract with Stanford University Press. In addition to works in edited volumes, her publications appear (under the names of Rosemary R. Corbett and Rosemary R. Hicks) in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion (forthcoming, 2015), the journal Religion, The Journal of Islamic Law and Culture, American Quarterly, Comparative Islamic Studies, and the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion (2004, New Scholar Award).

This event is co-sponsored by the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life and the Middle East Institute at Columbia University.