Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project

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The Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project (IRDP) focuses on a systematic and empirical approach to the study of Islamophobia and its impact on the American Muslim community. Today, Muslims in the U.S., parts of Europe, and around the world have been transformed into a demonized and feared global "other," subjected to legal, social, and political discrimination. Even at the highest levels of political discourse, the 2008 U.S. Presidential elections, Islamophobia took center stage as a sizeable number of Americans expressed fear that Barack Obama, the first African American president, is somehow a closet Muslim. Newspaper articles, tv shows, books, popular movies, political debates, and cultural conflicts over immigration and security produce ample evidence of the stigmatization of Islam within dominant culture.

The challenge for understanding the current cultural and political period centers on providing a more workable and encompassing definition for the Islamophobia phenomenon, a theoretical framework to anchor present and future research, and a centralized mechanism to document and analyze diverse data sets from around the U.S. and in comparison with other areas around the world.

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The Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project has the following goals:

  1. Support graduate and undergraduate research and documentation focused on issues of Islamophobia through mentorship and intellectual exchange
  2. Establish an advisory group of a diverse community of faculty working on issues related to Islamophobia
  3. Provide seed funding for specific research projects on Islamophobia
  4. Publish an annual report documenting the status of Islamophobia within the United States
  5. Publish a bi-annual peer reviewed academic periodical focusing on emerging research on Islamophobia
  6. Host an annual conference to discuss and analyze research outcomes

The research agenda is centered on Muslims in the Diaspora and the intersection between two categories of inquiry: 1) race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, and religion, and 2) the global "war on terror," its impact on Muslim communities and American culture, and the use of the war to reintroduce long discredited Eurocentric paradigms.