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The Deen Imagined: Studying American Islam through Literature with Dr. Noor Hashem

Sundays 1pm-3pm, Starting September 16 – October 4, 2018

ISBCC (Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center)


Muhammad Ali, one of the most well-known American Muslims, famously said: “I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.” His is just one of the many articulations of what Islam in America looks like, and it introduces a whole set of questions: How do Muslims fit within the American narrative? Who articulates that narrative? How has that narrative changed over time, and who has helped to reimagine it? Which articulations are privileged and celebrated, which institutions—secular, religious—authorize it, and how do these narratives relate to cultural and political ideas of freedom, agency, dissent, race, class, immigration, gender, pluralism and equality? These are some of the questions we will begin to unpack in this class. The course is structured to explore the diversity of the Muslim American population in the United States and to discover the depth of its history. The course will also thematically introduce some of the debates and concerns that are brought up about Muslims—such as terrorism—and those brought up by Muslims—such as gender equality. We will visit these topics through scholarship and, in many cases, will examine our questions further through literature, music and film, such as Wajahat Ali’s play The Domestic Crusaders, rap by Lupe Fiasco and Mos Def, and Spike Lee’s 1992 film Malcolm X.


Dr. Noor Hashem is a lecturer with the CAS Writing Center at Boston University. She holds an MFA in Fiction and PhD in English Literature from Cornell University. She was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University from 2014-2016. Her research examines the intersection of Muslim literature, North American ethnic literature, and world literature through the lenses of critical theory, cultural studies, and gender studies. She is completing a book manuscript, Creative Ritual: Embodied Faith and Secular Reason in Contemporary Muslim Fiction, which studies the portrayal of Muslim characters that assert dissident social agency through their practice of cultivated, embodied rituals in secular spaces. She has fiction and nonfiction published in New Letters, Mizna, and Consequence Magazine. She is a 2018 recipient of the Mass Cultural Council Art Fellowship for her novel-in-progress about a Muslim community in Southern California. Her teaching experience includes courses on Muslim literature, Muslim science fiction, art from the Arab Spring, World Literature, and creative writing. She has also taught creative writing and pedagogy to Syrian refugees and educators in the south of Turkey, and has given talks at the Huntington Theatre in Boston.


The Boston Islamic Seminary offers competitive tuition rates when considered against other non-degree academic programs offered by a variety of institutions throughout Greater Boston. Standard tuition is $850 per course, however, in our startup phase, we are offering all courses at a substantial discount.

Mini Course – 12 Instructional Hours – Price Listing

General Rate Student Rate
Startup Discount Price $225 $125
Early Bird Discount (Before 8/31/2018) $135 $75


The Boston Islamic Seminary is committed to providing quality instruction to all, regardless of financial circumstances, through a generous financial aid program.

Please note that the financial aid application deadline is one week before the start-date of any given course. Financial aid is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis until available funds are exhausted.  Please apply as early as possible to increase your chances of being awarded.

Boston Islamic Seminary admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.