Understanding Muslim Political Life in America

Contested Citizenship in the Twenty-First Century

Edited by Brian R. Calfano and Nazita Lajevardi
Book Cover

PB: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1737-4
Publication: May 19

HC: $109.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1736-7
Publication: May 19

Ebook: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1738-1
Publication: May 19

248 pages
6 x 9
25 tables, 18 figures

A cogent study of Muslim identity and citizenship—as well as ethnic and gender dynamics—within American politics

Read the Introduction (pdf).


“Muslim Americans are at a political crossroads,” write editors Brian Calfano and Nazita Lajevardi. Whereas Muslims are now widely incorporated in American public life, there are increasing social and political pressures that disenfranchise them or prevent them from realizing the American Dream. Understanding Muslim Political Life in America brings clarity to the social, religious, and political dynamics that this diverse religious community faces.

In this timely volume, leading scholars cover a variety of topics assessing the Muslim American experience in the post-9/11 and pre-Trump era, including law enforcement; identity labels used in Muslim surveys; the role of gender relations; recognition; and how discrimination, tolerance, and politics impact American Muslims.

Understanding Muslim Political Life in America offers an update and reappraisal of what we know about Muslims in American political life. The editors and contributors also consider future directions and important methodological questions for research in Muslim American scholarship.

Contributors include Matt A. Barreto, Alejandro Beutel, Tony Carey, Youssef Chouhoud, Karam Dana, Oz Dincer, Rachel Gillum, Kerem Ozan Kalkan, Anwar Manje, Valerie Martinez-Ebers, Dani McLaughlan, Melissa R. Michelson, Yusuf Sarfati, Ahmet Tekelioglu, Marianne Marar Yacobian, and the editors.


This is an outstanding volume that comprehensively explores the nature of Muslim identity, attitudes, and patterns of political participation. The contributions are well-researched and showcase a nuanced understanding of the dynamics underlying Muslim political life in the U.S.”—Amaney A. Jamal, Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Politics at Princeton University

Understanding Muslim Political Life in America is long overdue. The editors deserve enormous credit for assembling many of the most active researchers on the politics of Muslim Americans. They provide insightful analyses of public opinion trends; an examination and interrogation of common negative stereotypes about Muslims; an exploration of ethnic, racial, and religious diversity within the group; and an investigation of Muslim American political engagement. In short, the book provides a fascinating analysis of all the important facets of this salient population. If you are interested in understanding Muslim American politics then look no further than this groundbreaking book.”—Vincent L. Hutchings, Hanes Walton Jr. Collegiate Professor in the Political Science Department and Research Professor at the Institute for Social Research at The University of Michigan

" This volume serves as a much-needed platform for a series of important topics that speak to the social and political realities of American Muslims in the twenty-first century.... (F)ew, if any, existing books provide the breadth of coverage and inter-subfield perspectives fostered by this collaborative effort produced by a diverse set of scholars.... This is an ambitious book that has certainly succeeded in achieving many of its intended objectives."
Perspectives on Politics

" This volume makes important theoretical, practical, and methodological contributions. The considerable focus on experimental research is particularly innovative.... Overall, this volume succeeds at its key goal of introducing novel ways to conduct research on Muslims in the United States.... In fact, the most important contribution of this volume is that it will likely serve as a handbook on how to conduct experimental research on American Muslims (and other minorities), and as such it will be helpful to both graduate students as well as seasoned researchers alike."
Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Preface and Acknowledgments

1. Introduction • Brian R. Calfano and Nazita Lajevardi
2. American Muslims and the State: Contexts and Contentions • Karam Dana and Matt A. Barreto
3. American Muslim Women in the Age of Trump (and Beyond) • Anwar Mhajne and Brian R. Calfano
4. The Unbearable Whiteness of Being Middle Eastern: Causes and Effects of the Racialization of Middle Eastern Americans • Nazita Lajevardi, Melissa R. Michelson, and Marianne Marar Yacobian
5. What Is More “American” to Do When the FBI Knocks on Your Door? Muslim Americans’ Debates on Engagement with Law Enforcement • Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu
6. Muslim Expectations of U.S. Law Enforcement Behavior • Rachel M. Gillum
7. The 9/11 Mosque and Partisan Polarization • Kerem Ozan Kalkan 8. Priming Identity, Framing Community: Christians, Muslims, and Intergroup Trust • Brian R. Calfano, Oguzhan (Oz) Dincer, Danielle M. McLaughlin, and Yusuf Sarfati
9. Performance Politics: Negotiating Muslim and American Identities • Brian R. Calfano, Valerie Martinez-Ebers, Tony E. Carey Jr., and Alejandro J. Beutel
10. Gauging Political Tolerance through a List Experiment: Findings from a Survey of Muslim Americans • Youssef Chouhoud
11. Best Practices for Gathering Public Opinion Data among Muslim Americans • Matt A. Barreto and Karam Dana
12. Conclusions and New Directions for the Study of American Muslims • Brian R. Calfano and Nazita Lajevardi


About the Author(s)

Brian R. Calfano is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Journalism at the University of Cincinnati. He is co-author of God Talk: Experimenting with the Religious Causes of Public Opinion (Temple).

Nazita Lajevardi is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Michigan State University. She is co-author of Race and Representative Bureaucracy in American Policing.


In the Series

  • Religious Engagement in Democratic Politics edited by Paul A. Djupe

    The Religious Engagement in Democratic Politics series, edited by Paul A. Djupe, will collect work that explores in theoretically and empirically rigorous ways variations in and determinants of religious presence in the politics of democratic nations—from those with a long history of institutionalized democracy to those struggling to establish free, contested elections and systems of rights and liberties. Books in the series will demonstrate application of one or more of a variety of quantitative and qualitative methodologies to explore the robust and highly variable presence of religion in democracies. Prospective authors should contact series editor Paul Djupe or Senior Editor Aaron Javsicas at Temple University Press to discuss their work in progress for inclusion in the series.