SMC Guest Lecture Series: “Teaching Islamic Studies in the Age of ISIS, Islamophobia, & the Internet”
On Tuesday, March 26, SMC welcomed a special guest lecture series by author and Islamic Studies professor Dr. Courtney Dorroll. The talk was geared toward educators of multiple disciplines.
Dr. Dorroll teaches Middle Eastern and North African studies at Wofford College, and has just published a book, “Teaching Islamic Studies in the Age of ISIS, Islamophobia, and the Internet.” Her newly-published book aims to untangle the fraught questions currently surrounding one of the world’s biggest religions.
“We have an issue with Islamophobia in the West,” Dr. Dorroll says. “One of the big issues right now is the fact that some people conflate radical Islam and political Islam and apply that to all Muslims. The fact is that al-Qaeda and ISIS, for example, are a tiny percentage of the global Muslim population, but these groups happen to be the ones we hear about most.”
“As a part of our spring interdisciplinary studies program, we were interested in learning more about Dr. Dorroll’s approach to teaching Islam,” says Dr. Kris Neely, director of SMC’s interdisciplinary program. “Dr. Dorroll’s work is the kind of liberal arts thinking that we want to model for our students.”
The lecture featured newly-released text and touched on how educators can place Islamic Studies into context in the classroom and how to navigate the topic in the age of prevailing negative stereotypes.
“I hope people come away with an understanding of how Islamic Studies professors teach Islam in the current cultural conditions,” Dr. Dorroll says. “This means not limiting our understanding of Islam to radicalism but at the same time addressing the real concerns about those groups that students bring to class.”