Dr. Justine Howe Lecture at Indiana University October 17, 2017: All-American Islam: Leisure and Parenting in Suburban Chicago

After 9/11, American Muslims have faced increased pressure to demonstrate the compatibility of Islam and American culture. Focusing on suburban Chicago, this lecture shows how some Muslim communities have embraced leisure activities, such as playing football or apple-picking, as essential for smoothing the pathway for Islam’s acceptance in the American religious landscape and as vital for the construction of an American Islam that transcends ethnic and racial divisions. By linking leisure to the moral obligation of parenting, these recreational rituals, deemed quintessentially American, are made into pious acts. This talk explores how consumer practices, especially those perceived as generating “spirituality” and cultural “comfort”— have become resonant in our contemporary political moment.