Muslim Diasporas and the West: Re-negotiating Multiculturalism?

The Colloquium on the Global South will present a special seminar by York sociology Professor Haideh Moghissi, from the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies. Moghissi’s presentation, titled “Muslim Diasporas and the West: Re-negotiating Multiculturalism?”, will take place today, from 2:30 to 4:30pm in room 305, York Lanes, Keele campus.

Right: Haideh Moghissi

The influence of Islam as a religion, or a political ideology, is increasing among migrants of Islamic cultures. In her seminar, Moghissi will discuss whether it is Islam that defines the identity of the Muslim diaspora or is it the diasporic experience that defines their Islamic identity. She will argue that Muslims who use religious symbols (such as Islamic dress code Hijab) as a signifier of their cultural identity and to claim a voice, find themselves the target of anti-Muslim sentiments, stereotypes, discrimination and exclusion. The anti-Muslim racism and global political conditions, including military intervention in the Middle East and unresolved Palestinian-Israeli conflict, tap into the diasporas’ grievances. All this helps the development of an emotional and psychological detachment from the ‘host-land’; increased religiosity; revitalization of tribal customs; and the creation of a vicious cycle.

Moghissi, is a published scholar on religion, gender and politics in the Middle East. Her most recent book is the Feminism and Islamic Fundamentalism: The Limits of Postmodern Analysis (Zed Press, 1999; Oxford University Press, 2000). She is cross-appointed in the School of Women’s Studies and the School of Social Sciences, in the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies and the Faculty of Graduate Studies, and has served as coordinator of the Certificate for Anti-Racist Research and Practice (CARRP) Program.

She is a member of the executive committee of Centre for Refugee Studies and is the Chair of the executive committee of the Centre for Feminist Research at York University. She has served as a commentator on Iran and women in the Middle East on BBC World Service, CBC, Radio France, and Voice of America, and on the editorial advisory boards of  the Journal of Comparative Public Policy, the Rutledge Women and Politics Series, Resources for Feminist Research, and Women in Struggle and Equality (Tehran). As head of the Old Manuscripts Division, National Archives of Iran, she was responsible for the evaluation and classification of historical documents.

For more information, visit the University Consortium on the Global South Web site or contact Rhonda Dynes at ext. 55237, or

The Colloquium on the Global South provides an open space for debate and critical inquiry for students, faculty members, non-governmental organizations, social activists, and policy makers. It is presented by the University Consortium on the Global South (UCGS) at York University. The colloquium sessions are free and no pre-registration is required.