"Job Ads Don’t Add Up: Arabic + Middle East + Texts ≠ Islam"

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Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst, Job Ads Don’t Add Up: Arabic + Middle East + Texts ≠ Islam, Journal of the American Academy of Religion

"Job advertisements for Islamic studies faculty positions provide material and significant insight into the construction and reification of a normative Islam. These ads serve to further entrench inaccurate notions of “authentic” Islam. Quantitative and qualitative data demonstrate how religious studies colleagues craft job calls that replicate stereotypes about Islam and Muslims, how the study of Islam functions, and an Arab and Arabic-centric emphasis. Such ads prefer specific regions (the Middle East), languages (Arabic), and subjects (texts). Ironically, this archive shows that ads for jobs in the field of Islamic studies frequently instantiate biases and stereotypes that Islamic studies scholars dedicate their careers to dismantling. Stated hiring preferences, including teaching obligations, entrench an “essence” of Islam or Islamic studies at odds with scholarly discourse about Islam, Islamic studies, and religious studies that may be summarized as a simple, troubling equation: Islam = Middle East + Arabic + texts."

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