Eliminate the Muslim: Science, Religion, and the Future of Brown


Monday, February 12, 2018 (All day)


45 Francis Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
A talk and talk-back lecture with SRC Program Director Ahmed Ragab, Richard T. Watson Associate Professor of Science and Religion. In a present punctuated by bans, walls, registries, violence, and deportations, what is the future of black, brown, and queer? The B/B/Q person is stuck in a timeplay where the future is only a repetition of the present, and affirmation of the past. Thinking through science (fiction), religion, and culture, we discuss what the future means, what time entails, and what implications a timeplay has on present and future identities. The talk/talk-back in the Sperry Room will be followed by a Science, Religion, and Culture Program open-house reception in the Braun Room.   Pluralism Project Summary: On a Monday evening in February Harvard Divinity School was packed with students and other community members excited to hear Science, Religion and Culture Director Professor Ahmed Ragab’s lecture “Eliminate the Muslim.” An eye-catching cartoon of the Marvel Comic book hero Dust, a mutant woman who wears niqab, was featured on the event poster. One HDS student attendee remarked that it was the most diverse crowd he had ever seen assembled in the Sperry Room, the Divinity School’s central lecture hall. Ragab began his talk by analyzing Dust’s character. As the lecture progressed, Ragab spoke more expansively about portrayals of Muslim characters and characters of color in comic books and science fiction and the real-world repercussions of these representations. Ragab invoked “brownness” as a contentious category, one that is produced by colonial encounters but that can also be used as a means of self-identification and empowerment. Based on the respondents’ remarks, the Q&A session, and the casual reception conversation that followed, Ragab’s speech was received well by the audience, although select attendees voiced concern by the looseness with which he used terms such as “brown” and “queer.” This summary was written by a Pluralism Project staff member who attended the event.