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Grant number like: FB-56162-12

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Roxanne L. Euben
University of Pennsylvania (Wellesley, MA 02481-8203)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2012 – 6/30/2013

Understanding Muslim Conceptions of Humiliation

Al-Qa'ida missives are full of exhortations to make the enemies of Islam “taste the humiliation” that has been inflicted on Muslims. This has resonated broadly in diverse Muslim communities, as evinced by recent international flashpoints in which the “humiliation of Islam” has figured centrally (e.g. the Qur’an burning in Florida, the Danish cartoon controversy). Yet there has been no systematic analysis to date of the content and rhetorical function of humiliation in Islamist discourses. I analyze Islamist arguments about humiliation in relation to broader religious traditions, cultural discourses and political and socio-economic transformations. While humiliation in the Islamic religious tradition describes the status of humans in relation to God, Islamists reconceptualize it as the “emasculation” of Islam by non-Muslim men that requires believers to restore a divinely-ordained social hierarchy in which men and women, Muslim and non-Muslim, each have a proper place and purpose.