The Changing Nature of Islamic Studies and American Religious Studies (Part 2)

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  • *This analytical article follows my review article entitled: “The Changing Nature of Islamic Studies and American Religious History (Part 1*),”The Muslim World Vol. 91 (Spring 2001): 71–98. One important difference between Part 1 and this Part 2 needs to be highlighted from the outset: the title change from “American Religious History” to “American Religious Studies,” and the parallel sub-disciplinary name change from “Islamic American Religious History” to “Islamic American Religious Studies,” reflects the growing interdisciplinarity and multiple methodological approaches used in the study of American religion today. Both names are still used almost interchangeably, as exemplified in Winnifred Fallers Sullivan's alternate usage of both (compare p. 123 and p. 127 in his “American Religion is Naturally Comparative,” in A Magic Sill Dwells: Comparative Religion in the Postmodern Age, ed. by Kimberley C. Patton and Benjamin C. Ray, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000). However, I am now convinced that methodological precision requires the use of the broader expression “American Religious Studies” instead of “American Religious History” because the former encompasses the latter, which represents only one of the many possible methodological emphases. I would like to thank Kambiz Ghanea Bassiri for his useful suggestions as well as his and Chris White's help in identifying historiographical literature in American Religious Studies.

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