Cartographies of Islam in the Americas: Migrants, Converts and Devotion

Introduction by Professor Randal Johnson, Director of the Latin American Institute, April 3, 2009

Symposium about the growing presence of Islam in Latin American Societies.

Muslim communities in the Americas are made up of migrants- people from historically Muslim regions like the Middle East and South East Asia who have settled in the region, and a growing number of converts. Migrants and their descendants are a majority of Muslims in South America, particularly in Argentina and Brazil. Converts are more visible in Mexico and the Caribbean. In all of these regions however, migrants and converts interact with each other and with global institutions of Islamic dawa- of invitation to the faith, in diverse dynamics of devotion. The expansion of Islam as a 'global faith' faith in recent decades, and the standardization and disciplining of boundaries that have accompanied that trend, contrast with the diversity of regional Muslim practices.

This Symposium brings together scholars from the length and breadth of the Americas to map the growing presence of Islam in the ‘New World’. Participants bring a wide array of disciplines to this effort, including history, anthropology and political science, and very different sources- ranging from hemerographic archives, to personal narratives and internet discussion forums, to generate an interdisciplinary vision of this complex social landscape


María del Mar Logroño Carbona, Assistant Professor, History Department, Florida State University

Boundaries and Passages: Migrants and Converts in the Muslim Communities in Brazil
Paulo G. Pinto, Ph.D. in Anthropology from Boston University. Professor at the Graduate  Program in Anthropology and Political Science and Director of the Center for Middle East Studies (NEOM) at the Fluminense Federal University – Brazil

Islam in Cuba

Luis Mesa Delmonte, Researcher and Academic Coordinator at the Center for the Study of Asia and Africa (CEAA), Colegio de Mexico, Mexico

Conversion Stories: Testimonies of Faith
Jonathan Friedlander, Assistant Director/Outreach Director, UCLA Near Eastern Studies Center  


Being a new Muslim in Mexico: Conversion as Class Mobility
Camila Pastor de Maria y Campos, Ph.D Candidate, UCLA Department of Anthropology,

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Duration: 4:06