Collegiate Affiliation

Aisha Ghani is an anthropologist of religion and law. Her ethnographic work in the United States examines the management and regulation of Islam and Muslim communities in and through U.S. courts. She explores these issues by tracing the formation of "legal Islam,” a term that indexes the juridical processes, political contingencies, and secular sensibilities to which Islam is subject, and through which it is transformed into a legally permissible American religion.

She is currently working on two projects. The first - Questioning Terrorism - is a courtroom ethnography that explores how terrorism trials assist the state in defining and establishing boundaries around American Islam and American secularism. Her second project - The Science of Islamophobia - turns to a series of recent U.S. religious discrimination cases in which scientific discourses have been activated to argue that Islamic practices are unsafe, unsanitary, unhygienic, or environmentally corrosive. These legal contestations - around Muslim cemeteries, wudu (ablution), and workplace safety - will be explored as "scientific frontiers" in the evolution of Islamophobia.