I spent my first full day—and second day overall—here at the American Academy of Religion’s 2007 conference here in misty, hazy San Diego.
I’m not sure exactly what I wanted this morning as I headed down to the conference center. Actually, no, that’s not true. I always want to be blown away. I rarely am.
The morning started with a two-and-a-half hour session entitled “From ‘Muslims in America’ to ‘American Muslims’.” For some reason, I bemoan the identity politics of current Muslim discourse, yet continue to go to things like this hoping for some kind of revelatory experience, something that’s going to speak to me.
But despite the excellence of the scholarship, I found precious few things that really spoke to me at that session. I did like Abbas Rezagar’s outlining of six broad categories of American Muslim identity, which corresponded vaguely and more comprehensively to my own theories that Western Islam is shifting to a model similar to that of Judaism (Orthodox, Reform, Reconstructionist, etc.).