University Colloquium: Saher Selod

Forever Suspect: Racialized Surveillance of Muslim Americans in the War on Terror
Saher Selod
Associate Professor of Sociology
Simmons University

The declaration of a “War on Terror” in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks brought sweeping changes to the American criminal justice and national security systems, as well as a massive shift in the American public opinion of both individual Muslims and the Islamic religion generally. Since that time, Muslim Americans have experienced higher levels of racism in their everyday lives. In this talk Dr. Selod shows how a Muslim identity has acquired racial meanings, through the hyper surveillance of Muslim Americans. Drawing on forty-eight in-depth interviews with South Asian and Arab Muslim Americans, Forever Suspect investigates how Muslim Americans are subjected to racialized surveillance in both an institutional context by the state and a social context by their neighbors and co-workers, resulting in Muslims participating in self surveillance. Dr. Selod highlights how this newly racialized religious identity, which is gendered, changes the social location of Arabs and South Asians on the racial hierarchy further away from whiteness and compromises their status as American citizens.

Saher Selod is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Simmons University. She joined the Department of Sociology in 2012 after completing her PhD at Loyola University Chicago. Her research interests are in race and ethnicity, gender, religion and surveillance. Her research examines how Muslim Americans experience racialization in the United States. Her book Forever Suspect: Racialized Surveillance of Muslim Americans in the War on Terror (Rutgers University Press 2018) examines how Muslim men and Muslim women experience gendered forms of racialization through their surveillance by the state and by private citizens. She is currently writing a book on Global Islamophobia, which is under contract at Polity Press and is working on another project on policing, political participation and Muslims. Dr. Selod serves on the Editorial Boards of Ethnic and Racial Studies and Critical Sociology. She is a member of the Scholars Strategy Network and is a Faculty Affiliate for the Center for Security, Race and Rights at Rutgers University.