More than one-fifth of the world’s population currently self-identifies as Muslim. A 2015 Pew Research Center report projects this will rise to nearly 30% by 2050. For many individuals and groups, “Muslim” is more than a marker of religion, it represents a set of contested communities; ethnicities; histories; regions, neighborhoods; politics; and artistic, literary, and musical traditions that may or may not have a recognizable connection to Islam. Despite this diversity, many hold notions of Muslim identity that act as a shared horizon of belonging or association.

Muslims live on every continent on the planet. Contradicting pervasive stereotypes, only about 30% of Muslims live in the Middle East and North African region. Moreover, through immigration and conversion, increasingly evident and important Muslim minorities have emerged in European and American contexts who are both expressive of existing cultural forms and productive of new amalgamations and inventions. Many of these minorities also face marginalization and persecution as nations debate the meaning of national exclusivity, pluralism, secularism, and tolerance.

At least eleven scholars contribute to Muslim Studies with pertinent research and/or teaching from fields and academic units as diverse as Arabic, art history, College of Letters, English, French, government, history, music, religion, and Spanish.