Publications

    Heir to the Crescent Moon
    Abdur-Rahman, Sufiya. Heir to the Crescent Moon. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2021. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "From age five, Sufiya Abdur-Rahman, the daughter of two Black Power-era converts to Islam, feels drawn to the faith even as her father, a devoted Muslim, introduces her to and, at the same time, distances her from it. He and her mother abandoned their Harlem mosque before she was born and divorced when she was twelve. Forced apart from her father--her portal into Islam--she yearns to reconnect with the religion and, through it, him. In Heir to the Crescent Moon, Abdur-Rahman's longing to comprehend her father's complicated relationship with Islam leads her first to recount her own history with it. Later, as she seeks to discover what both pulled her father to and pushed him from the mosque and her mother, Abdur-Rahman delves into the past. She journeys from the Christian righteousness of Adam Clayton Powell Jr.'s 1950s Harlem, through the Malcolm X-inspired college activism of the late 1960s, to the unfulfilled potential of the early-'70s' black American Muslim movement. When a painful reminder of the reason for her father's inconsistent ties to his former mosque appears to threaten his life, Abdur-Rahman's search nearly ends. She's forced to come to terms with her Muslim identity, and learns how events from generations past can reverberate through the present. Told, at times, with lighthearted humor or heartbreaking candor, Abdur-Rahman's story of adolescent Arabic lessons, fasting, and Muslim mosque, funeral, and eid services speaks to the challenges of bridging generational and cultural divides and what it takes to maintain family amidst personal and societal upheaval. Writing with quiet beauty but intellectual force about identity, community, violence, hope, despair, and faith, Abdur-Rahman weaves a vital tale about a family: black, Muslim, and distinctly American"-- Provided by publisher.
    Dear Senthuran: A Black spirit memoir
    Emezi, Akwaeke. Dear Senthuran: A Black spirit memoir. New York: Riverhead Books, 2021. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "In three critically acclaimed novels, Akwaeke Emezi has introduced readers to a landscape marked by familial tensions, Igbo belief systems, and a boundless search for what it means to be free. Now, in this extraordinary memoir, the bestselling author of The Death of Vivek Oji reveals the harrowing yet resolute truths of their own life. Through candid, intimate correspondence with friends, lovers, and family, Emezi traces the unfolding of a self and the unforgettable journey of a creative spirit stepping into power in the human world. Their story weaves through transformative decisions about their gender and body, their precipitous path to success as a writer, and the turmoil of relationships on an emotional, romantic, and spiritual plane, culminating in a book that is as tender as it is brutal. Electrifying and inspiring, animated by the same voracious intelligence that distinguishes Emezi's fiction, Dear Senthuran is a revelatory account of storytelling, self, and survival." - Publisher description.
    Modern Muslims: A Sudan Memoir
    Howard, W. Stephen. Modern Muslims: A Sudan Memoir. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2016. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "Steve Howard departed for the Sudan in the early 1980s as an American graduate student beginning a three-year journey in which he would join and live with the Republican Brotherhood, the Sufi Muslim group led by the visionary Mahmoud Mohamed Taha. Taha was a religious intellectual who participated in the early days of Sudan's anticolonial struggle, but quickly turned his movement into a religious reform effort based on his radical reading of the Qur'an. He was executed in 1985 for apostasy.

    Decades after returning to the life of an academic in the United States, Howard brings us this memoir of his time with the Republican Brotherhood, who advocated, among other things, equality for women. Modern Muslims describes Howard's path to learning not only about Islam and Sufism but also about Sudan's history and culture. When the Brotherhood was thrust into confrontation with Sudan's then-president Jaafar Nimeiry, Howard had a front-line perspective on the difficult choices communities make as they try to reform and practice their faith freely.

    As well as a story of personal transformation, the book offers an insider's perspective on a modernist nonviolent Islamic movement that thrived and was brutally suppressed. An important book for our times, Modern Muslims yields significant insights for our understanding of modern Islam, African history, and contemporary geopolitics." - Publisher description.