Ghani, Aysha


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Grad Status: 
Dissertation Writer

Based on 18 months of fieldwork in New York City, Aisha Ghani's dissertation - Questioning Terrorism: Islam, Religious Violence, & Secular Law in the United States - explores the ways in which secular law intervenes in defining, regulating, and containing Islam through terrorism cases. Through ethnographic data culled from seven domestic terrorism trials, three Muslim civil liberties organizations, and the families and friends of terrorism defendants, the dissertation argues that what is at stake in terrorism prosecutions is not merely the elimination of violence, but also forms of Islamic thought and practice deemed to exceed the secular state's definition of legal or "permissible" religion. What can the social and legal life of terrorism cases - both inside and outside of terrorism courts - reveal about the contradictions, contingencies and anxieties of the secular security state, as well as Muslims in America today? In conversation with the rich and vibrant body of anthropological scholarship on law, secularism and religion, Aisha Ghani's doctoral research explores the co-constitutive relationship between Islam and secular law, particularly after 9/11.