It has been awhile.  I know.  In the meantime, there have been developments in media discourses of Islam.  Christopher Caldwell’s  Reflections on the Revolution in Europe has received a lot of attention.  Both laudatory and critical reviews.  I’ll comment on this book more once I have finished reading it, but I have a reflection on the way various media representations are framing the question of Islam in the U.S. in relation to the European situation.  It struck me, while reading a column by Ross Douthat  in this week’s New York Times, (that itself pivoted off Caldwell) that one way we can evaluate media articulations of the situation is whether they treat the European situation etically or emically.  Like Coldwell, Douthat begins by treating the European situation etically.  That is, he speaks from the perspective of an outside (American) observer, evaluating the situation with Muslim immigration in terms of the particular policies on the continent.   Beneath this, for both Caldwell and Douthat, seems to lurk an implicit (and problematic) “emic” view that the European experience with Muslim immigration is somehow predictive of the future in the U.S.  It would help if writers such as these would be more explicit about these comparisons and concerns.

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