100 books like Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire

By Deepa Kumar,

Here are 100 books that Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire fans have personally recommended if you like Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Muslims Are Coming: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror

Evelyn Alsultany Author Of Broken: The Failed Promise of Muslim Inclusion

From my list on Islamophobia and the War on Terror.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in New York City in the 1980s as an Arab Latina American Muslim, which shaped my interest in who is considered American. Back then, there was no language to talk about my experience of marginalization as Arab or Muslim. That changed after 9/11 and the War on Terror. A decade after that, the term “Islamophobia” entered the US lexicon, leading to social recognition of this form of discrimination, and many important debates about what constitutes Islamophobia. I made my career exploring how Arabs and Muslims figure into US racial politics, and am currently a professor of US Ethnic Studies at the University of Southern California.

Evelyn's book list on Islamophobia and the War on Terror

Evelyn Alsultany Why did Evelyn love this book?

This is the kind of book I wish government officials would read to devise better policies.

Kundnani challenges what we think we know about terrorism perpetrated by Muslim extremists. After 9/11, many terrorism experts devised theories to explain terrorism and figure out ways to prevent it, particularly “radicalization.” Kundnani takes these theories to task.

By identifying root causes in cultural-psychological predispositions, they fail to address political root causes. As a result, Kundnani argues, such theories justify restrictions on civil liberties for Muslims and mosque surveillance, fueling Islamophobia.

By Arun Kundnani,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Muslims Are Coming as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The new front in the War on Terror is the "homegrown enemy," domestic terrorists who have become the focus of sprawling counterterrorism structures of policing and surveillance in the United States and across Europe. Domestic surveillance has mushroomed - at least 100,000 Muslims in America have been secretly under scrutiny. British police compiled a secret suspect list of more than 8,000 al-Qaeda "sympathizers," and in another operation included almost 300 children fifteen and under among the potential extremists investigated. MI5 doubled in size in just five years. Based on several years of research and reportage, in locations as disparate as…


Book cover of A Global Racial Enemy: Muslims and 21st-Century Racism

Evelyn Alsultany Author Of Broken: The Failed Promise of Muslim Inclusion

From my list on Islamophobia and the War on Terror.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in New York City in the 1980s as an Arab Latina American Muslim, which shaped my interest in who is considered American. Back then, there was no language to talk about my experience of marginalization as Arab or Muslim. That changed after 9/11 and the War on Terror. A decade after that, the term “Islamophobia” entered the US lexicon, leading to social recognition of this form of discrimination, and many important debates about what constitutes Islamophobia. I made my career exploring how Arabs and Muslims figure into US racial politics, and am currently a professor of US Ethnic Studies at the University of Southern California.

Evelyn's book list on Islamophobia and the War on Terror

Evelyn Alsultany Why did Evelyn love this book?

I write about Islamophobia in the US but often wonder how it manifests in other countries. I now know where to go for answers.

This book examines Muslim racialization in four countries – the US, the UK, India, and China. It takes readers through the history of Islamophobia in each country, examining the role of media in stereotyping and Othering Muslims. Importantly, the book also explains how anti-Muslim racism has figured in recent ethnonationalist movements and counterterrorism policies.

By Saher Selod, Inaash Islam, Steve Garner

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Global Racial Enemy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Prejudice against Muslims has a long and complex history, shaped over many centuries. In recent decades, discrimination, violence, and human rights abuses against Muslims have taken a significant turn, with rising reports and discussions of Islamophobia across the globe. However, as the authors of A Global Racial Enemy argue, much of the conversation has missed the key features of this increasingly insidious phenomenon.

This original book puts race at the center of the analysis, exposing the global racialization of Muslims. With special attention paid to the United States, China, India, and the United Kingdom, the authors examine both the unique…


Book cover of Nothing Has to Make Sense: Upholding White Supremacy through Anti-Muslim Racism

Evelyn Alsultany Author Of Broken: The Failed Promise of Muslim Inclusion

From my list on Islamophobia and the War on Terror.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in New York City in the 1980s as an Arab Latina American Muslim, which shaped my interest in who is considered American. Back then, there was no language to talk about my experience of marginalization as Arab or Muslim. That changed after 9/11 and the War on Terror. A decade after that, the term “Islamophobia” entered the US lexicon, leading to social recognition of this form of discrimination, and many important debates about what constitutes Islamophobia. I made my career exploring how Arabs and Muslims figure into US racial politics, and am currently a professor of US Ethnic Studies at the University of Southern California.

Evelyn's book list on Islamophobia and the War on Terror

Evelyn Alsultany Why did Evelyn love this book?

Did you know that anti-Muslim racism and white supremacy are interrelated?

Razack’s book helps us understand why Islamophobia should be understood as a form of racism rather than religious discrimination. She powerfully shows that anti-Muslim racism is not unique to the political right and does not always take overt forms like “the Muslim ban.” Rather, it can manifest in liberal commitments to Western values of democracy, secularism, and women’s rights.

Razack argues that “anti-Muslim feelings” uphold infrastructures of white supremacy and laws that authorize racial violence.

By Sherene H. Razack,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nothing Has to Make Sense as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How Western nations have consolidated their whiteness through the figure of the Muslim in the post-9/11 world

While much has been written about post-9/11 anti-Muslim racism (often termed Islamophobia), insufficient attention has been given to how anti-Muslim racism operates through law and is a vital part of law's protection of whiteness. This book fills this gap while also providing a unique new global perspective on white supremacy. Sherene H. Razack, a leading critical race and feminist scholar, takes an innovative approach by situating law within media discourses and historical and contemporary realities. We may think of law as logical, but,…


Book cover of An Imperialist Love Story: Desert Romances and the War on Terror

Evelyn Alsultany Author Of Broken: The Failed Promise of Muslim Inclusion

From my list on Islamophobia and the War on Terror.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in New York City in the 1980s as an Arab Latina American Muslim, which shaped my interest in who is considered American. Back then, there was no language to talk about my experience of marginalization as Arab or Muslim. That changed after 9/11 and the War on Terror. A decade after that, the term “Islamophobia” entered the US lexicon, leading to social recognition of this form of discrimination, and many important debates about what constitutes Islamophobia. I made my career exploring how Arabs and Muslims figure into US racial politics, and am currently a professor of US Ethnic Studies at the University of Southern California.

Evelyn's book list on Islamophobia and the War on Terror

Evelyn Alsultany Why did Evelyn love this book?

What do romance novels have to do with U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East? This fascinating book looks at novels featuring rich Arab sheikhs falling in love with white women in “Arabiastan.”

These desert romances date from the 1920s but saw a surge in popularity after 9/11. The sheikh figures falls in love with a white woman and seeks a military alliance with Anglo-US powers to protect his country from “barbaric forces.” Jarmakani dissects how this fantasy genre plays a role in normalizing the War on Terror.

In a surprising twist, she argues that Islamophobia can be perpetuated through desiring the Arab sheikh figure.

By Amira Jarmakani,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Imperialist Love Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A curious figure stalks the pages of a distinct subset of mass-market romance novels, aptly called "desert romances." Animalistic yet sensitive, dark and attractive, the desert prince or sheikh emanates manliness and raw, sexual power. In the years since September 11, 2001, the sheikh character has steadily risen in popularity in romance novels, even while depictions of Arab masculinity as backward and violent in nature have dominated the cultural landscape.


An Imperialist Love Story contributes to the broader conversation about the legacy of orientalist representations of Arabs in Western popular culture. Combining close readings of novels, discursive analysis of blogs…


Book cover of The Will of the People: How Public Opinion Has Influenced the Supreme Court and Shaped the Meaning of the Constitution

Gerald N. Rosenberg Author Of The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change?

From my list on how the U.S. Supreme Court really works.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the 1960s when the Supreme Court was widely praised in liberal circles for its path-breaking decisions protecting rights. Inspired by this vision of rights through law, I went to law school and then to graduate school, including a couple of years in England where I was confronted with skepticism about the role of courts. Are liberal beliefs about the role of the Supreme Court correct? Can courts really produce progressive social change, not just on paper, but in practice? Most of my research and scholarship addresses these questions that go to the heart of the belief that Supreme Court decisions protecting and furthering rights matter.

Gerald's book list on how the U.S. Supreme Court really works

Gerald N. Rosenberg Why did Gerald love this book?

In this majestic study Friedman explores the relationship between public opinion and Supreme Court decisions over American history. 

Friedman’s central argument is that the Supreme Court does not stand apart from the rest of the society in which it operates. Building on the work of Robert McCloskey and Robert Dahl, Friedman argues that over time the Supreme Court reflects the views of society at large. 

The book is very well-researched and filled with fascinating, sometimes delightful, historical tidbits. It is written for an educated general audience.

By Barry Friedman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Will of the People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



In recent years, the justices of the Supreme Court have ruled definitively on such issues as abortion, school prayer, and military tribunals in the war on terror. They decided one of American history’s most contested presidential elections. Yet for all their power, the justices never face election and hold their offices for life. This combination of influence and apparent unaccountability has led many to complain that there is something illegitimate—even undemocratic—about judicial authority.

In The Will of the People, Barry Friedman challenges that claim by showing that the Court has always been subject to a higher power: the American public.…


Book cover of Civil War Monuments and the Militarization of America

Matthew Dennis Author Of American Relics and the Politics of Public Memory

From my list on how and why U.S. monuments have become controversial.

Why am I passionate about this?

Monuments and memorials pepper our public landscape. Many walk right by them, uncurious about who or what’s being honored. I can’t. I’m a historian. I’m driven to learn the substance of the American past, but I also want to know how history itself is constructed, not just by professionals but by common people. I’m fascinated by how “public memory” is interpreted and advanced through monuments. I often love the artistry of these memorial features, but they’re not mere decoration; they mutely speak, saying simple things meant to be conclusive. But as times change previous conclusions can unravel. I’ve long been intrigued by this phenomenon, writing and teaching about it for thirty years.

Matthew's book list on how and why U.S. monuments have become controversial

Matthew Dennis Why did Matthew love this book?

Civil War statues have long been the gold standard for America’s monumental public landscape.

They are the public sculptures and architectural features we are now rediscovering, sometimes with horror, and arguing over, after years of mute service as park furniture and pigeon roosts. Brown’s book is a definitive history of these classic, heroic monuments.

Beautifully written, perceptive, and illuminating, it explains their history, offering readers an engaging and invaluable background and context for understanding how and why they were erected, and how they’ve not only reflected American culture but have propelled it, particularly (as the title suggests) towards militarization and the affirmation of racial and class hierarchies.

Reading Civil War Monuments focuses our view on monumental things all around us that we’ve never really seen.

By Thomas J. Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Civil War Monuments and the Militarization of America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This sweeping new assessment of Civil War monuments unveiled in the United States between the 1860s and 1930s argues that they were pivotal to a national embrace of military values. Americans' wariness of standing armies limited construction of war memorials in the early republic, Thomas J. Brown explains, and continued to influence commemoration after the Civil War. As large cities and small towns across the North and South installed an astonishing range of statues, memorial halls, and other sculptural and architectural tributes to Civil War heroes, communities debated the relationship of military service to civilian life through fund-raising campaigns, artistic…


Book cover of Turks, Moors, and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery

Andrew Hadfield Author Of Amazons, Savages, and Machiavels: Travel and Colonial Writing in English, 1550-1630: An Anthology

From my list on early English travel writing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Professor of English at the University of Sussex. I have worked on a wide range of subjects over the years, mainly about the English Renaissance. I have a long-standing interest in travel and colonial writing, the ways in which the English interacted with other peoples and other places, which started with my interest in Ireland where I studied and which was the subject of my early books. I have broadened my perspective as I have read more on the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Asia, over the years and am committed to uncovering the truth of the uncomfortable, challenging, and fascinating history of the early British Empire.

Andrew's book list on early English travel writing

Andrew Hadfield Why did Andrew love this book?

A comprehensive and helpful survey of English attitudes to the peoples from the Ottoman Empire and North Africa, written in straightforward English with a host of helpful quotations and historical analyses.

A reliable guide to English encounters with peoples from the southern Mediterranean, as they sought to dominate what was then the most strategically important area of the world.

By Nabil Matar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Turks, Moors, and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During the early modern period, hundreds of Turks and Moors traded in English and Welsh ports, dazzled English society with exotic cuisine and Arabian horses, and worked small jobs in London, while the "Barbary Corsairs" raided coastal towns and, if captured, lingered in Plymouth jails or stood trial in Southampton courtrooms. In turn, Britons fought in Muslim armies, traded and settled in Moroccan or Tunisian harbor towns, joined the international community of pirates in Mediterranean and Atlantic outposts, served in Algerian households and ships, and endured captivity from Salee to Alexandria and from Fez to Mocha. In Turks, Moors, and…


Book cover of Faces of Perfect Ebony: Encountering Atlantic Slavery in Imperial Britain

Brooke Newman Author Of A Dark Inheritance: Blood, Race, and Sex in Colonial Jamaica

From my list on Britain and Atlantic slavery.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a historian of early modern Britain and the British Atlantic world who realized years ago that Britain, like the United States, hadn't yet fully acknowledged or come to terms with its involvement in the transatlantic slave trade and African slavery and its global afterlives. Although awareness of Britain's role in the African slave trade and Atlantic slavery has begun to feature more prominently in national consciousness, particularly due to the work of The Movement for Black Lives and calls for an overdue reckoning with the legacies of colonialism, slavery, and racial injustice, much work remains to be done. Using the archival record--as flawed as it may be--to piece together Britain's imperial past, confront calculated historical silences, and track the full extent of British participation in the enslavement of millions of Africans will help to ensure that the histories and voices of enslaved people and their descendants aren't distorted or forgotten by current and future generations.

Brooke's book list on Britain and Atlantic slavery

Brooke Newman Why did Brooke love this book?

A fascinating exploration of how British imperial ambitions influenced popular representations of Black slavery and white mastery during the peak years of Britain’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade (c. 1680s to 1807). Using a wide variety of sources—including shop signs, tea trays, product advertisements, portraiture, graphic satires, plays, and more—Molineux argues that British artists, writers, and shop keepers obscured the horrific realities of Atlantic slavery in favor of idealized power relations that supported Britain’s imperial fantasies and developing racial ideologies.

This book helps to answer the question: what role did Africans and people of African descent play in the British popular imagination during the height of the transatlantic slave trade?

By Catherine Molineux,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Faces of Perfect Ebony as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Though blacks were not often seen on the streets of seventeenth-century London, they were already capturing the British imagination. For two hundred years, as Britain shipped over three million Africans to the New World, popular images of blacks as slaves and servants proliferated in London art, both highbrow and low. Catherine Molineux assembles a surprising array of sources in her exploration of this emerging black presence, from shop signs, tea trays, trading cards, board games, playing cards, and song ballads to more familiar objects such as William Hogarth's graphic satires. By idealizing black servitude and obscuring the brutalities of slavery,…


Book cover of The Paranoid Style in American Politics

Mark Fenster Author Of Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture

From my list on understanding conspiracy theories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a law professor who, among other things, writes about the culture and law of secrecy. I’ve written two books: Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture, the second edition of which was published in 2008, and The Transparency Fix: Secrets, Leaks, and Uncontrollable Government Information (2017). I hold a J.D. from Yale Law School and a Ph.D. from the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and I teach at the University of Florida.

Mark's book list on understanding conspiracy theories

Mark Fenster Why did Mark love this book?

The most influential book on conspiracy theories, by any measure, published in 1966. Its title shouts Hofstadter’s thesis: A longstanding strain in American politics is marginal, dangerous, and a manifestation of political paranoia. Although countless op-ed writers have reduced his thesis to equate conspiracy theory to a paranoid mind, Hofstadter offers in the book’s first half more than simple social psychological analysis of the far right of the 1950s and 1960s, which included Joe McCarthy, Barry Goldwater, and the John Birch Society.

One of the preeminent mid-twentieth century U.S. historians, Hofstadter wrote wonderfully, engaged in big ideas, and if his work ultimately needs updating and deserves critique, Paranoid Style set the terms for a debate that continues today about conspiracy theories’ role in our political order.

By Richard Hofstadter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Paranoid Style in American Politics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This timely reissue of Richard Hofstadter's classic work on the fringe groups that influence American electoral politics offers an invaluable perspective on contemporary domestic affairs.In The Paranoid Style in American Politics, acclaimed historian Richard Hofstadter examines the competing forces in American political discourse and how fringe groups can influence — and derail — the larger agendas of a political party. He investigates the politics of the irrational, shedding light on how the behavior of individuals can seem out of proportion with actual political issues, and how such behavior impacts larger groups. With such other classic essays as “Free Silver and…


Book cover of The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies

Jason Brennan Author Of Democracy: A Guided Tour

From my list on democracy, its promises and perils.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a philosopher by training and professor of economics, ethics, and public policy at Georgetown University’s business school. My work often begins by noting that philosophy debates often take certain empirical claims for granted, claims which turn out to be false or mistaken. Once we realize this mistake, this clears the ground and helps us do better work. I focus on issues in immigration, resistance to state injustice, taboo markets, theories of ideal justice, and democratic theory. I’m also a native New Englander now living near DC, a husband and father, and the guitarist and vocalist in a 70s-80s hard rock cover band.

Jason's book list on democracy, its promises and perils

Jason Brennan Why did Jason love this book?

Political scientists and economists have long argued that voters are rationally ignorant.

On this theory, people tend to acquire and retain information only if the expected benefits exceed the expected costs. This explains why students cram material to pass a test but let themselves forget it afterward, why Americans who speak English at home don’t usually bother to learn a foreign language but so many people learn English, or why you don’t bother attempt to memorize your local phonebook.

It also explains why voters know so little. Since individual votes make so little difference, individual voters can afford to remain ignorant. Political information is a collective action problem: what we know matters, but what any one of us knows does not. 

Caplan adds an innovation. This point also applies to how we think, not just what we know. Political psychologists have long found that voters process what little information they…

By Bryan Caplan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Myth of the Rational Voter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The greatest obstacle to sound economic policy is not entrenched special interests or rampant lobbying, but the popular misconceptions, irrational beliefs, and personal biases held by ordinary voters. This is economist Bryan Caplan's sobering assessment in this provocative and eye-opening book. Caplan argues that voters continually elect politicians who either share their biases or else pretend to, resulting in bad policies winning again and again by popular demand. Boldly calling into question our most basic assumptions about American politics, Caplan contends that democracy fails precisely because it does what voters want. Through an analysis of Americans' voting behavior and opinions…


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