At the American Academy of Religion's 1007 Annual Meeting in San Diego, Diane Winston will preside over a panel titled “Sleeper Cell: Viewing Religion, Race, and Terrorism in a Post-9/11 World” on Saturday, November 17th from 1:00 – 3:30 pm.
Kamran Pasha, Santa Monica, CA
Horace Newcomb, University of Georgia
Amir Hussain, Loyola Marymount University
Anthea Butler, University of Rochester
“Until you make peace with Islam … on our terms.” The tagline for the Showtime series, Sleeper Cell, which debuted in 2005 is a provocative entree into the world of a group of Los Angeles-based extremist Muslims and the FBI agent assigned to infiltrate them. Drawing on contemporary events, the show animates discussions on religious freedom and religious fears. Kamran Pasha, co-producer and writer for Sleeper Cell, will be joined by television and religious studies scholars to discuss the series' history and development, as well as the politics of religious and racial representation. Questions which the panel will explore include: How does the series contribute to the discourse on Islam and terrorism? Does it simply project the fears of its audience? Or does it offer a chance for dialogue? More broadly, what role does the medium of television play in shaping public attitudes and civil religious debate, especially in relation to hot-button issues such as the War on Terror?