Punishing Violent Thoughts: Islamic Dissent and Thoreauvian Disobedience in Post-9/11 America

Journal of American Studies, Forthcoming

32 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2017 Last revised: 13 Mar 2018

Rebecca Gould

University of Birmingham; Harvard University - Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies

Date Written: August 24, 2017

Abstract

American Muslims increasingly negotiate their relation to a government that is suspicious of Islam, yet which is legally obligated to recognize them as rights-bearing citizens. To better understand how the post-9/11 state is reshaping American Islam, I examine the case of Muslim American dissident Tarek Mehanna, sentenced to seventeen years in prison for providing material support for terrorism, on the basis of his controversial words ("USA v. Mehanna et al," 2012). I situate Mehanna’s writing and reflections within a long history of American activism, in particular the traditions represented by Henry David Thoreau and John Brown.

Note: **Awarded the British Association of American Studies’ Arthur Miller Centre Essay Prize (2018).**

Keywords: American Islam, dissent, terrorism, violence, non-violence, prison writing, Thoreau, Tarek Mehanna

Suggested Citation

Gould, Rebecca, Punishing Violent Thoughts: Islamic Dissent and Thoreauvian Disobedience in Post-9/11 America (August 24, 2017). Journal of American Studies, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3025269

Rebecca Ruth Gould (Contact Author)

University of Birmingham ( email )

School of Languages, Cultures, Art History &Music
Birmingham, UK, Birmingham
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/staff/profiles/artsandlaw/gould-rebecca.aspx

Harvard University - Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies ( email )

1730 Cambridge Street, 3rd Floor
Cambridge, 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://daviscenter.fas.harvard.edu/about-us/people/rebecca-gould

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