Todd Green

Islamophobia Research

Green’s interest in religion relates to how religious communities respond to injustice and various forms of marginalization and oppression, including racism and sexism. “I have a strong interest in how religious communities rely on resources from their respective traditions to envision and work toward a more just, more humane world,” he says.

Green's particular area of research is Islamophobia in the United States and Europe. Islamophobia pertains to the hostility toward Muslims and Islam that is driven by racism and results in discriminatory and violent practices targeting Muslims or those perceived as Muslims. “I often tell my students that one of the reasons I’m so dedicated to this line of research is because lives are at stake. Prejudice toward Muslims fuels hate crimes, deportations, immigration bans, torture, and wars on terror,” he says. “My job is to try to understand what drives this prejudice in an effort to change the policies and practices that put Muslim lives at risk at home and abroad.”

Projects Help Gain Perspective and Educate

Green has been working on two specific projects within the broader field of Islamophobia. “First, I’m researching the growing ties between Islamophobia in the United States and Europe on the one hand, and white nationalist and white supremacist movements on the other. I’m interested in how anxieties about the loss of a ‘white America’ or ‘white Europe’ have fueled political movements that cast Muslims as both racial and religious outsiders,” he says. “Second, I’m exploring the larger pedagogical issues involved in teaching about and against Islamophobia in the college classroom. In particular, I’m interested in what separates teaching about Islam from teaching against Islamophobia.”

Much of Green’s research on Islamophobia is public-facing; that is, he researches and writes on behalf of a broader public and not just for other specialists in the field. “This has led me to spend considerable time traveling the country to speak about Islamophobia for audiences that range from religious and interfaith organizations to civil liberties groups to colleges and universities,” he says. “I’ve also served as an advisor on Islamophobia at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., and I’ve spoken with other government agencies on Islamophobia, including the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.”

Getting Creative with His Courses

Green likes that he’s been given the flexibility to develop courses that are fairly unique and not often found at many other institutions. “For example, I teach a course on Islamophobia, a course that arose from my primary area of research. Not many colleges and universities offer stand-alone courses on Islamophobia,” he says.  

He also teaches a study away course, Islam in Europe, that gives students an up-close perspective on current political and cultural tensions in Europe. Green co-teaches the course with a professor from the social science division, and they take 20–25 students to a variety of European countries to study the political and cultural tensions pertaining to Muslim communities in these countries. “What’s great about the course is that students have an opportunity to see Europe in a different light and study a continent that is struggling to come to terms with its own cultural, racial, and religious diversity,” he says. “Students also have the opportunity to expand their conversation partners on these issues by engaging directly with Muslim leaders, members of Parliament, counterterrorism experts, anti-hate organizations, and journalists. It’s an experience that could never be reproduced in the Luther classroom, and it represents the kind of experiential learning that Luther is increasingly dedicated to in its curriculum.”

Green also teaches an “outside the box” course during J-term for first-year students titled Imagining Religion with the Beatles. He says, “I appreciate how Luther encourages faculty to develop innovative courses that might be hard to find at other colleges or universities.”

Why He Chose a Liberal Arts College

“My experience as a liberal arts undergraduate made me a believer in an education that provides a broad foundation for critical thinking combined with a learning environment that places heavy emphasis on faculty-student relationships and mentoring.”

—Todd Green

What He Enjoys Outside of Luther

“I’m an avid runner. I’ve found it to be a great way to manage the stress and anxiety that comes with adulting. My other personal interests mostly pertain to watching movies and binge-watching great television programs.”

—Todd Green