My first book manuscript, Believing in South Central: Everyday Islam in an Inner City, provides a narrative-driven account of everyday life inside an African American Muslim community located in one of LA's most storied neighborhoods. Islam is the second largest and fastest growing African American religion, with more than one million committed followers and millions more passing through at some point in their lives. Drawing on more than six years of fieldwork, the book situates Islam’s unique appeal among African Americans in the local contours of struggle and upheaval that shape black urban life. I examine what believers do within an Islamic framework to help each other combat social inequalities. At its core, the book is about believers' struggles, hopes, and the changing ways Islam informs both. By bringing a religious dimension back into analyses of contemporary urban life, the book offers a fresh perspective on recent scholarly debates about the role of culture in the reproduction of inequality as well as larger discussions about Islam in American public life.
Articles from this research also appear in Gender & Society and City & Community.