Fareen Parvez

Senior Research Scholar

Fareen Parvez

Fareen Parvez is an ethnographer, whose work engages resistance by asking how poor and subaltern communities carve out spaces of autonomy from the state in various domains such as health, moral and spiritual education, and economic survival. Her award-winning book, Politicizing Islam: the Islamic Revival in France and India (Oxford University Press, 2017), drew on two years of participant observation among Muslim communities in France and India. It explored how different varieties of secularism influence political action, mobilization, and in some cases withdrawal from the state and public sphere among poor and racialized Muslims living under the War of Terror and rise of nationalist politics. 

Her current projects include (1) predatory lending in urban India and possibilities for poor communities to undermine relations and structures of life-long debt, (2) spirit possession in Morocco as a practice of coping with trauma and gender and sexual norms, and (3) the future of la ZAD, Europe’s largest land occupation, near the French coastal city of Nantes. All three projects deal with different forms of injustice, resistance, and meaning-making in various contexts of exploitation, marginalization, and state negligence or repression.

Fareen’s background in activism began with struggles against the dismantling of immigrant rights and affirmative action in the US as well as domestic violence awareness and counseling. Currently, she has been involved in humanitarian and resistance efforts among Rohingya refugees in India. And locally, she works with ARISE for Social Justice in Springfield, in areas such as homelessness and popular education.

Her work has been awarded by the American Sociological Association and the Society for the Study of Social Problems. She has received fellowships from the Social Science Research Council’s New Directions in the Study of Prayer, the American Institute of India Studies, and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Fareen is a 2019-20 residential fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton.

French Muslims and the Subversive Call of Intersectionality
Islamophobia occupies a central place in France’s “culture wars.”
by Z. Fareen Parvez May 19, 2021 in the Georgetown University Berklely Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs Forum

Parvez: A New International Movement for Debt Justice 
The flourishing of debt resistance around the world makes this an inspirational moment to strategize around debt justice.
by Fareen Parvez  July 14, 2020 in the Progressive International Briefing

Long Before COVID-19, Muslim Communities in India Built Solidarity Through Mutual Aid
For many marginalized communities in the Global South, cooperation and care are deeply embedded in everyday life.
by Fareen Parvez  July 10, 2020 in Waging Nonviolence