The Assistant Professor of Geography was selected as the 2022-24 CSRCS Scholar to support public scholarship on religion and health.
Waseem bin Kasim, assistant professor of history at Elon University, has been named the 2022-2024 Center for the Study of Religion, Culture and Society (CSRCS) Scholar.
During his term, Kasim will pursue public scholarship projects that connect the legacies of Euro-American colonialism to public health and racial inequities, spearhead the CSRCS’s “Religion Trending” series on religion in the news and develop programming that outlines the global intersections of religion and health. He will assume his position on June 1, 2022.
A historian of West Africa, he has deep research experience throughout the entire continent, especially in Ghana, his home, and in the East African nation of Kenya.
His current book in progress, “Sanitary Segregation: Cleansing Accra and Nairobi, 1908-1962,” examines contrasting “saniscapes” of the colonial governments of Africa that mapped the segregation of rich from poor, Black from white and Muslim from non-Muslim. In a second book project underway, Kasim draws on oral traditions and British colonial archives to examine the ways that Muslims in Ghana constructed identities in the context of colonialism and Christian missionary activity.
Kasim joins the CSRCS with an impressive record of interdisciplinary collaboration and timely public scholarship. At Washington University in St. Louis, he was a member of the Arthur W. Mellon Foundation-supported Divided City Advisory Committee that brought humanities scholars into dialogue with legal scholars, architects, urban designers, sociologists, geographers, GIS cartographers and others to address the persistent global problem of urban segregation. His widely-read 2020 essay in The Metropole on the global reach of the protests following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis examines the colonial roots of the urban inequalities expressed in the protests.
At Elon, Kasim has taught a remarkable range of topics including courses on Africa, the modern Middle East, urban history and Islam.
Kasim will succeed Sandy Marshall, assistant professor of geography, the first CSRCS Scholar who has served in this role since 2020. During his term, Marshall helped the CSRCS transition its operations to the fluid conditions of the pandemic, converting the “Religion Trending” series to an engaging online format and helping to retool the 2021 On the Edge Symposium, “Religion at the Borders,” into a successful virtual conference.
Marshall has also assisted to develop and deliver a full calendar of events that will extend into spring 2022 on topics ranging from Black foodways in the U.S. to indigenous water rights in Alamance County. Marshall has curated two photo exhibitions featuring life along the U.S.-Mexico border and he is organizing a February 2022 symposium on the 20th-century Black Muslim leader in the U.S., W.D. Muhammad. In addition, he has continued to advance his new research on contested religious sites in the West Bank, having presented his work at the Middle Eastern Studies Association and having obtained a research grant from the Palestinian American Research Center to continue field research next year. The CSRCS and the campus is grateful to Marshall for his many contributions to intellectual life at Elon.
Brian Pennington, director of the CSRCS, said that Kasim will bring new strengths to the center. “Dr. Kasim’s work will help us pursue areas that we have not had the resources to fully engage before. His rich knowledge of African history and his enduring interests in public health are critical resources at this moment of global crisis. We are very excited about the work we’ll be able to do together.”