presenter bios

(following the conference schedule)

Keynote Speaker
Juliane Hammer
is Associate Professor and Kenan Rifai Scholar of Islamic Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work centers on American Muslims, Muslim women’s and gender studies, and theory and method in the study of Islam, among other topics. She is the author of numerous articles, and books, the most recent of which is American Muslim Women, Religious Authority, and Activism: More Than a Prayer (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2012).

Panel I: Islam & the Humanities after Orientalism
Caleb Elfenbein is Assistant Professor in the Departments of History and Religious Studies at Grinnell College. His work addresses histories of the modern Middle East, religion and modernity, histories of Islamist thought, comparative colonial and intellectual history, and British social and intellectual history. His paper is titled “Sayyid Qutb and a Global Tradition of Modern Social Thought.”

Chiara Formichi is Assistant Professor in Southeast Asian Humanities (Islam) at Cornell University. Her scholarship contributes to shaping the hybrid field of “Southeast Asian Islamic Studies.” Chiara’s research has focused on manifestations of Islam in the region through the double lens of Islamic Studies and Area Studies, rejecting the simplistic frame of localized Islam.” Her publications have addressed the themes of political Islam and nationalism, secularism as a marker of modernity, and issues of sectarianism, orthodoxy and pluralism. Publications include the monograph Islam and the making of the nation: Kartosuwiryo and political Islam in 20th century Indonesia (2012, KITLV), the edited volumes Shi’ism in Southeast Asia (2014, Hurst&Co.), and Religious Pluralism, State and Society in Asia (2013, Routledge), and a number of book chapters and journal articles.​ Her paper is titled “Crossing Boundaries: Islamic Studies or Asian Studies? Islam in (Southeast) Asia.”

Jan Felix Englehardt is coordinator of the German-wide postgraduate program Islamic Theology, a joint initiative by seven German universities and the central program for Muslim PhD students in the recently established academic discipline of Islamic Theology. Having earned his B.A. and MPhil degree in Islamic studies in Bonn, Istanbul and Leiden, Mr. Engelhardt is currently completing a PhD thesis analyzing the establishment of Islamic Theology as an academic discipline at Western universities. His paper is titled “Islamic Studies, Islamic Theology: the Insider/Outsider Dichotomy of Knowledge in Islam in the German Case.”

Khurram Hussain has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion Studies at Lehigh University since 2012. He received his PhD. from the Religious Studies Dept. at Yale University in 2011 with a specialization in Ethics, with a special focus on modern Islamic thought. He is currently working on adapting his dissertation titled “Islam as Critique” into a book manuscript for publication in the near future. It presents the work of 19th century Indian Muslim reformer Sayyid Ahmad Khan as a possible mediatory discourse between modern Islamic ways of looking at the world and the normative infrastructure of Western modernity. His paper is titled “Islam as Critique.”

Panel II: Critical Pedagogies and Pedagogy as Criticism
Kathleen Foody is Assistant Professor of International Studies at the College of Charleston. She completed her PhD in 2012 in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her current research project deals with the interplay between Muslim and non-Muslim understandings of religiosity and modernity in the twentieth century. Kathleen’s research interests include Islamic models of religious authority, representations of religious violence and religious tolerance, and theories of secularity. Her paper is titled “Bringing Religion Back from the War on Terror to Secular Classrooms.”

Ata Anzali joined the Religion Department at Middlebury College in the fall of 2012 as an Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies right after receiving his PhD from the department of Religious Studies at Rice University. His current research project focuses on the early modern developments of Sufism in Persia. Other topics of interest are theories and methods in the study of religion, the comparative study of mysticism and religion, the early history of Islam and the Qur’an, Persian culture and civilization, and modern religious reform movements in the Middle East.His paper is titled, “Teaching Islam with an Eye on Comparative Religions.”

Amy Allocco is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Distinguished Emerging Scholar at Elon University, and will be a respondent and moderator for the “Critical Pedagogies and Pedagogy as Criticism” panel.

Panel III: New Methods, New Frontiers
Matthew Hotham is a PhD candidate in Religious Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and Instructor of Religious Studies at Elon University. His research interests include Sufism, mysticism, the body in religion, and women & gender in Islam. His dissertation, titled “Seeing God with Both Eyes: The Prophet as Paradigmatic Mystic in the Quintet of Nizami Ganjavi (d. 1209),” investigates portrayals of Muhammad’s embodied ascension in the introductions to Nizami Ganjavi’s epic poems. Matthew’s paper is titled “God-dogs and Dog-hearts: Medieval Sufism in Conversation with Animality Studies.”

Megan Goodwin is the 2014-2016 Bates College Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow for Creative and Innovative Pedagogy in the Humanities, specializing in Religion and Culture. Her research focuses on gender and sexuality in contemporary American minority religions. Her paper is “Sleeping with the Enemy: Domestic Terrorism and Contraceptive Nationalism in Not Without My Daughter.”

Nicholaus Pumphrey is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas. He has a Master’s Degree in Hebrew Bible from Vanderbilt University and a PhD in Hebrew Bible from Claremont Graduate University.  His dissertation focused on comparing ideas of monotheism in Babylonian Literature, the book of Genesis and in the Qur’an. Nicholaus has published works on Pop Culture and Religion and he is especially interested in the study of comic books and religion. His paper is titled “Avenger, Mutant, or Allah: the short evolution of the depiction of Muslims in Marvel Comics.”

Panel IV: (Keynote Panel) Islam in/and the Humanities
Bogac Ergene 
is Associate Professor of History at the University of Vermont. He is the author of Local Court, Provincial Society and Justice in the Ottoman Empire: Legal Practice and Dispute Resolution in Çankırı and Kastamonu (1652-1744) (Boston and Leiden: Brill, 2003) and editor of Judicial Practice: Institutions and Agents in the Islamic World (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2009). In addition, he published articles in major history, law, and economic history journals. Ergene has recently completed a long-term research project on “Law and Economics” in the Ottoman Empire. He is now exploring the theme of political and administrative corruption in the early-modern Middle East.

A. Kevin Reinhart is Associate Professor of Religion at Dartmouth College. His research focuses on Islamic legal thought, primarily in the pre-modern period, and the contemporary appropriation of the Islamic heritage. His book, Before Revelation: The Boundaries of Muslim Moral Knowledge, which is a study of Islamic theories of moral knowledge, was published by SUNY Press in 1995. He has just finished a book on the variety of Islamic practices in different locales. He is currently involved in projects in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

Sajida Jalalzai is Assistant Professor of Religion at Saint Michael’s College. Her dissertation research focused on Muslim leadership education in North America, based on ethnographic work conducted at several Protestant-affiliated theological schools in the United States and Canada that offer various types of Muslim leadership training programs: Hartford Seminary (Hartford, CT), Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto (Toronto, ON), and Claremont-Lincoln University (Claremont, CA). Her research analyzes the formation of North American Islamic authority in intellectual and educational milieus characterized by a dominant Protestant Christian culture.

This panel also features Juliane Hammer, whose full bio is above.

Conference Organizers

Zahra Ayubi is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Dartmouth College. Her research is on women and gender in prescriptive discourses and ethical thought in both pre-modern and modern Islam. Her scholarship is a feminist engagement with the Islamic intellectual tradition that seeks to advance understandings of the ways that gender is constructed in Islamic philosophy and operates in historical and contemporary transnational Muslim communities.

Ilyse R. Morgenstein Fuerst is Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Vermont. Her research deals with Islam in South Asia, historiography, and the development of theories of religion. She is completing a manuscript titled Indian Muslim Minorities and the 1857 Rebellion: Religion, Rebels and Jihad, which traces the impact of the Sepoy Rebellion upon definitions of religion, Islam, and Muslim subjects.