Visiting professor Mahmood to teach spring course on Islam

January 11, 2011

Saba Mahmood, Islamic scholar and associate professor of anthropology at UC Berkeley, has been named PSR Tolson Fellow for Spring 2011. The Tolson Fellowship is a one-semester visiting professor position in which the instructor represents scholarship in a non-Christian religion and comes from a country in which that religion either was founded or is dominant. Professor Mahmood will teach one course, “Modern Islam in Postcolony” (HRRS-5780) which will meet Fridays from 2:10-5:00 pm in Mudd 102.

Mahmood will also present two public lectures in the Badè Museum: "The Right to Religious Liberty and Minorities: A Geopolitical Problem?" on February 14 at 5:30 pm; and "Secularism, Sexuality, and Religious Difference” on March 18 at noon.

Mahmood’s research interests include exploring articulations of secular modernity in postcolonial societies, with particular attention to issues of religion, embodiment, and gender. She also studies the impact of the developed world/developing world divide on the articulation, legislation, and practice of religious freedom.

Her 2005 book, Politics of Piety: the Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject (Princeton University Press) addressed some of these issues through an ethnography of a grassroots women’s piety movement thriving in the mosques of Cairo, Egypt.

PSR's board of trustees plans to bring scholars of Islamic issues to the Tolson Fellowship position for the next three years to build up the course offerings for Islamic studies.