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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Education Notes: Islamic History and Culture Experts

Posted: August 14, 2008

AUSTIN, Texas — Followers of the faith of Islam will celebrate Ramadan, one of the religion's most important observances, beginning at sunset Aug. 31 through Sept. 30. Scholars at The University of Texas at Austin are available to discuss the Islamic faith, history and culture from a variety of perspectives.

Islam and the Quran
Kamran Aghaie
Associate Professor, Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Director, Center for Middle Eastern Studies
512-475-6400
kamrana@mail.utexas.edu

Aghaie teaches courses on the prophets of Islam, the Quran and Islamic mysticism and spirituality. He is the author of "The Women of Karbala: The Gender Dynamics of Ritual and Performances and Symbolic Discourses of Modern Shi'i Islam" and "The Martyrs of Karbala: Shi'i Symbols and Rituals in Modern Iran."

Understanding the Veil
Faegheh (Fawn) Shirazi
Associate Professor, Department of Middle Eastern Studies
512-471-1365
fshirazi@uts.cc.utexas.edu

Shirazi studies material culture and its influence on gender identity in Muslim societies. She is the author of "The Veil Unveiled: The Hijab in Modern Culture," which reveals the political, religious and cultural significance of the veil, and the forthcoming book "Velvet Jihad: Muslim Women's Quiet Resistance to Islamic Fundamentalism." Learn more in the feature story "Behind the Veil."

Translating the Arab World
Kristen Brustad
Associate Professor, Department of Middle Eastern Studies
512-471-9198
brustad@mail.utexas.edu

Mahmoud Al-Batal
Associate Professor, Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Director, Center for Arabic Study Abroad
512-471-3463
albatal@mail.utexas.edu

The phrase "Arab world," which refers to people who speak Arabic as their first language, is often misused, mistakenly viewed as synonymous with the Muslim world. Brustad and Al-Batal educate students about many of the assumptions Westerners hold about religion and culture in the Middle East. Learn more about their research and teaching in the feature story "Translating the Arab World."

Arabic Literature and Islamic Culture
Samer Ali
Associate Professor, Department of Middle Eastern Studies
512-471-3881
saali@mail.utexas.edu

Ali studies Arabic literature, Islamic art, culture and kingship, and Arab women poets. He is the author of the forthcoming book "Arabic Literary Salons in the Islamic Middle Ages."

The Spread of Islam in South Asia
Syed Akbar Hyder
Associate Professor, Department of Asian Studies
Director, Islamic Studies Program
512-475-6031
shyder@mail.utexas.edu

Though Islam is often associated with the Middle East, the majority of Muslims live in Asia and India. Hyder can discuss the role of Islam in South Asia, Shiism, Islamic mysticism (Sufism), and Urdu language and literature.

Gender, Family Planning and Islam
Kamran Ali
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
512-471-7531
asdar@mail.utexas.edu

Ali is the author of "Planning the Family in Egypt: New Bodies, New Selves" and the forthcoming book "Gendering Urban Space in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa." He studies urban social history in the Middle East, as well as gender and health issues in the Muslim world.

Women and Islamic Law
Hina Azam
Assistant Professor, Department of Middle Eastern Studies
512-475-8393
hina.azam@mail.utexas.edu

Azam teaches courses in Islamic studies and Islamic law, and researches the role of women in Islam. She can discuss patriarchy in Muslim societies.

Mounira Charrad
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
512-232-6311
charrad@austin.utexas.edu

Charrad's research addresses women's rights, Islamic law and citizenship in the Middle East and North Africa. She is the author of "States and Women's Rights: The Making of Postcolonial Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco." Her research has earned support from the Mellon Foundation, Aga Khan Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution.

Gail Minault
Professor, Department of History
512-475-7214
gminault@mail.utexas.edu

Minault studies the history of India, including religion and politics, and intellectual and social history. She is the author of "Secluded Scholars: Women's Education and Muslim Reform in Colonial India" and editor of "The Extended Family: Women and Political Participation in India and Pakistan."

Denise Spellberg
Associate Professor, Department of History
512-475-7202
dams@mail.utexas.edu

Spellberg teaches courses on Middle East history and religion, and gender in Islamic history. She is the author of "Politics, Gender, and the Islamic Past."

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