Professor of Politics and Director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity at Ithaca College
Hijri 1369-Present (AH); Common Era 1950-Present (CE)
Born in Pakistan, Asma Barlas was one of the first women to be inducted into the foreign service. In 1983 she left Pakistan after General Zia ul Haq dismissed her for her critical remarks about him and the Pakistani judiciary, and settled in the U.S. After pursuing an impressive academic career, she is now Professor of Politics and Director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity at Ithaca College in New York. She served as Spinoza Chair in Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam in the spring of 2008. Her credentials include a Ph.D. in International Studies from the University of Denver, an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Punjab in Pakistan, and a B.A. in English Literature and Philosophy from Pakistan’s Kinnaird College for Women. Barlas’ varied span of research interests began in graduate school with a study of the politics of military rule and representative democracy (Democracy, Nationalism and Communalism, 1995). In 2002 her focus shifted to the hermeneutics of the Quran, Muslim sexual politics, and relations between Islam and the West (Re-understanding Islam, 2008; Islam, Muslims, and the U.S., 2004; “Believing Women” in Islam, 2002). Currently, she is delving into religious embodiment and violence and has presented two papers on the topic. Her work on the Quran has been translated into Bengali, Indonesian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Urdu, and has been invited to present on it in a number of venues in the U.S. and internationally.