New Courses Come discover what the Religion Department has for next year!

The Religion Department has a new professor! Dr. Kameliya Atanasova is W&L's new professor of Islamic religion and history beginning in the fall. She is teaching two new classes.


REL 284: Gender, Sexuality, and Islam

How have issues of gender and sexuality in Medieval and Modern Islamic societies been debated across the Middle East, South Asia, and the West? Students examine scholarly and public discussions of gender and Islam, and they build a vocabulary in which to talk about women. queer, and intersex history as they concern Muslim societies and their foundational sources in their regional and historical contexts. No prior knowledge of Islam is necessary.


REL 381: Islamic Law in Society

This seminar introduces students to the Islamic understanding of shari'a ("Path," "law") and its role in Muslim culture, history, and society. To be examined are: the key sources of law in the Qur'an and the model of the Prophet Muhammad, the early development of Islamic legal theories and institutions, the roles of these institutions in everyday life, and the struggle to re-imagine Islamic law and its place in contemporary Muslim communities. Case studies include the nature of political institutions, the rights and roles of women, and Islamic economics, courtroom procedure and the standing of shari'a in American courts.


About Dr. Kameliya Atanasova

Prof. Atanasova researches the important roles Sufism and Sufis played in the intellectual and social history of the Ottoman Empire between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. Her current project examines how Sufi (auto)biographical writing can provide scholars of religious history with glimpses into the institutional life of Sufi orders, helping to correct long-standing views that artificially separate the political from the "mystical." She also explores how Sufi masters modeled their relationship to the Ottoman state, especially its military, using advice literature addressed to high-ranking officials-works which remain largely untranslated into any modern European languages.

Prof. Atanasova received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. She was previously Visiting Assistant Professor at Haverford College, where she taught courses on Sufism, gender and sexuality in Islam, and animals in religion. Her upcoming courses at W&L include History of Islamic Civilization, Sufism: Islamic Mysticism, and Islamic law.