Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Shehnaz Haqqani

MA, University of Texas at Austin

Shehnaz Haqqani



Gender issues, Islamic law, Pashtun migration, Diasporic Islam, Islamic feminist hermeneutics, Female religious authority in Islam, Muslim Televangelism


I graduated from Emory University's Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies department in May 2011. I developed an interest in gender relations in Islamic law during one of my last years at Emory, particularly after conducting research on feminist and progressive interpretations of the Qur'an. My Honors Thesis, “Muslim Televangelists and the Construction of Religious Authority in the Modern World: The Case of Zakir Naik” (Emory University, 2011), examined the influence of a prominent Indian Muslim televangelist, Zakir Naik, on South Asian Muslims; it highlighted the preacher’s role in shaping South Asian Islam, revised traditional understandings of religious authority in Islam, and contributed to scholarship on various claimants’ competition over Islamic religious authority.

My MA thesis, entitled “Gendered Expectations, Personal Choice, and Social Compatibility in Western Muslim Marriages” (UT Austin, 2013), explored major themes surrounding Western Muslim marriages, including ideas of marital compatibility and parental authority in these marriages.

An ethnic Pashtun, I speak Pashto, Urdu, and Arabic and currently study French; I have plans to continue studying Persian, of which I have completed one academic year.

I blog regularly (, often covering themes on religion and gender matters in Pashtun and Western Muslim societies.


ISL F372 • Muslim Women: Past/Pres II

84108 • Summer 2017
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:30PM PHR 2.114
(also listed as R S F358, WGS F340)

This course focuses on different approaches to understanding questions of women and Islam. We will study historical, “traditional,” and “modern” views on women in Muslim societies around the world. Students will demonstrate knowledge of global processes including current global economics, global politics, and cultural issue as they influence conversations about Islam and women in relation to the rest of the world. The class provides students an opportunity to think critically about, in particular, the ways in which Muslim women are (re)presented and the ways in which they challenge these (re)presentations not only in the contemporary western imagination but also according to traditional Muslim (re)presentations of gender. Upon completion of this course, students will have gained theoretical knowledge on women and Islam; they will also have been introduced to the now popular phenomenon of Islamic feminism. Students will also learn to engage critically with primary and secondary Islamic sources on women, and enhance their thinking and debating skills in order to defend and challenge different perspectives. An important question we will discuss throughout the course is: What is Islam? What makes something Islamic or un-Islamic?  This class does not require any pre-requisite knowledge of feminist theory, women’s studies, or Islamic studies.



  • Ahmed, Leila. Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate (Yale University Press, 1993)
  • Amina Wadud, Qurʼan and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective. [2nd ed.] (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999).
  • Kecia Ali, Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur'an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence. [2nd ed.] (Oxford, England: Oneworld Pub., 2015).
  • The Qur’an – any translation will work 
  • Book chapters, excerpts, and articles to be provided by instructor 


  • Attendance and class participation: 10% total
  • Essays, 3 total (3-4 pages each):  10% each, 30% total
  • Final Exam: 20% 
  • Pop Quizzes: 10% total
  • Weekly blogs: 15%
  • Class Debates, 3 total: 5% each, 15% total

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    The University of Texas at Austin
    204 W 21st Street Stop F9400
    Calhoun Hall (CAL) 528
    Austin, TX 78712