Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Shehnaz Haqqani

PhD Candidate, Islamic Studies; University of Texas at Austin B.A. Emory University,

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.

Profile Pages

External Links

  •   Map
  • Middle Eastern Studies

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