I have served as the Center's director since 2006 (and Founding Director from 1999-2002) and will be returning to the Politics department this Fall, which is where I was initially hired in 1991. I also held the Spinoza Chair in Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands in 2008. My career path, however, began in 1976 when I joined Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a diplomat, a post from which I was later fired for criticizing the country's military dictator, General Zia ul Haq. I then worked as the assistant editor of the Muslim, an opposition newspaper, before leaving for the U.S. where I eventually received political asylum. In Pakistan, I also published poetry and short-stories.
Most of my research and writing explore different forms-- colonial, sexual, racial, epistemic-- of violence and oppression. In my Ph.D. dissertation, I traced the genealogy of military rule in Pakistan to British colonialism in South Asia (Democracy, Nationalism and Communalism: The Colonial Legacy in South Asia,1995). After I began teaching at Ithaca, I became interested in Muslim sexual/ textual politics, specifically, in interpretations of Islam's scripture that justify women's oppression ("Believing Women" in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur'an, 2002). In the wake of 9/11/2001, this interest shifted to looking at forms of epistemic and polemical violence against Islam/ Muslims in the West (Islam, Muslims and the U.S., 2004; Re- understanding Islam, 2008). More recently, I've written about Muslim bodies, differing narratives of Abraham's sacrifice, and Islamic feminism. My most recent essays, on the Qur'an and Islam, have been published in the Oxford Handbook of Theology, Sexuality, and Gender and Patriarchal Moments, part of Bloomsbury Academic's Series, Textual Moments in the History of Political Thought, (U.K.).
To my good fortune, my work on the Qur'an has been translated into a number of languages (Arabic, Bengali, Indonesian, Urdu, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch and German) and I've also been invited to speak about it in several countries. I have particularly appreciated doing so in Indonesia, Granada (Spain), Russia, Turkey, the Netherlands, Egypt, and Iceland.
I have a B.A. in English Literature and Philosophy and an M.A. in Journalism (with honors), from Pakistan and an M.A. and Ph.D. (with distinction) in International Studies, from the U.S.