Center Welcomes New Director

Dr. Barbara Stowasser is no stranger to the CCAS directorship, having served in the role from 1993-2003 and from 2006-2007. We are grateful for her return.

Dr. Stowasser holds an M.A. in Middle Eastern studies from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Ph.D. (magna cum laude) in comparative semitics and Islamic studies from the University of Munster, Germany. She also studied at the Universities of Frankfurt, Erlangen, and Mainz in Germany, Ankara in Turkey, and the American University in Cairo. Dr. Stowasser has taught at Georgetown University since 1966. She developed and taught all the graduate courses on Qur’anic tafsir and introduced the study of Islam and gender into the Georgetown curriculum. She was named the holder of the Sultanate of Oman Chair in Arabic and Islamic Literature earlier this year.

Dr. Stowasser has been the recipient of many grants and fellowships, including those from the Fulbright Program, the Social Science Research Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1998-1999 she served as President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America.

During the past several decades, Dr. Stowasser’s research and publications have focused on Islam and gender, which has made her one of the early pioneers on this topic in the West. Her best-known and most popular publication is Oxford University Press’s Women in the Qur’an, Traditions and Interpretation (1994), translated into Danish (Carsten Niebuhr Institute, University of Copenhagen, in their “modern classic” series, 2008). She also edited and contributed to a book on contemporary Islam titled The Islamic Impulse (1987, reprinted 1989), and co-edited and contributed to the volume Islamic Law and the Challenges of Modernity (2004). In addition, she wrote a monograph on classical Arabic philosophy of history, and composed several early pieces on Arabic linguistics. She has also published many invited book chapters and journal articles.

In addition to serving as CCAS’s director, Dr. Stowasser was Chair of the Department of Arabic (now the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, in Georgetown College) from 1980-1984 and from 1985-1991.