AAR Member Spotlight

Shenila Khoja-Moolji

Shenila Khoja-Moolji (she/her) is an assistant professor of gender, sexuality, and women's studies at Bowdoin College working at the intersections of gender, Islam, and South Asian studies. She is the author of two award-winning books, Forging the Ideal Educated Girl: The Production of Desirable Subjects in Muslim South Asia (2018) and Sovereign Attachments: Masculinity, Muslimness, and Affective Politics in Pakistan (2021). She is currently working on a book that traces the transnational lives of displaced Shia Ismaili Muslim women, which will be published by Oxford University Press. Khoja-Moolji has been an AAR member since 2010.

Why did you get involved with AAR and how is your work aligned?

I examine wide-ranging issues across Gender and Islam, from humanitarian care and political violence to Muslim ethics and migrant belongings. AAR offers me the ability to participate in an intellectual community with scholars working on similar concerns. In particular, I regularly engage with the units on: Study of Islam; Contemporary Islam; Islam, Gender, Women; Anthropology of Religion; Body and Religion; Class, Religion and Theology; and Ethics.

What is your area of expertise or field of study?

I am an interdisciplinary scholar working at the intersections of Gender, Islamic, and South Asian studies. My books thus far have focused on Muslim girlhood(s), masculinities and sovereignty, and Ismaili Muslim women's history. I investigate these topics empirically in relation to Muslims in South Asia and in the North American diaspora.

How has AAR been beneficial to you and your career?

I always look forward to sessions organized by the Islam, Gender, Women (IGW) program unit of the AAR. Their workshop format—where scholars share work-in-progress and participants respond with feedback—can be extremely helpful to get one’s writing to the next stage. In fact, earlier this year, I submitted a chapter from the book I am currently working on, and found the respondents’ comments, as well as the large group discussion, quite insightful and thought provoking.

What book is on your nightstand that you're reading or intend to read in the future?

I just finished reading Todne Thomas’ beautiful book, Kincraft: The Making of Black Evangelical Sociality. It’s an ethnographic account of community life among black evangelicals and shows us how members practice spiritual kinship.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I serve as a member on the Ismaili Tariqa and Religious Education Board for the United States, focusing in particular on tracing and articulating modes of belonging experienced by both migrant and American-born Ismailis.

About Member Spotlight

This feature is devoted to profiling AAR members making waves in their departments, institutions, and communities—as well as AAR at large!

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