Religious Studies Welcomes Islamic Studies Professor

Dr. Juliane Hammer hopes to add to Mason’s religious diversity and cross-cultural understanding.

by B.J. Koubaroulis

This fall, the Religious Studies Department welcomes Dr. Juliane Hammer to its distinguished list of professors.

Dr. Hammer, who received her PhD in Islamic studies from Humboldt University in Berlin, has a wealth of experience in teaching Islamic studies, having taught at Princeton, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Elon University.

She was also a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University.

Her areas of expertise include American Muslim women, Islamic education and Muslim thought in North America, Muslims in Europe, women and gender issues in Islam, Muslims and media representations, as well as Palestinian diaspora communities.

“I am excited about the existing minor program in Islamic studies and hope that my courses and my research will be a meaningful contribution to the program and the university at large,” said Hammer. “George Mason University has a significant Muslim student population and is exceptionally diverse. Because of its location so close to Washington, D.C., I expect my knowledge and teaching to be of relevance for students and colleagues interested in global affairs, religious diversity, and cross-cultural understanding. American Muslims are our neighbors and colleagues and have made significant contributions to American society, past and present. Studying their histories, experiences and institutions can also teach us about the dynamics of American society and our approaches to religion, diversity and politics.

Hammer is fluent in German, English, and Arabic and has reading ability in Russian and Persian and is learning Turkish

Her appointment is in line with George Mason University’s commitment to becoming a place of global learning.

“To a department whose faculty are drawn from East and South Asia, Scotland and the U.S., Dr. Hammer will bring a European dimension,” said Religious Studies faculty member John Burns. “Her work on Muslim women in the U.S. and Palestinians in a global or Diaspora context is extremely relevant and will allow the religious studies department to increase its already strong presence.

In addition to publishing dozens of journal articles and book chapters, Hammer has published three books about Palestinian society and diaspora experiences, as well as a co-edited collection on “Critiques of the West.”

Forthcoming are another co-edited journal issue on “Muslims and Media” and a monograph on American Muslim women and gender discourses.

“Students are confronted with globalization with its positive and negative effects on a daily basis,” Hammer said. “In my teaching, I emphasize the interconnectedness of current issues and global affairs with global history and the necessity of looking at the world from different perspectives.”

Hammer’s research interests include the intersection of gender issues, intellectual production and the significant presence of Muslims communities in North America.

She has organized and participated in several workshops and symposiums at universities around the world, including Oxford, Princeton, Harvard, and Humboldt.

“Understanding the dynamics of religious expression and religious life as well as the contested role of religion in the public sphere should be of paramount importance for all students regardless of their field of study or future career,” Hammer said.