Attiya Ahmad Joins FGSS, Religion Department

Attiya Ahmad is teaching courses on Islam and Muslim Cultures and Feminist Theories.

Cultural Anthropologist Attiya Ahmad joined the Religion Department and Feminism, Gender and Sexuality Studies program as an assistant professor.

In the Religion Department, she is teaching a course titled Islam and Muslim Cultures, which familiarizes students with the basic teachings and practices of Islam and examines commonalties and diversity in how Islam has been and continues to be practiced by Muslims. In FGSS, she is teaching a class on Feminist Theories.

“Wes is a wonderfully collegial and dynamic intellectual milieu, one that emphasizes both scholarship and teaching,” she says. “This is my first teaching appointment, and I am really relishing learning how to become a more effective teacher by having such bright and dedicated students.”

Ahmad is currently researching transnational Islamic charity networks between West and South Asia and continuing work on a project examining the interrelations between transnational domestic workers and globalizing Islamic dawa movements in the Arab Gulf states.  Previously she has conducted research on transnational Pakistani Islamic reform movement networks spanning Toronto, Kuwait City, Dubai and Islamabad, Pakistan; and on the circulation and viewing of South Asian wedding videos and Bollywood films in Toronto. Much of her research focuses on the interrelation between religious practices and beliefs and gendered political economic relations.

Ahmad comes to Wesleyan from Georgetown University, where she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for International and Regional Studies – Qatar.

She has a B.A. from the Specialist Cooperative Program in International Development Studies at the University of Toronto at Scarborough; a M.A. from the Department of Socio-Cultural Anthropology at the University of Toronto; and a Ph.D. from the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. Her dissertation was titled, “Limits of Conversion: Islamic Dawa, Domestic Work and South Asian: Migrant Women in Kuwait.”

At Duke, she focused her studies on global Islam, transnational social formations, migration, domestic work, gender, the Arabian/Persian Gulf region and South Asia. She is fluent in French, spoken Urdu and colloquial Arabic from the Sham and Khaleej regions near the Persian Gulf.

Ahmad is the author of three forthcoming publications including “Explanation is Not the Point: South Asian Migrant Domestic Workers Newfound Islamic Pieties in Kuwait,” to be published in The Asian and Pacific Journal of Anthropology; “Transnational Actors and State Stirrings: Kuwait’s Migrant Domestic Work Sector,” solicited for submission to the Middle East Institute’s “Migration in the Arab World” three-volume series; and “Labour and Legibility: The Legibility and Legality of Non-Citizens’ Activities in the Arab Gulf States,” solicited for submission to Georgetown’s Center for International and Regional Studies’ edited volume on Labour Migration in the Gulf.

In the past two months, Ahmad presented a talk on “Religion and Labour Migration in the Arab Gulf States,” at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life in Washington, D.C.;  “A Response to ‘(Dis)placing the American University: The Case of South Asian Students in Dubai,” at the Glasscock Humanities Center, Texas A&M; a paper on “Labour’s Limits: The Legibility and Legality of Non-Citizens’ Activities in the Arab Gulf States,” for the Migrant Labour Research Working Group, Center for International and Regional Studies – Qatar, at Georgetown University; and a paper on “Immaterial and Affective Becomings: Piety and Practice in Kuwaiti Households” at the Middle East Studies Association conference in San Diego.

Ahmad enjoys bike riding, environmental projects, science fiction visual media, glass making/blowing, modernist art and architecture.