Areas of expertise

Islam and Islamic cultural studies; African cultural studies

My teaching focus at Southwestern is the Islamic tradition and topics related to the broader area of Islamic cultural studies as well as African cultural studies.

My research sits at the intersection of the humanities and the social sciences, drawing on the disciplines of literature, anthropology and sociology, communication studies, political science and religion. My work has focused particularly on expressive culture in Sudan and its religious, cultural, aesthetic and political dimensions. I have research and teaching interests in the following areas: postcolonial studies and theories of nationalism and globalization; performance studies and expressive culture (including ritual, theater and everyday performances of identity); gender studies (gender, sexuality and religion); media studies (religion and media; media as a technology of subjectivity and community, etc.); indymedia; alternative media and community-based media); African and Middle Eastern literature and film/video; poetics and politics of ethnography; community-based cultural production and activism; peace and conflict studies; global, international and intercultural education; discourses of human rights and humanitarianism; Sudan.

I am also interested in broader theoretical and methodological issues in the study of religion; the interaction of religion with other disciplines; the transmission and dissemination of religious identities and ideas across borders; and the pedagogies of the humanities and social sciences in a globalized and virtual age.


PhD, University of Texas at Austin
BA, Oberlin College

Teaching Philosophy

Previous Courses

Intro to Islam; Islam and Media; Islam and African Literature; Intro to Christian Tradition


Chapter in Book
Lorins, Rebecca. "Historical Hauntings of Kinlessness in Tayeb Salih's Mawsim al-hijra ila shamal / Season of Migration to the North," in Family Memory-Work: Writing the Home in African Literature. Ed. Yianna Liatsos. Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press, 2011.

Articles in Progress
"Will the Real Somali Please Stand Up?: Reputation, Defamation and the Secrets of Identity in a Postcolonial Frame"

"Piety and the Undoing of Patriarchal Structures in Leila Aboulela's Minaret"

Book Project in Progress
Displacements: Genre and the Humanitarian Subject in Southern Sudanese Cultural Production.

Seminars & Presentations

Select Presentations:

"Imperial Dimensions of the Sudanese testimonio: Sudan and America,"   Movements, Migrations and Displacements in Africa, University of Texas at Austin, 24 - 26 March 2006.

Invited respondent to the presentation "Crisis in Darfur" by Joanne Mariner, Deputy Director of the America's Division of Human Rights Watch; Human Rights Happy Hours sponsored by the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the University of Texas School of Law, March 2005.

"Questions of Genocide in Sudan," invited speaker to the Austin chapter of Amnesty International, University of Texas at Austin, 21 September 2004.

"Engineering Bodies: Genocide or the Everydayness of Death in Sudan," Memory and History: Cultural Representations of Genocide and Displacement," Texas Tech University, 25 March 2004.

"Displacement as Translation: A Tale of Three Audiences," International Sudan Studies Association, Washington, D.C. 31 July 2003.

"Resuscitation," invited speaker to the American Association of University Women (AAUW - Austin Branch), April 2003.

Honors & Awards

  • Faculty-Student Research Project Award, 2011 - 2012
  • Somali Language Fellowship, Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS), 2004
  • Professional Development Award, University of Texas at Austin, 2001 - 03
  • The Henry J. Haskell Award for Dissertation Research in Sudan, 2002
  • Dissertation Fellowship, American Association of University Women (AAUW), 2002
  • Women's Studies Dissertation Fellowship, University of Texas at Austin, 2001
  • Middlebury College Fellowship for the Study of Intermediate Arabic, 2000
  • Arabic Language Grant, American Institute of Maghrebi Studies (AIMS), 1998
  • Arabic Language Fellowship, Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS), 1996