Shatha Almutawa

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

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Contact Information

Eaton 115
900 State Street
Salem  Oregon  97301

Dr. Shatha Almutawa is a scholar of Islam and Judaism whose research has focused on the medieval period. She has focused on intellectual exchange between Islam and other religions, and her work employs literary, philosophical, and historical methods. In 2013, Almutawa received her doctorate from the University of Chicago, where she wrote her dissertation “Imaginative Cultures and Historic Transformations: Narrative in Rasa’il Ikhwan Al-Safa,” which examined philosophical allegories, parables, and tales written in tenth-century Iraq.

Almutawa also works on the contemporary period. Her report on women’s rights in the United Arab Emirates was published in Women’s Rights in the Middle East and North Africa: Citizenship and Justice (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004). She recently received a grant from the Dr. Philip M. Kayal Fund for Arab American Research to work on an oral history project.

From 2009 to 2013 she was editor of Sightings, which is published by the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion, and in 2014 and 2015 she served as an editor of Perspectives on History published by the American Historical Association. She has taught at Qatar University, where she was an assistant professor in the history department, Bradley University, where she was a visiting professor, as well as Cornell College, Lake Forest College and the University of Chicago. She served as Iraq Country Specialist for Amnesty International USA between 2009 and 2011.

At Willamette, she teaches Introduction to Islam; Religion, Peace, and Violence; Muslim and Jewish Philosophy; Women in Islam; and Islamic Sects and Movements.


  • Ph.D. 2013 University of Chicago Divinity School (Muslim and Jewish intellectual history)
  • M.A. 2006 University of Chicago Divinity School (Muslim and Jewish intellectual history)
  • B.A. 2003 Mount Holyoke College (Major in Religion, Minor in Philosophy)

Selected Fellowships and Awards

  • Dr. Philip M. Kayal Fund for Arab American Research
  • Arts Council Summer Fellowship for adaptation of a play based on 10 th c. Iraqi stories, 2012.
  • Martin Marty Center Junior Fellowship for dissertation completion, 2011-2012.
  • Doolittle-Harrison Fellowship for conference travel, 2010.
  • Perrin Fund Travel Grant, 2010.
  • Frances Mary Hazen Fellowship for research, 2010-2011.
  • History of Judaism summer research Grant, 2010.
  • Divinity School full scholarship for Master’s and PhD work, 2004-2010.
  • Edward Chipman Prize for excellent work in major, 2003.

Publications and Papers

  • “Reading Ikhwan Al-Safa’s Contradictory Views on the Afterlife,” Studia Islamica (under review).
  • “Education through Narrative in Rasā’il Ikhwān Al-Safā’” in Knowledge and Education in Classical Islam, Ed. by Sebastian Günther (Brill, forthcoming).
  • Review of Reading Hayy Ibn-Yaqzan: A Cross-Cultural History of Autodidacticism by Avner Ben-Zaken. Bulletin of Middle East Studies (Spring 2013).
  • “Philosophy” and “Spain,” Cultural Sociology of the Middle East (California: SAGE Publications, 2012).
  • Review of Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation by Tariq Ramadan in the Journal of Religion (Spring 2012).
  • “Ibn ‘Arabi: The Meccan Illuminations,” Milestone Documents of World Religions: Exploring Traditions of Faith through Primary Sources (Dallas: Schlager Group, 2011).
  • “The Status of Women in the United Arab Emirates,” Women's Rights in the Middle East and North Africa: Citizenship and Justice (Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005).
  • “The War Room,” Split This Rock Blog, March 4, 2016.
  • “We Should Counter Hate with Poetry and Culture,” The National, November 24, 2015.
  • “Between Tolerance and Persecution: Cairo’s Jewish Quarter Becomes the Setting of an Arabic TV Drama,” Perspectives on History, September 2015.
  • “A 17 th -Century Indian Parrot: Interpreting the Art of the Deccan,” Perspectives on History, Summer 2015.
  • “Between Suicide Bombings and Religious Freedom in Islamic History,” AHA Today, July 9, 2015.
  • “Democracy, Liberty, History,” Perspectives on History, March 2015.
  • “Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations: Brooklyn Historical Society Explores Mixed-Heritage Identities,” Perspectives on History, March 2015.
  • “Hit by the Wrecking Ball: Historic Buildings from the Recent Past,” Perspectives on History, February 2015.
  • “Beyond the ‘Seven Speak-Nots’: History Education in China,” Perspectives on History, February 2015.
  • “Jami’s Haft Awrang Undergoes Conservation at the Smithsonian,” Perspectives on History, January 2015.
  • “Arab New York,” Perspectives on History, November 2014.
  • “Layers of Culture: Byzantine Artifacts in Heaven and Earth,” Perspectives on History, February 2015.
  • “People’s Histories of the United Arab Emirates: Creating Archives and Oral Histories in Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” Perspectives on History, October 2014.
  • “Modern Arab Historians Should Be Given a Wider Audience,” The National, July 29, 2014.
  • “History and Modernity in the Arabian Peninsula,” AHA Today, June 10, 2014.
  • “Creating and Preserving Cultural Heritage in the Arab World,” Perspectives on History, April 2014.
  • “Recording Divergent Histories of Homelessness,” Perspectives on History, April 2014.
  • “Secular Revolutions, Religious Landscapes,” Sightings, University of Chicago, February 24, 2011.
  • “The Persecution of Religious Minorities in Iraq,” Sightings, University of Chicago, June 10, 2010.
  • “Iraq is Not a Shining Example for the Middle East,” Amnesty International USA Human Rights Now blog, May 26, 2011.
  • “Can Social Networking Put Saudi Women Behind the Wheel?” Ms. Magazine blog, May 25, 2011.
  • “Arab American Women Take the Stage,” Kalimat 1, Spring 2011.
  • “Arabs Still Battling the Misconceptions of 9/11,” Sayidaty Magazine, Dubai, May 2009.

Visit Shatha Amultawa's website here.  
Willamette University

Religious Studies Department

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

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