Visiting Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies
- B.A. Hawaii Pacific University 1993
- M.A. Columbia University 1994
- M.T.S. Emory University 1997
- Ph.D University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology
- Meet Dr. Sophia Arjana (video)
Sophia Rose Arjana was appointed Visiting Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies in 2011. Her teaching areas include courses on comparative religion and Islam. Her primary areas of research are monstrous Western representations of Muslim men, liberation theology, postcolonial discourse, Shi’a and Sufi pilgrimage, and the holy sites associated with these traditions.
Arjana has published work on several subjects in the study of Islam, including pilgrimage, Islamophobia, and Orientalism. Two of these contributions include an article in Shi’a Studies, a journal published by the Centre for Islamic Shi’a Studies in London, and an article in ARTS: The Journal of the Society of Arts in Religion and Theological Studies. She has also published a book chapter on the trope of “Turning Turk” in Orientalist discourse, which looks at the role of race in Western discourse about Islam. In addition, she has two encyclopedia articles in print on Islamic subjects and a third that is forthcoming. In 2015, Dr. Arjana will see the publication of four major pieces of scholarship, the first of these being her first book, Muslims in the Western Imagination (Oxford University Press). In 2015, Arjana is also publishing book chapters on Jewish and Islamic liberation theology, female and queer imams in North America, and a critique of Islamism and post-Islamism in relation to the theology of Ali Shari’ati.
Arjana’s current project examines female Muslim super-heroines in comics, cartoons, and graphic novels. Her next major research project focuses on the role of shrines in disparate Muslim communities and the association of miracles with these holy sites, which are often frequented by non-Muslims.
Arjana has traveled extensively in Morocco, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.