Mona Hassan

Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and History, Duke University

Mona Hassan is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and History at Duke University and obtained her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2009.  She specializes in global and comparative Islamic history, focusing on the intersections of culture, religion, politics, and gender. One of her major projects investigates the shifting socio-political and cultural contexts in which Muslim female jurisprudential scholarship has been formed and articulated from the seventh century to the present across multiple regions.   Her work on Female Muslim Jurists reconstructs the lives and networks of several significant female jurists, assesses what shaped their emergence in very different temporal and cultural contexts as legal scholars, and explores the contours of their scholarship.  Her research in this vein on the modern Republic of Turkey reinterprets how the history of Turkish secularism continues to affect the spatial mapping and contestation of its gendered religious domains.


Mona Hassan also recently received fellowships from both the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) to complete her first book, Longing for the Lost Caliphate, which explores Muslim engagement and entanglement with the notion of an Islamic caliphate following two poignant moments of symbolic loss: the Mongol destruction of the Abbasid caliphate in 1258 and the Turkish nationalist abolition of the Ottoman caliphate in 1924.  It examines what Muslims across Afro-Eurasia imagined to be lost with the disappearance of the Abbasid and Ottoman caliphates and how they attempted to recapture that perceived loss, and in doing so redefined the caliphate for their times, under shifting circumstances. Vivid cultural memories of the caliphate created a shared sense of community among disparate peoples at the same time as they gave rise to differing and competing visions of the community’s past, present, and future.