Medieval Studies

Medieval Studies Medieval Studies

Valerie J. Hoffman

Professor and Head of Medieval Studies,Title VI Centers Faculty Survey,Center for African Studies,Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies,Religion,Gender and Women's Studies,Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and Center for Global Studies

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Biography

I am a specialist in Islamic thought and practice. I have worked on many aspects of Islam, from the time of the Prophet to the contemporary period; I have conducted textual studies and have done fieldwork. I did two major fieldwork projects in Egypt, one on Muslim women's religious lives in contemporary Egypt (1980-81) and another on Sufism in modern Egypt (1987-89). Then I studied Swahili and spent two summers in Zanzibar, where I became aware that two distinct strands of Arabian Islam had impacted the Swahili coast: the Sultanate of Oman and the Hadramawt region of Yemen. I spent the 2000-2001 academic year in Oman and the Hadramawt, and became particularly interested in the Ibadi sect of Islam, an ancient and small sect that is neither Sunni nor Shiite and is practiced in Oman and small pockets of North Africa. I have since written the first English-language study of Ibadi theology and have become a specialist in Ibadism in the modern period, especially in Oman and Zanzibar.

Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • Islamic thought and practice, Muslim sects, medieval and contemporary Islamic thought and movements, Sufism, Islamic gender ideology, Muslim women’s religious lives, Islam in Oman, Yemen, Egypt and East Africa

Research Description

  • Current Research Project: Islamic Sectarianism Reconsidered: Ibadi Islam in the Modern Age

Education

  • M.A. University of Chicago, 1979
  • Ph.D. University of Chicago, 1986
  • B.A. University of Pennsylvania, 1975

Distinctions / Awards

Grants

Office Hours

  • by appointment

Publications

Books

  • The Essentials of Ibadi Islam . . Syracuse University Press, 2012.
  • Hoffman, Valerie J. Sufism, Mystics and Saints in Modern Egypt. . Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina , 1995.

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Book Contributions


  • Hoffman, Valerie J. "Refuting the Vision of God in Ibadi Theology." Ibadi Theology: Rereading Sources and Scholarly Works. . Ed. Angeliki Ziaka. Hildesheim, Germany: Georg Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung, 2015. 245-253.

  • Hoffman, Valerie J. "What Role Can Sufism Play in Contemporary Egypt?." Sufism and Social Integration: Connecting Hearts, Crossing Boundar. . Ed. Mohammad H. Faghfoory and Golam Dastagir. Chicago: Kazi Publications, 2015. 127-145.

  • Hoffman, Valerie J. "Hasan al-Basri on Moral Responsibility." Islamic Theological Themes: A Primary Source Reader. . Ed. John Renard. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2014. 317-325.

  • Hoffman, Valerie J. "The Role of the Masharifu on the Swahili Coast in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries." Sayyids and Sharifs in Muslim Societies: Living Links to the Prophet. . Ed. Kazuo Morimoto. London: Routledge, 2012. 185-197.

  • "Historical Memory and Imagined Communities: Modern Ibadi Writings on Kharijism." Historical Dimensions of Islam: Essays in Honor of R. Stephen Humphreys. . Princeton: Darwin Press, 2009.

  • "Devotion to the Prophet and His Family in Egyptian Sufism." Sufism: Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies. . London: Routledge, 2008. 615-37.

  • "Annihilation in the Messenger of God: Development of a Sufi Practice." Sufism: Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies. . Ed. Lloyd Ridgeon. London: Routledge, 2008. 351-369.

  • Hoffman, Valerie J. "East Africa." The Islamic World. . Ed. Andrew Rippin. New York: Routledge, 2008. 39-52.

  • "The Ibadis." The Islamic World. . Ed. Andrew Rippin. New York: Routledge, 2008. 235-245.

  • Hoffman, Valerie J. "In His (Arab) Majesty’s Service: The Career of a Somali Scholar and Diplomat in Nineteenth-Century Zanzibar." The Global Worlds of the Swahili: Interfaces of Islam, Identity and Space in 19th and 20th-Century East Africa. . Ed. Roman Loimeier and Ruediger Seesemann. Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2006. 251-272.

  • "Oral Traditions as a Source for the Study of Muslim Women: Women in the Sufi Orders." Beyond the Exotic: Women's Histories in Islamic Societies. . Ed. Amira E. Sonbol. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University, 2005. 365-380.

  • "Contending Legitimacies: Muslim Perspectives on Human Rights." A Force Profonde: The Power, Politics, and Prospects of Human Rights. . Ed. Edward Kolodziej. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2003. 45-68.

  • "Mother of Compassion." Women of Sufism: A Hidden Treasure. . Boston, London: Shambhala, 2003. 215-221.

  • "Al-Farabi’s ‘True King’ and Mulla Sadra’s ‘Path’: Human Perfection and Divine Action in Islamic Esoteric Traditions." Islam-West Philosophical Dialogue: The Papers Presented at the World Congress on Mulla Sadra (May, 1999, Tehran). . Tehran: Sadra Islamic Philosophical Research Institute, 2002. 171-189.

  • "Un cheikh soufi peut-il être un héros moderne? Le cheikh égyptien Ahmad Radwân." Saints et héros du Moyen-Orient contemporain. . Ed. Cathérine Mayeur-Jaouen. Paris: Maisonneuve & Larose, 2002. 177-188.

  • "Muslim Sainthood, Women, and the Legend of Sayyida Nafisa." Women Saints in World Religions. . Ed. Arvind Sharma. Albany: State University of New York, 2000. 107-144.

  • "Qur’anic Interpretation and Modesty Norms for Women." The Shaping of an American Islamic Discourse: A Memorial to Fazlur Rahman. . Ed. Earle H. Waugh and Frederick M. Denny. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1998. 89-122.

  • "Témoignages soufis de l’Egypte contemporaine et du Soudan." ." Les Voies d’Allah: Les ordres mystiques dans le monde musulman des origines à aujourd’hui. . Ed. Alexandre Popovic and Gilles Veinstein. Paris: Librairie Artheme Fayard, 1996. 596-612.

  • "La sexualité dans la vie spirituelle soufie." Les Voies d’Allah: Les ordres mystiques dans le monde musulman des origines à aujourd’hui. . Ed. Alexandre Popovic and Gilles Veinstein. Paris: Librairie Artheme Fayard, 1996. 596-612.

  • "Islamic Perspectives on the Human Body: Legal, Spiritual and Moral Considerations." Embodiment, Medicine and Morality. . Ed. Lisa S. Cahill and Margaret A. Farley. Dordrecht, Boston, London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1995. 37-55.

  • "Muslim Fundamentalists: Psychosocial Profiles." Fundamentalisms Comprehended. . Ed. Martin E. Marty and R. S. Appleby. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. 199-230.

  • "An Islamic Activist: Zaynab al-Ghazali." Religious Autobiographies. . Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing, 1995. 361-374.

  • "An Islamic Activist: Zaynab al-Ghazali." Women and the Family in the Middle East: New Voices of Change. . Ed. Elizabeth W. Fernea. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1985. 233-254.

Journal Articles

  • "Mysticism, Rationalism and Puritanism in Modern Omani Ibadism (18th-20th Centuries)." Muslim World 105.1 (2015): 251-265.
  • Hoffman, Valerie J., and Sulaiman b. al-Shuaili. "Ibadi Reformism in Twentieth-Century Algeria: The Tafsir of Shaykh Ibrahim Bayyud." Revue du monde musulman et de la Méditerranée 132 (2012): 155-173.
  • "Islam, Human Rights and Interfaith Relations: Some Contemporary Egyptian Perspectives." Journal of Political Theology 11.5 (2010): 690-715.
  • Hoffman, Valerie J. "Ibadi Muslim Scholars and the Confrontation with Sunni Islam in Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Zanzibar." Bulletin of the Royal Institute of Inter-Faith Studies 7.1 (2005): 91-118.
  • Hoffman, Valerie J. "Muslim-Christian Encounters in Late Nineteenth-Century Zanzibar." The MIT Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies 5 (2005): 59-78. <http://web.mit.edu/cis/www/mitejmes/intro.htm>.
  • "The Articulation of Ibadi Identity in Modern Oman and Zanzibar." The Muslim World 14.2 (2004): 201-216.
  • "Islam and Modernity: A Review Essay." Religion and the Arts 5.4 (2001): 495-503.
  • "What Role Do Religious and Cultural Identities Play in a Global Society?." Swords and Ploughshares 8.1 (2001): 13-19.
  • "Annihilation in the Messenger of God: Development of a Sufi Practice." International Journal of Middle East Studies 31.3 (1999): 351-369.
  • "Ritual, Music, Sociability and Censure: Making a Film on Sufi Dhikr in Egypt." Journal of Religion and Film 2.1 (1998):
  • "The Role of Visions in Contemporary Egyptian Religious Life." Religion 27.1 (1997): 45-64.
  • "Eating and Fasting for God in Sufi Tradition." Journal of the American Academy of Religion 63.3 (1995): 201-230.
  • "Devotion to the Prophet and His Family in Egyptian Sufism." International Journal of Middle East Studies 24.4 (1992): 615-637.
  • "Mysticism and Sexuality in Sufi Thought and Life." Mystics Quarterly 18.3 (1992): 82-93.
  • "Polemics on the Modesty and Segregation of Women in Contemporary Egypt." International Journal of Middle East Studies 19.1 (1987): 23-50.

Website Articles

Encyclopedia Entries

  • Hoffman, Valerie J. "‘Abata, Muhammad Hasan." The Encyclopaedia of Islam. 3rd ed. Leiden: Brill, 2011.
  • "Abu ’l-‘Azm, Mahmud." Encyclopedia of Islam. 3rdth ed. Leiden: Brill , 2009.
  • "Abd al-‘Aziz al-Amawi." Encyclopaedia of Islam. 3rdth ed. Leiden: Brill, 2008.
  • "Abu ‘Ammar ‘Abd al-Kafi b. Abi Ya‘qub." Encyclopaedia of Islam. 3rdth ed. Leiden: Brill, 2008.
  • "A’isha ‘Abd al-Rahman." Encyclopedia of Islam. 3rdth ed. Leiden: Brill , 2007.
  • "A’isha ‘Abd al-Rahman." Encyclopaedia of Islam. 3rdth ed. Leiden: Brill, 2007.
  • "Oman." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices . 1stth ed. Detroit: Gale Group, 2005.
  • "Women, Gender and Sufi Orders, Practices: Egypt." Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. 1stth ed. Leiden: Brill, 2005.
  • "`Abata, Muhammad Hasan." Holy People of the World: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2004.
  • "Nafisa, Sayyida." Holy People of the World: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia. 1stth ed. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2004.
  • "Radwan, Ahmad." Holy People of the World: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia. 1stth ed. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2004.
  • "Sharqawi, al-Khalafi, Ahmad, and Wabu 'l-Wafa' al-Sharqawi." Holy People of the World: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia. 1stth ed. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2004.
  • "Zaynab, Sayyida." Holy People of the World: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia. 1stth ed. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2004.
  • "Festivals and Commemorative Days." Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an. 1stth ed. Leiden: Brill, 2002.
  • "Hospitality and Courtesy." Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an. 1stth ed. Leiden: Brill, 2002.
  • "Intercession." Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an. 1stth ed. Leiden: Brill, 2002.
  • "Islam." Dictionary of Feminist Theologies. Lexington: Westminster/John Knox, 1996.
  • "`Abd al-Rahman, ‘A’ishah (Bint al-Shati’)." The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. 1stth ed. New York: Oxford, 1995.
  • "Al-Ghazali, Zaynab ." The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. New York: Oxford, 1995.
  • "Ibn `Arabi, Muhyi al-Din ." The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. New York: Oxford, 1995.
  • "Women and Religion: Women's Religious Observances." The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. New York: Oxford, 1995.

Reviews

  • Rev. of Philosophising in Mombasa: Knowledge, Islam and Intellectual Practice on the Swahili Coast , by Kai Kresse. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 30.3 (2010): 663-666.
  • Hoffman, Valerie J. Rev. of Pure Gold from the Words of Sayyidī ‘Abd al-‘Azīz al-Dabbāgh (Al-Dhahab al-Ibrīz min Kalām Sayyidī ‘Abd al-‘Azīz al-Dabbāgh), trans. John O'Kane and Bernd Radtke. Islamic Africa 1.1 (2010): 130-131.
  • Rev. of Rev. of Islamic Mysticism Contested: Thirteen Centuries of Controversies and Polemics , ed. Frederick de Jong and Bernd Radtke. Journal of the American Oriental Society 121.4 (2001): 717.
  • Rev. of Rev. of Realm of the Saint: Power and Authority in Moroccan Sufism , by Vincent J. Cornell. International Journal of Middle East Studies 33 (2001): 309-311.
  • Rev. of Rev. of Development, Change, and Gender in Cairo: A View from the Household , ed. Diane Singerman and Homa Hoodfar. American Journal of Sociology 103.4 (1998):
  • Rev. of Rev. of Sufism and Islamic Reform in Egypt: The Battle for Islamic TraditionJournal of the American Academy of Religion 66.2 (1998): 439-441.
  • Rev. of Rev. of Christian-Muslim Encounters , ed. Yvonne Y. Haddad and Wadi Z Haddad. Medieval Encounters 3.3 (1997):
  • Rev. of Rev. of The Eye of the Beholder: The Life of Muhammad as Viewed by the Early Muslims , by Uri Rubin. International Journal of Middle East Studies 29.4 (1997): 638-639.
  • Rev. of Rev. of Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis, by Reuven Firestone. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (1993): 95-96.
  • Rev. of Rev. of Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate, by Leila Ahmed. Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 5.2 (1993): 177-207.
  • Rev. of Rev. of The Politics of Islamic Revivalism , ed. Shireen T. Hunter. Religious Studies Review 18.1 (1992): 75.
  • Rev. of Rev. of Islamic Fundamentalism and Modernity , by William Montgomery Watt. International Journal of Middle East Studies 23.3 (1991): 414-417.
  • Rev. of Rev. of Sacred Performances: Islam, Sexuality and Sacrifice , comp. M. E. Combs-Schilling. Journal of Religion 71.4 (1991): 618-619.
  • Rev. of Rev. of The Munshidin of Egypt: Their World and Their Song , comp. Earle H. Waugh. The Journal of Religion 70.3 (1990): 491-492.
  • Rev. of Rev. of Ayyam min hayati, by Zaynab al-Ghazali al-Jabili. Newsletter of the Association for Middle East Women's Studies 1.5 (1987): 13-16.
  • Rev. of Rev. of Society and the Sexes in Medieval Islam , ed. Afaf Lutfi al-Sayyid-Marsot. Journal of Near Eastern Studies (1982):

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