Biography

Dr. Karen Bauer
Research Associate
Area of focus:
  1. The Qur'an and its interpretive tradition (tafsir)
  2. Emotions history in early and Classical Islam
  3. Genre and its effect on the transmission of knowledge

Introduction

Dr. Karen Bauer (PhD, Princeton, 2008) is a Research Associate in the Qur’anic Studies Unit. She specialises in Islamic social and intellectual history. Her research centres on the classical Arabic textual tradition (pre-1500), but she occasionally ventures into modern territory, such as when she interviewed religious scholars (ʿulamaʾ) in Iran and Syria for her book Gender Hierarchy in the Qur’aninfo-icon: Medieval Interpretations, Modern Responses.

Dr. Karen Bauer (PhD, Princeton, 2008) is a Research Associate in the Qur’anic Studies Unit. She specialises in Islamic social and intellectual history. Her research centres on the classical Arabic textual tradition (pre-1500), but she occasionally ventures into modern territory, such as when she interviewed religious scholars (ʿulamaʾ) in Iran and Syria for her book Gender Hierarchy in the Qur’aninfo-icon: Medieval Interpretations, Modern Responses. This book traces the development of interpretations of women’s status through time and shows how interpretations in the genre of tafsīr are affected by their social and intellectual contexts. Gender Hierarchy in the Qur’an won runner-up in the BKFS book prize 2016. Dr. Bauer has also published on subjects such as women’s right to be judges in medieval Islamic law, the potential and actual audiences for medieval tafsīr, and the relationship between documentary evidence and tafsīr in contracts of marriage. Recently, Dr. Bauer has moved into the study of emotions history, which is a neglected area in Islamic history. She is active in the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA). 

Dr. Bauer is currently working on two projects. One is An anthology of Qur’anic Commentaries, Volume 3: On Women, which is an anthology of translations of Qur’anic verses and commentaries on the subject of women. The other is a project on emotion and emotional rhetoric at the rise of Islam and in the early Islamic state. It is provisionally entitled The Rhetoric of Revolution: Emotion, Religion, and Social Change in Early Islam

Books

Gender Hierarchy in the Qur’an: Medieval Interpretations, Modern Responses, Cambridge University Press, 2015. Forthcoming in paperback, June, 2017.

Aims, Methods, and Contexts of Qur’anic Exegesis, 2nd/8th – 9th/15th Centuries. Edited and introduced by Karen Bauer. Oxford: Oxford University Press in Association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2013.

 

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

‘Emotion in the Qur’an: an Overview’. Forthcoming in Journal of Qur’anic Studies 19.2 (June, 2017).

‘The Current State of Qur’ānic Studies: Commentary on a Roundtable discussion’. Forthcoming in Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (JIQSA) 1.1 (2017).

‘Contemporary Iranian Interpretations of the Qur’an and Tradition on Women’s Testimony’. In Reclaiming Islamic Tradition: Modern Interpretations of the Classical Heritage. E. Kendall and A. Khan, eds. Edinburgh: Edinbugh University Press, 2016, pp. 160-176. 

‘A Note on the Relationship Between Tafsīr and Common Understanding, with Reference to Contracts of Marriage’. In Islamic Cultures, Islamic Contexts: Essays in Honor of Professor Patricia Crone, A. Ahmed, R. Hoyland, B. Sadeghi, and A. Silverstein, eds. Leiden: Brill, 2014, pp. 97-111.

‘Introduction’. In Aims, Methods, and Contexts of Qur’anic Exegesis, 2nd/8th – 9th/15th centuries. K. Bauer, ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2013, pp. 1-16. 

‘Justifying the Genre: A Study of Introductions to Classical Works of Tafsīr’. In Aims, Methods, and Contexts of Qur’anic Exegesis, as above, pp. 39-66.

‘Spiritual Hierarchy and Gender Hierarchy in Fātimid Ismā‘īlī interpretations of the Qur’ān’. Journal of Qur’anic Studies 14.2 (2012), pp. 29-46.

‘“I have seen the people’s antipathy to this knowledge:” The Muslim exegete and his audience, 5th/11th-7th/13th centuries’. In The Islamic Scholarly Tradition: Studies in History, Law and Thought in Honor of Professor Michael Allan Cook.  A. Ahmed, B. Sadeghi, and M. Bonner, eds. Leiden: Brill, 2011, pp. 293-315. Reprinted in Tafsīr: Interpreting the Qur’an. Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies, ed. Mustafa Shah. London: Routledge, 2013, v. 4, pp. 356-376.  

‘Debates on Women’s Status as Judges and Witnesses in Post-Formative Islamic law’. Journal of the American Oriental Society 130.1 (2010) pp. 1-21.

‘The Male is not Like the Female (Q 3:36): The Question of Gender Egalitarianism in the Qur’ān’. Religion Compass 3/4 (2009), pp. 637–654.

‘“Traditional” Exegesis of Q 4:34’. Comparative Islamic Studies, 2.2 (2006), pp. 129 – 142.

 

Shorter Pieces

‘In Defense of Historical-Critical Analysis of the Qur’an’, part of a roundtable entitled ‘Feminism in Islam: Exploring the Boundaries of Critique’. Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, 32.2 (2016), pp. 126-130.

“With all good wishes”: Remembering Patricia Crone (1945-2015), al-‘Usur al-Wusta (the Journal of Middle East Medievalists), v. 23, 2015.   

 

Book Reviews

Women in Classical Islamic Law: A Survey of the Sources by Susan Spectorsky, review in Islamic Law and Society 23.1-2 (2016), pp. 147-150.

Domestic Violence and the Islamic Tradition: Ethics, Law, and the Muslim Discourse on Gender, by Ayesha S. Chaudhry, review in Journal of Qur’anic Studies 17.2 (2015), pp. 132-6.

Across the Religious Divide: Women, Property and Law in the Wider Mediterranean (ca. 1300-1800), ed. Sperling and Wray, review in Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 38 (2011), pp. 415-20.

The Blackwell Companion to the Qur’ān ed. Andrew Rippin, review in Journal of the American Oriental Society 129.2 (2009), pp. 307-11.

Woman’s identity in the Qur’ān, by Nimat Hafez Barazangi, review in Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, 4:3 (Fall, 2008), pp. 131-4.

A Traditional Mu‘tazilite Qur’ān Commentary, by Andrew Lane, review in Journal of the American Oriental Society, 126.3 (July – Sept., 2006). 

The Formation of the Classical Tafsīr Tradition, by Walid Saleh, review in Journal of the American Oriental Society, 125.3 (July-Sept., 2005), pp. 470-3.

 

Film/Media

Special guest on the Programme ‘Islamic Studies,’ Sahar TV, IRIB (the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) (July, 2011). This programme was broadcast in Iran.

Co-produced Veiled Voices (2009) a documentary film directed and produced by Brigid Maher. Veiled Voices tells the story of three female religious leaders in the Middle East, and was shown on many Public Broadcasting stations in the US as well as at film festivals. I had the idea for the film while working with female mosque leaders in Syria, and conducted many of the interviews.