Biography

Dr. Karen Bauer
Research Associate
Area of focus:
  1. The Qur'an and its interpretive tradition (tafsir)
  2. Gender in Islamic history and thought
  3. Genre and its effect on discourse
  4. The transition from medieval to modern in Islamic thought

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 specific interests include the Qur’aninfo-icon and Qur’anic exegesis, gender in Islamic history and thought, and the question of how social and intellectual context affect the content of texts. Her research centres on medieval texts, 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’an. She has 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 tafsir in contracts of marriage. She is active in the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA). 

Dr Bauer is currently working on An anthology of Qur’anic Commentaries, Volume 3: Women, which is an anthology of translations of Qur’anic verses and commentaries on the subject of women.

 

Books

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

(ed.) 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

‘Contemporary Iranian Interpretations of the Qur’an and Tradition on Women’s Testimony’, to appear in Reclaiming Islamic Traditions, edited by Ahmad Khan and Elisabeth Kendall, forthcoming.

‘A Note on the Relationship Between Tafsir and Common Understanding, with Reference to Contracts of Marriage’, in Islamic Cultures, Islamic Contexts: Essays in Honor of Professor Patricia Crone, ed. Asad Ahmed, Robert Hoyland, Behnam Sadeghi, and Adam Silverstein, Leiden: Brill, 2014, pp. 97-111.

‘Justifying the Genre: A Study of Introductions to Classical Works of Tafsır,’ Aims, Methods, and Contexts of Qur’anic Exegesis, 2nd/8th – 9th/15th centuries, ed. Karen Bauer. Oxford: Oxford University Press in Association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2013.

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

‘The Muslim exegete and his audience, 5th/11th-6th/12th centuries,’ The Islamic Scholarly Tradition: Studies in History, Law and Thought in Honor of Professor Michael Allan Cook, ed. Ahmed, Bonner and Sadeghi, Brill, 2011, pp. 293-315.

‘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.

 

Book Reviews

Women in Classical Islamic Law: A Survey of the Sources by Susan Spectorsky, review in Islamic Law and Society (forthcoming)

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) to appear in Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam (2011).

The Blackwell Companion to the Qur’an ed. Andrew Rippin, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 129.2 (2009) pp. 307-311.

Woman’s identity in the Qur’an, by Nimat Hafez Barazangi, Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, 4:3 (Fall, 2008), pp. 131-34.

A Traditional Mu‘tazilite Qur’an Commentary, by Andrew Lane, Journal of the American Oriental Society, v. 126, no. 3 (July – Sept., 2006).

The Formation of the Classical Tafsir Tradition, by Walid Saleh, Journal of the American Oriental Society, v. 125, no. 3 (July-Sept., 2005), pp. 470-73.

 

Non-Academic Work

Reminiscences on being a student of Patricia Crone’s, entitled ‘With all Good Wishes’, al-Usur al-Wusta, November 2015.

Veiled Voices (2009), a documentary film: writer and co-producer; the film is directed and produced by Brigid Maher. Veiled Voices follows Muslim women religious leaders in the Middle East, exploring their relationship to tradition and modernity.