I’m a scholar of religion, gender, and ethics. I mostly write about the Muslim tradition, with an emphasis on law and biography. I also analyze modern intersections of Muslim and Western discourses about gender and sexuality. My newest book is something of a departure, using popular fiction to discuss gender and ethics. Human in Death explores J.D. Robb's futuristic police procedurals, analyzing their largely compelling model of human flourishing as well as their critical silences and omissions. I’m currently working on Women in Muslim Traditions, geared toward students and general readers, as well as a specialized study of consent, captivity, and concubinage in early Islamic law.

I’ve been a faculty member at Boston University’s Department of Religion since 2006. Before that, I held research and teaching fellowships at Brandeis University and Harvard Divinity School. I teach undergraduates and graduate students.

I earned my MA and PhD in Religion from Duke University. I attended Stanford University as an undergraduate, finishing with a BA in History and honors in Feminist Studies.

For well over a decade, I’ve been active in the American Academy of Religion, where I’ve held a number of service and leadership roles. I’m currently serving as Status Committee Director. I’m a past president of the Society for the Study of Muslim Ethics.

I’m originally from the Boston area. Outside of my professional activities, I read widely—including a lot of genre fiction—and paint colorful abstract acrylics. I’ve been involved with Oxfam America since 2010 and have served on its Leadership Council since 2013.

NEW BIO AS OF 12/15

 


Order of significance (and these are the correct publication dates):

Single-authored titles first:
Sexual Ethics & Islam (2016 ed.)
Human in Death (2017)
Lives of Muhammad (2014)
Marriage & Slavery in Early Islam (2010)
Imam Shafi'i (2011)

Co-written and co-edited after:
A Guide for Women in Religion (2014)
A Jihad for Justice (2012) - link to PDF, w/ image on front: http://www.bu.edu/religion/files/2010/03/A-Jihad-for-Justice-for-Amina-Wadud-2012-1.pdf
Islam: The Key Concepts (2008) - cover image attached


page headers

WRITING, TEACHING, EDUCATION, SERVICE, PERSONAL


Eric Selinger

Human in Death offers a sustained and subtle inquiry into J. D. Robb’s In Death books as novels of ideas:  texts which invite their readers to think about love, desire, and romantic relationships—they are, after all, romance novels—but also friendship, vocation, state violence, and the dangerous allure of utopianism. A thoughtful reader, Ali demonstrates that these are thoughtful books, part of a genre that deserves and rewards our serious attention.  This is a groundbreaking contribution to the study of mass-market fiction and the ethics of reading, as well as to the emerging field of popular romance studies.

Tressie Cottom

When black people could not see themselves in the stories that shape our lives and only histories of our inferiority were offered as recompense, Afrofuturism argued that we turn our eye to fiction to imagine a better future. Kecia Ali has written a brilliant exemplar of sociology of fiction that honors the spirit of Afrofuturism, although the subject matter couldn’t be further from those we consider racial projects. … A thought-provoking and accessible read for sociologists and laypeople alike.

Jayashree Kamble

This study is a handy resource for any reader interested in a sweeping, yet meticulous look at the sci-fi/murder mystery/romance series. Human in Death: Morality and Mortality in J.D. Robb’s Novels contains an evenhanded examination of the ethical stances visible in protagonist Eve Dallas’s world, especially in relation to gender and sexuality, economic and bodily inequality, and personal and systemic violence. The last is particularly useful for its calling out of the series’ inattention to racism and the slant Robb gives to police brutality and abuse of power in the futuristic United States.

 

Rafia Zakaria

A deeply engaging critical reflection, Ali deftly explores how fiction both shapes and reflects our comple lived realities, how fictional utopias can reiterate and justify the prejudices of the present. Under Ali's prescient analysis, J.D Robb's popular novels become a venue for an exploration of American culture, what scares and what satisfies is revealed by Ali as saying so much more.


bio

I’m a scholar of religion, gender, and ethics. Most of my books are about the Muslim tradition – legal, ethical, biographical – including Sexual Ethics & Islam and The Lives of Muhammad, which also explore modern intersections of Muslim and Western discourses about gender, sexuality, and religion. My next book is something of a departure, as it concerns gender and ethics but says little about religion: Human in Death explores J.D. Robb's futuristic police procedurals, analyzing their largely compelling model of human flourishing as well as their critical silences and omissions. I’m currently working on Women in Muslim Traditions, geared toward students and general readers, as well as a specialized study of consent, captivity, and concubinage in early Islamic law.

I’ve been a faculty member at Boston University’s Department of Religion since 2006. Before that, I held research and teaching fellowships at Brandeis University and Harvard Divinity School. I teach undergraduates and graduate students. I have advised a number of MA and doctoral theses. (Interested in graduate study at BU? Start here: bu.edu/gdrs)

I earned my MA and PhD in Religion from Duke University. I attended Stanford University as an undergraduate, finishing with a BA in History and honors in Feminist Studies.

For well over a decade, I’ve been active in the American Academy of Religion, where I’ve held a number of service and leadership roles. I’m currently serving as Status Committee Director. I’m a past president of the Society for the Study of Muslim Ethics.

I’m originally from the Boston area, and am glad to live here now with my family. Outside of my professional activities, I read widely—including a lot of genre fiction—and paint colorful abstract acrylics. (Take a look) I’ve been involved with Oxfam America since 2010, and have served on its Leadership Council since YEAR. OTHER



So, perfectionism has kept me from replying before this point, thinking: well, I've really got to have an amazing set of answers to everything. In fact, I don't. But here's some material to get you started and if we can move iteratively, that would be great.

Colors: Most of them. Not a big fan of plain old primaries or boring pastels. Pastel pink with dark brown, though, or navy. Mint green with acid green. In fact, greens are hands-down my favorite, everything from forest to olive drab to fresh spring greens, with the juxtaposition of cool and hot particularly appreciated. My own painting is really just an excuse to play with color.

Fonts: I write with Times New Roman, Palatino, New Century Schoolbook. I understand that for accessibility purposes, san serif fonts are better. I don't like them as much, but can compromise if relevant.
Websites I like or dislike: funny, given how much time I spend online one way and another, but I have a hard time thinking of any. I hate the NYT when it takes forever to load, freezes, etc. I like tressiemc.com's site, though she blogs way more than I ever will so it's probably not that useful as a model. The AAR (aarweb.org) is awful - too text heavy, can't find anything where it's supposed to be (I'm on the board; it's on our agenda.)

Things I love: hydrangeas, peonies. Moleskine notebooks (bright colors and brown kraft paper). Trail running, forest walks. Coffee with milk; roasted vegetables. My built-in bookshelves in my home office. My local library. Solid wood with patina. Babies and kids books and handwritten letters. Fiona Apple, the Beatles (Rubber Soul and Sargent Pepper), Green Day, Ella Fitzgerald, the Indigo Girls. Genre fiction (mysteries and romance). Art, art, more art. Abstract paintings. Handmade things. Coach purses (never pebbled leather), Sferra cotton blankets. Fall. Spring. Mint Magic tea.