Valerie J. Hoffman

 Valerie Hoffman

Contact Information

Department of Religion
3092B Foreign Languages Building
707 S. Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
M/C 166

Office Hours

  • by appointment
Head, Professor
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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.

Research Interests

  • 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

Selected Publications

Books

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

Audio or Visual Publications

Celebrating the Prophet in the Remembrance of God: Sufi Dhikr in Egypt 1997.

Journal Articles

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, p. 91-118.
Hoffman, Valerie J Muslim-Christian Encounters in Late Nineteenth-Century Zanzibar The MIT Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies 5 2005, p. 59-78.
Islam, Human Rights and Interfaith Relations: Some Contemporary Egyptian Perspectives Journal of Political Theology 11 5 2010, p. 690-715.
Hoffman, Valerie J, and Sulaiman bin Ali al-Shuaili Ibadi Reformism in Twentieth-Century Algeria: The Tafsir of Shaykh Ibrahim Bayyud Revue du monde musulman et de la Méditerranée 132 2012, p. 155-173.
Ibadism: History, Doctrines and Recent Scholarship Religion Compass 9 9 2015, p. 297-307.
Mysticism, Rationalism and Puritanism in Modern Omani Ibadism (18th-20th Centuries) Muslim World 105 1 2015, p. 251-265.
Les ibadites d’Oman et d’Afrique orientale Horizons Maghrébins 76 2017, p. 93-100.

Reviews

Dreams That Matter: Egyptian Landscapes of the Imagination by Amira Mittermaier. History of Religions 52 4 Source Author Amira Mittermaier, 2013, p. 419-422.
Ibâḍism: Origins and Early Development in Oman by John Wilkinson. Der Islam 91 2 Source Author John Wilkinson, 2014, p. 446-450.
Anatomy of Dissent in Islamic Societies: Ibadism, Rebelllion, and Legitimacy by Ahmed Souaiaia. Review of Middle East Studies 50 1 Source Author Ahmed Souaiaia, 2016, p. 123-126.
Islamic Law, Gender, and Social Change in Post-Abolition Zanzibar by Elke Stockreiter. Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 28 1 Source Author Elke Stockreiter, 2017, p. 119-21.
Shurāt Legends and Ibāḍī Identities: Martyrdom, Asceticism, and the Making of an Early Islamic Community by Adam Gaiser. The Journal of Religion 98 4 Source Author Adam Gaiser, 2018, p. 570-71. The Journal of Religion.

Encyclopedia Entries

Ghazali, Zaynab al- The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World Oxford Oxford University Press 2013. Oxford Islamic Studies Online.
Women’s Religious Observances The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World Oxford Oxford University Press 2013. Oxford Islamic Studies Online.
Burhan b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Amawi The Encyclopaedia of Islam 3rdrd ed. Leiden Brill 2015.
Burhaniyya The Encyclopaedia of Islam 3rdrd ed. Leiden Brill 2015.
Muscat and Zanzibar, Sultanate of The Encyclopedia of Empire John Wiley & Sons 2016.

Book Contributions

Ibadi Scholars on Association and Dissociation, from the Tenth to the Twenty-First Century Ibadi Jurisprudence: Origins, Developments and Cases edited by Barbara Michalak-Pikulska, edited by Reinhard Eisener. Ibadi Scholars on Association and Dissociation, from the Tenth to the Twenty-First Century Edited by Barbara Michalak-Pikulska, Edited by Reinhard Eisener, Hildesheim, Germany George Olms Verlag 2015, p. 185-194.
Refuting the Vision of God in Ibadi Theology Ibadi Theology: Rereading Sources and Scholarly Works edited by Angeliki Ziaka. Refuting the Vision of God in Ibadi Theology Edited by Angeliki Ziaka, Hildesheim, Germany Georg Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung 2015, p. 245-253.
Nasir b. Abi Nabhan’s Use of Sunni Literature Today’s Perspectives on Ibadi History edited by Reinhard Eisener. Nasir b. Abi Nabhan’s Use of Sunni Literature Edited by Reinhard Eisener, Hildesheim, Germany George Olms Verlag 2017, p. 279-284.
Ibadis in Zanzibar and the Nahda Oman, Ibadism and Modernity edited by Abdulrahman Al Salimi, edited by Reinhard Eisener. Ibadis in Zanzibar and the Nahda Edited by Abdulrahman Al Salimi, Edited by Reinhard Eisener, Hildesheim, Germany George Olms Verlag 2018, p. 129-144.
Ibadi-Omani Creeds and the Construction of Omani Religious Discourse Oman, Ibadism and Modernity edited by Abdulrahman Al Salimi, edited by Reinhard Eisener. Ibadi-Omani Creeds and the Construction of Omani Religious Discourse Edited by Abdulrahman Al Salimi, Edited by Reinhard Eisener, Hildesheim, Germany George Olms Verlag 2018, p. 197-208.
Religion and Politics in the Arab Spring and Its Aftermath Making the New Middle East: Politics, Culture, and Human Rights edited by Valerie Hoffman. Religion and Politics in the Arab Spring and Its Aftermath Edited by Valerie Hoffman, Syracuse, NY Syracuse University Press 2019, p. 47-70.
Islam, Non-Muslim Minorities, and Human Rights in the Middle East Making the New Middle East: Politics, Culture, and Human Rights edited by Valerie Hoffman. Islam, Non-Muslim Minorities, and Human Rights in the Middle East Edited by Valerie Hoffman, Syracuse, NY Syracuse University Press 2019, p. 153-93.
Gender Norms in the Muslim Middle East Making the New Middle East: Politics, Culture, and Human Rights edited by Valerie Hoffman. Gender Norms in the Muslim Middle East Edited by Valerie Hoffman, Syracuse, NY Syracuse University Press 2019, p. 285-317.

Edited Books

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Hoffman, Valerie J Making the New Middle East: Politics, Culture, and Human Rights Syracuse, NY Syracuse University Press 2019.

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