Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Kathryn Kueny

Associate Professor
Director of the Religious Studies Program
Lincoln Center 924F
(212) 636-7143

Ph.D. - University of Chicago

M.A. - University of Chicago

B.A. - University of Wisconsin

Research Interests 

Islamic Studies (medieval), comparative issues among Jews, Christians, and Muslims, gender studies, theories and methods in the study of religion.

Dr. Kueny's current research examines how traditional Muslim medicine, zoological treatises, and magic/folklore practices chart an ethical understanding of human life. Topics for consideration include the identification/treatment of pain and suffering, the role of the jarrâḥ (surgeon) and the integrity of the human body, dietary and fasting practices as well as hygiene laws, the question of where life begins and how it ends (and its practical implications), the treatment of mental illness, and the human manipulation of animals/natural environment for medicinal purposes. Such analyses serve to structure notions of the “self” and its identity in her work as determined by its perceived interconnectedness with the broader cosmos. Cast broadly, Dr. Kueny's work probes issues of how the “human” is defined, and where humans stand in relation to God, to one another, and to the living world around them.


Series Editor, Bordering Religions, Fordham University Press
Book Review Editor: Comparative Islamic Studies

Dr. Kueny's research considers Islam not only as a discrete historical phenomenon, but also in terms of the wealth of material it offers to the study of religion. Often the exclusive preserve of historians and political scientists, Islam has seldom been analyzed from a history of religions perspective. This inhibits our ability to understand Islam as a religion and to explore our own religious identities in relation to it.

Dr. Kueny's scholarly interest in the fields of Islamic Studies and in the study of religion lies in the liminal moments, marginal voices, and minutiae of everyday life. It is within these spaces that often fall outside of, or are overlooked by, the “normative tradition” that we find the religious imagination at work. Within conversations about how pregnant women should be treated, children circumcised, hemorrhoids cured, or fruit beverages prepared and consumed, we glimpse broader theories of how and why humans maintain, articulate, or assert individual, communal, and religious identities. It is here, in the ordinary vagaries of life and practical experience, where humans locate themselves and others in the cosmos and in relation to God. These are the types of topics and questions that motivate and guide my scholarly agenda.


Conceiving Identities: Maternity in Medieval Muslim Discourse and Practice. Forthcoming, 2012.

The Rhetoric of Sobriety: Wine in Early Islam. Albany: SUNY Press, 2001.

FALL 2014

THEO 3715-L01, L02: Classic Islamic Texts

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