Former Wheaton Professor Larycia Hawkins Gets New Gig in Virginia for Muslim Research

Larycia Hawkins will focus her research on the relationship between race and religion.

Larycia Hawkins, who briefly became known for her seemingly controversial stance of wearing a hijab at Wheaton College, a Christian institution, has landed a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies under the University of Virginia (UVA). The university has made the announcement that she will be the “Abd el-Kader Visiting Faculty Fellow.” Emir Abd el-Kader is an Algerian leader who made his mark in the 19th century.

Emir Abd el-Kader grew up in a Sufi tradition in a region that is now known as western Algeria. His family was a marabout dedicated to wisdom and learning. Kader however, gained fame as a scholar, saint and also as a warrior during his battles with the French colonial forces in the 1830s.

Kader was known to be a man of compassion, civility and a great yearning for learning. He was also known for his moral leadership and self-restraint, the qualities which won admiration of many contemporary world leaders like President Abraham Lincoln, Pope Pius IX, Emir Shamil and Queen Victoria. The concerns and themes of Kader's era remain valid even now. He fought the foreign occupation, endured exile and imprisonment with resilience, learning and diplomacy. Kader had a transparent moral compass which won him well earned fame all over the world. He was a unifier and not a divider. Kader's legacy is a testament to the possibilities and the difficulties of a human thriving under most struggling circumstances.

Hawkins, for her part, is known all over the world when it comes to modern African-American issues. Her time will be spent on research concentrated on relationships between religions and races. She is also expected to serve as scholar on the Pluralism Projectand the Race, Faith and Culture Project. In the words of James Davison Hunter, founder and executive director of Institute for Advanced Studies, the school is fortunate to welcome her.

Hawkins also feels likewise, saying that she is happy to come back to UVA, the same place where she was fellow doing her work at The Miller Center about 10 years before. She acknowledged, “The Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture provides a wonderfully vibrant, intellectual community and it is the perfect place for me to pursue my scholarship.”

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