Former Wheaton prof lands UVA fellowship named for Muslim leader

Higher Education
by Leigh Jones
Posted 3/04/16, 10:50 am

Larycia Hawkins, the former Wheaton College professor who caused a furor when she declared Muslims and Christians worship the same God, has taken a new position at the University of Virginia.

Hawkins, a political science professor, will join the school’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, focusing on religion and race. Her fellowship is named for 19th century Algerian Abd el-Kader, a Muslim leader who advocated for intercultural dialog.

“Professor Hawkins brings keen insights into the intersections of religion and race and will greatly enrich our scholarship in this area,” said James Davison Hunter, executive director and founder of the institute, in an announcement released Thursday. “We’re fortunate to have the opportunity to welcome her here.”

Hawkins left Wheaton in February after the school placed her on paid leave following her controversial Facebook post in December. She initially said she intended to fight efforts to fire her, but in the end, Hawkins and Wheaton administrators reached a mutually satisfactory agreement. Neither side disclosed the terms of the separation. Although they held a joint news conference to announce the agreement, they did not take questions or elaborate further on the negotiations.

“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,” Hawkins said of her new job.

This will be Hawkins’ second stint at UVA. In 2007, she was a fellow studying the presidency, policy, and political history at the school’s Miller Center.

Hawkins has not spoken about the fallout from her social-media post and the corresponding campaign of solidarity with Muslims, for which she donned the hijab, or head covering,  during Advent. But during a public interview at the Chicago Sunday Evening Club on Feb. 24, where she appeared with Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Hawkins said she had no regrets.

“I had no idea it would blow up in the way it did, but I would do it again and again and again,” she said.

Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the news editor for The World and Everything in It and reports on education for WORLD Digital.

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