Sharon L Albert
Senior Lecturer, Religion Studies
I teach courses about Islam and Muslims, and broader comparative courses in which we think about what religion is and what its impact is on our world. Approaching religion academically, we work in class to acknowledge the biases and assumptions we bring to our study, particularly our own faith positions, and in doing so, we recognize and move beyond the limits they present. This work requires attention to human diversity—gender, ethnicity, race and so on—and the social structures and systems of power through which religious institutions are maintained and challenged. Understanding the role religion plays as a real, lived part of people’s experience is an essential element of this work.
In this digital age, students come to college with ready access to a wealth of information. In my classes, students hone the skills to understand where this information comes from and to analyze and make sense of it. I do not look for “right answers”; rather, I want students to learn the questions they should ask—and how to ask them. In all of my classes I aim to help students develop their abilities to think critically with the end goal of becoming effective citizens of their community and our global world.
Research, Scholarship or Creative/Artistic Interests
My recent research is primarily in the field of the scholarship of teaching and learning. I have published on using digital technologies in teaching, as well as on effective methods of collaboration and integrative learning. My disciplinary research focuses on debates in Religion Studies and Islamic Studies about the place of identity politics in teaching and learning. I have collaborated with a number of students on research into the area of Muslims in America, including a project on Muslims in the media and one currently in progress on Islamophobia in America.