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Faculty Spotlights

Stephanie Yep

Stephanie Yep Though an Illinois native, I’ve had the pleasure of living in the South for the past eight years. I obtained my Master’s degree in Religion at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, NC, and I am a doctoral candidate in Religion at Emory University in Atlanta. I’ve been very happy to get to know my students here in Knoxville, and we’ve had fantastic discussions about how their perceptions of religion have been influenced by the geographic and social context in which they’ve grown up.

My experience teaching at the UT has been extremely rewarding. In Spring 2018, I am teaching two sections of World Religions and an upper-level course on Islam in the Modern World. My students continue to impress me with their deep concern for social justice and their analytical thinking skills. As a specialist in both Islam and Judaism, two traditions which have historically been rendered “Other,” I often highlight the necessity of understanding “religion” in the context of power and authority. My research interests have ranged from the ways in which Islam and Judaism are situated in relation to other domains of knowledge in the Academy to the racially-motivated violence committed against Muslims and Jews in the modern era. These research interests translate into the classroom through my firm commitment to inclusivity. I strive to create an environment in which my students feel comfortable expressing their views openly, but with great self awareness. In this regard, my students have made me incredibly proud.

In addition to teaching, I am currently writing my dissertation, “Parameters for ‘Doing Emotion’: Gendered-Emotional Practices in the Sīra, 767-1185 CE,” which is a cross-textual study of five biographies of the Prophet Muhammad. Drawing on resources from the history of emotions, literary theory, and memory studies, I analyze a number of narrative techniques used by early and medieval biographers to communicate “ethico-emotional comportment” to readers. Ethico-emotional comportment, I argue, is biographers’ dynamic but enduring preoccupation with communicating a distinction between right and wrong that is deeply saturated by emotional practices and which derives fundamentally from representations of the Prophet Muhammad’s own emotional conduct.

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