The Muslim American Experience: Diversity Dialogue Series

From Jihad to Sharia Law: UC Davis Faculty on Fact vs. Fiction

Many staff on campus do not have an opportunity to engage UC Davis faculty in conversations. Join three UC Davis faculty members who teach and study Islam & Muslims through many different perspectives: historical, legal, geo-political, language and cultural norms. The panelists will very briefly introduce themselves and their work; the primary focus of this panel will be on the Q&A portion to allow the audience to fully engage with the panelists.  

April 17, 2018
11:45am- 1:00pm
Student Community Center, Multi Purpose Room


Registration is now open for the third panel of the “Muslim American Experience: Diversity Dialogue Series.” Lunch will be served and registration is required. For more information, please visit:


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Vickie Gomez, Ed.D. 
Director, Campus and Student Community Engagement 
Office of Campus Community Relations

Vickie Gomez is the Director of Campus and Student Community Engagement with the Office of Campus Community Relations in the Offices of the Chancellor and Provost. In her current role she is responsible for the development and implementation of campus wide initiatives and programs that focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. She has been a member of the UC Davis Diversity Trainers Institute since 2006 where she teaches several courses for the certificate series in Diversity Awareness and Cultural Competence. Prior to joining UC Davis, she served as an Associate Director of a Trio program at San Jose State University. Vickie holds a master’s degree in Counseling Education from San Jose State University, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from UC Davis. She also holds a Community College Teaching Credential in Psychology and has taught at Evergreen Community College in San Jose.




Shayma Hassouna
Continuing Lecturer in Arabic 
Department of Classics 

Shayma Hassouna co-founded the Arabic Program at UC Davis as the first Lecturer in Arabic beginning in 2006. She has also served as Faculty Advisor for the Muslim Student Association. She has taught elementary Arabic, intermediate Modern Standard and intermediate Egyptian Colloquial Arabic, and advanced Arabic, as well as freshman seminars in revolutionary poetry in the Arab World and the Arab Culture Ensemble. Shayma Hassouna received her BA in English Linguistics and Literature from Alexandria University in Egypt and a Teaching Certificate sponsored by the Fulbright Commission from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. She received training in journalism from Alexandria Broadcast Radio Station and in piano from the Conservatory of Music, also in Alexandria. She received her MA in English literature from California State University, Sacramento 1993-1998. In 2014, Hassouna received the University of California Academic Federation Award for Excellence in Teaching. 



Flagg Miller
Professor of Religious Studies
Department of Religious Studies

Flagg Miller is Professor of Religious Studies at UC Davis. Trained as a linguistic anthropologist, Dr. Miller’s research focuses on cultures of modern Muslim reform in the Middle East and especially Yemen.  His latest book is titled The Audacious Ascetic: What the Bin Laden Tapes Reveal about Al-Qa`ida (Oxford University Press/Hurst). His first book, The Moral Resonance of Arab Media: Audiocassette Poetry and Culture in Yemen (2007), examined how Yemenis have used traditional poetry and new media technologies to envision a productive relationship between tribalism and progressive Muslim reform. Along with publications in a variety of professional journals including the American Ethnologist, the International Journal of Middle East Studies, the Journal of Language and Communication, and the Journal of Women’s History, Dr. Miller has written the preface to Poems from Guantánamo: The Detainees Speak (University of Iowa Press, 2007), a collection of translated poems written by detainees at Guantánamo Bay.  


Mairaj U. Syed
Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Department of Religious Studies

Mairaj U. Syed is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at UC Davis. His research explores the history of Islamic legal and ethical thought, particularly areas dealing with public law, family law, and politics. He is also interested in the development of hadith literature and the social network that transmitted and preserved it in the first 250 years of Islamic history. His book is titled Introduction of Coercion and Responsibility in Islam (Oxford University Press) and explores how classical Muslim theologians and jurists argue about the thorny issues that coercion raises about responsibility for one’s actions. Syed holds a Ph.D. in religion from Princeton University, and a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from University of Texas, Austin.

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