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Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies

Bettina Dennerlein

Bettina Dennerlein, Prof. Dr.

  • Professor of Gender Studies and Islamic Studies
+41 44 634 07 27
Room number
RAA G-03d
  • Appointments HS 2022: Wednesday (13-14 h); Appointments can be made via Office
  • Exams  HS 2022: Appointments can be made via Office


Since March 2009, Bettina Dennerlein has been Full Professor of Gender Studies and Islamic Studies at the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies (IAOS) at the University of Zurich. She received her Ph.D. in 1997 from the Free University in Berlin. She has been granted fellowships at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Institute for Advanced Studies), Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (Paris). In April 2000 she joined the Centre of Modern Oriental Studies (Berlin) and later Humboldt University in Berlin as a Senior Researcher. From 2007 to 2009 she was Professor for the History of the Modern Arab World (Islamic Studies) at the University of Hamburg.

Fields of Expertise

  • General focus: Social and cultural history of the modern and contemporary Arab World / Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Topics: Islamic family law; women’s rights and human rights movements; Gender, law and religion; intellectual entanglements; religious cultures and religious scholarship; modern reform movements; politics of memory; Orientalism and postcolonial theory; Islam and globalization.


Personal Research interests:

  • State and religion in Morocco (19th to 21st centuries)
  • The Politics of Sexual Difference in Modern and Contemporary Islamic Thought

Current research projects at the chair:

Collective thematic research foci at the chair:



Research and teaching at the Chair of Gender Studies and Islamic Studies deal with topics of cultural and social history of the Middle East and North Africa from the 18th century to the present. They combine theory-based questions with the philological analysis of Source materials in the original language (Arabic, Turkish).

In Gender Studies, teaching focuses on theories of Gender Studies as well as Postcolonial and Regional Studies perspectives.

Assignments and affiliations

  • Head: Master Program in Gender Studies, University of Zurich
  • Head: Doctoral Program in Gender Studies, University of Zurich (together with Prof. Dr. Sylvia Sasse)
  • Gender Equality Delegate, Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies
  • Member: University Research Priority Program (URPP) “Asia and Europe”, University of Zurich
  • Deputy Director: "Teilprogramm Gender Studies", 2013-2016 (SUK P-4)
  • Head: Teilprojekt Zürich, "Teilprogramm Gender Studies", 2013-2016 (SUK P-4)
  • Vice President: Swiss Society for Gender Studies (Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Geschlechterforschung, SGGF)
  • Member: Scientific Board, Orient-Institut Beirut
  • Member: International Scientific Board, Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies (BGSMCS), FU Berlin
  • Member: Editorial Board, Die Welt des Islams, International Journal for the Study of Modern Islam (Brill, Leiden)
  • Member: Editors, Book Series "Welten des Islams-Worlds of Islam-Mondes de l'Islam" (De Gruyter)
  • Mitglied Editorial Board, Asiatische Studien/Etudes Asiatiques (De Gruyter)
  • Member: Comité Scientifique International, Hespéris-Tamuda (Université Mohammed V, Rabat)
  • Further affiliations: Association of Middle East Women’s Studies (AMEWS), Schweizerische Asiengesellschaft (SAG), Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Vorderer Orient (DAVO)
  • Founding Member: Editors, Book Series "Gender and Islam", I.B. Tauris Publishers, London.