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Rachel Marion Scott

Rachel Marion Scott, Professor

Rachel Marion Scott, Professor

Department of Religion and Culture
540-231-4848 |

Rachel M. Scott is a professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Religion and Culture and ASPECT (Alliance of Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought). Her areas of research relate to Islamic political thought, modern Islamic law, constitutions, and personal status law.
Her first book, The Challenge of Political Islam: Non-Muslims and the Egyptian State, was published by Stanford University press in 2010. Her second book, Recasting Islamic Law: Religion and the Nation State in Egyptian Constitution Making, was published by Cornell University Press in spring 2021. 
Professor Scott has also published a number articles and book chapters on a range of topics, including modern Islamic thought, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, al-Azhar and religious authority, and Qur’anic exegesis. 
  • Islamic Law and Personal Status Law
  • Religion, Law, and Constitutions
  • Modern Islamic Political Thought: Citizenship, Religious Minorities, Religious Authority, and Religion and State
  • Islamism (Particularly the Muslim Brotherhood) in Egypt
  • Religion and Secularism
  • Ph.D., in Islamic Studies, SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), University of London
  • MPhil in Modern Middle East Studies, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford
  • B.A. in Arabic and Islamic Studies, Pembroke College, University of Oxford
  • Co-chair of the Religion and Politics Section at the American Academy of Religion
  • Dean’s Faculty Fellowship, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech, 2016
  • University nominee for the Carnegie Fellowship, 2015
  • Certificate of Teaching Excellence, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech, 2014-15


Recasting Islamic Law: Religion and the Nation State in Egyptian Constitution Making. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2021.

The Challenge of Political Islam: Non-Muslims and the Egyptian State. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010. One of five finalists for the American Academy of Religion’s 2010 “Best First Book in the History of Religions."

Journal Articles

“Islamic Law, Unitary State Law, and Communal Autonomy—Divorce and Remarriage among Coptic Christians.” Exchange: Journal of Contemporary Christianities in Context 4 (4), 2020, 215-236.

“Managing Religion and Renegotiating the Secular: The Muslim Brotherhood and Defining the Religious Sphere.” Politics & Religion 7 (1), 2014, 51-78.

“What would the Muslim Brotherhood do with al-Azhar? Religious Authority in Egypt.” Die Welt Des Islams: International Journal for the Study of Modern Islam 52 (2), 2012, 131-65.

“A Contextual Approach to Women’s Rights in the Qur’ān: Readings of 4:34.” Muslim World 99 (1), January 2009, 60-85.

“The Role of the ‛ulamā’ in an ‘Islamic Order’: The Early Thought of Muhammad al-Ghazali (1916-1996).” Maghreb Review 32 (2-3), December 2007, 149-74.

“Contextual Citizenship in Modern Islamic Thought.” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 18 (1), January 2007, 1-18.

“An ‘Official’ Islamic Response to the Egyptian al-Jihād Movement.” The Journal of Political Ideologies 8 (1) February 2003, 39-61. Republished in Political Islam, Vol. 2, ed. Barry Rubin (Routledge Major Works Series: Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies; London: Routledge, 2006), 39-61.

“Education and Arabism in Damascus at the Turn of the Twentieth Century.” Islamic Culture 72 (3), July 1998, 17-64.

Book Chapters

“Citizenship, Public Order, and State Sovereignty: Article 3 of the Egyptian Constitution and the ‘Divinely Revealed Religions.’” The Crisis of Citizenship in the Arab World, eds., Roel Meijer and Nils Butenschøn. Leiden: Brill, 2017, 375-405.

“The Golden Age and the Contemporary Political Order: The Muslim Brotherhood and Early Islam.” Routledge Handbook on Early Islam, ed., Hebert Berg. Abingdon: Routledge, 2017, 258-273.


  • Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, RLCL 1024
  • Case Studies in Religion and Culture, RLCL 2004
  • Islam, RLCL 2324
  • Women and Gender in Islam, RLCL 3014 (WGS 3014)
  • Islam and the Modern World, RLCL 3604
  • Death, Dying, and Mourning (Topics in Religion and Culture), RLCL 4324


  • Islamic Political Thought, RLCL/ASPT 5134
  • Islamic Conceptions of Justice, ASPT 6204
  • Religion and Conflict, ASPT 6204
  • Being Modern in the Middle East, ASPT 6204
  • Rethinking Secularism: The Post-Secular Turn and its Critics, ASPT 6004—Fall 2020
  • Anarchism—Transnational Perspectives, ASPT 6204—Spring 2021

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