Sara Haq

MA Interdisciplinary Studies, Concentration in Women and Gender Studies (2012), George Mason University; BS Psychology (2004), George Mason University

Sara was born in Pakistan and raised in the United States. Her research lies at the intersection of gender, religio-spirituality, and culture. She received her MA in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a concentration in Women and Gender Studies and a disciplinary focus in Sufism from George Mason University in 2012. Her masters’ thesis, titled “Beyond Binary Barzakhs: Using the Theme of Liminality in Islamic Thought to Question the Gender Binary,” explored how “in-between” spaces were theorzied in Islamic traditional and mystical thought, and also analyzed the experience of third-gender people or “hijras” in South Asia. In her doctoral work, she uses Sufism as an epistemological approach to gender theory. Her dissertation project, tentatively titled “Sufiminism: The Sexual, the Spiritual, the Self” will examine the relationship between Islam and sexuality with a specific focus on bringing Sufi ideas to bear on feminist conversations about marriage, sex, and heteronormativity. Inspired by feminist scholars such as Trinh Minh- ha and Gloria Anzaldua, she aims to expand upon feminist/queer theory to include everyday expressions of queer Muslim religio-spirituality.

Sara is fluent in Urdu, Punjabi, and English, and keeps close ties with South Asian culture. Given her interest in Persian Sufi literature, she is now studying Persian at UMD. Sara comes to UMD with many years of professional experience working for international nonprofits including United Nations’ NGO Committee on the Status of Women. Sara is also a kathak dancer trained in the Lucknow school, with a special interest in Sufi Kathak.


Courses taught: 

WMST320/PCE321: Transnational Feminist Theory and Women’s Activism, Goucher College, Fall 2016
WMST250: Women, Art and Culture, University of Maryland, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016
WMST298: Women’s Bodies in Contention, University of Maryland, Spring 2015
RELI272: Islam, George Mason University, Spring 2012
RELI375: Qur’an and Hadith, George Mason University, Spring 2012


Note on Presentations and Speaking Engagements:

Sara continues to present her work and experience to both academic and nonacademic audiences, locally and abroad, within and outside her discipline. In 2013 she was invited to speak in a Yaro Collective Town Hall in Washington DC titled “To Veil, or Not to Veil: Is that even a question?” In 2014 she presented a paper on analyzing challenges to using mysticism as an epistemological approach to feminist theory at the Oxford Round Tables. She has presented at national and international conferences including the national women’s studies (NWSA), the national religious studies (AAR), and the annual South Asia conferences. She was invited to present her work on the intersection of mysticism and feminist thought at a conference honoring the philosopher Raimon Panikkar at the University of Girona in Catalonia, Spain in 2015. In Spring 2016, she presented at the philoSOPHIA conference themed “Poetry, Politics, and Feminist Theory” at the University of Colorado Denver, and at the East West Philosophers’ Conference at the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa. Over the summer, Sara was invited to speak at UMD Psychology Department’s 4th Annual Diversity Conference, at which she gave a presentation titled, “Racism-Sexism-Heteronormativity Obscured: The Institutionalization and Commodification of Diversity in Academia.”  In Fall 2016, Sara has invited colleagues from both the US and abroad to co-present a panel at NWSA in Montreal titled “Gender, Sexuality and Islam: Performing De/coloniality through Islamic Feminism.”

For a full CV, please contact Sara Haq at