Associate Professor, Director UVM Humanities Center

Professor Morgenstein Fuerst specializes in Islamic studies. Her areas of expertise include Islam, religions of South Asia, and theories and histories of religion. Morgenstein Fuerst's research deals has addressed a range of issues, including racializations of religion, historiography, definitions of “religion,” Indo-Persian manuscripts, and colonialism and imperialism. She earned her B.A. in Religion from Colgate University in 2005, an M.T.S. at Harvard Divinity School in 2007, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Islamic Studies concentration in the department of Religious Studies in 2012. At UVM, she has taught courses on Islam, South Asian religions, theory and method in the study of religion, modernity, race, and empire.

“My work centers on definitions: what is religion? How is it used? Who uses it—and when?  To what avail?  How is religion present and absent, cultivated and deployed across geographic location and historical eras? There are seemingly infinite answers to this complex questions. But my work in and outside the classroom seeks to think these through. Specifically, my research deals with how Muslims and other South Asians used the category of religion—and ones like it—to order political, social, and private aspects of their lives in the modern period and beyond. Understanding these complicated, historically rooted conversations is important if we are to attempt to understand how religion continues to shape South Asia—and the way we study it—today.  In both my research and my teaching, I aim to bring historical contexts, conceptions, and debates to the fore; I want my students to wrestle with the legacies such an untidy history and topic undoubtedly leaves upon their world.”


Words of Experience: Translating Islam with Carl W. Ernst. edited with Brannon M. Wheeler. Equinox: 2021.

Indian Muslim Minorities and the 1857 Rebellion: Religion, Rebels, and Jihad (I.B. Tauris, 2017).

Shifting Boundaries: The Study of Islam in the Humanities, special edition of Muslim World, Volume 106, Number 4 (October 216). Co-edited with Zahra M. S. Ayubi.

"Locating Religion in South Asia: Islamicate Definitions and Categories," Comparative Islamic Studies, Volume 10, no. 2 (2017): 217-241.

"Shifting Boundaries: the Study of Islam in the Humanities," Muslim World, Volume 106, Number 4 (October 2016), pp. 643-654. Co-authored with Zahra M. S. Ayubi.

"A Muslim Bhagavadgita: 'Abd al-Rahman's Interpretive Translation and its Implications." Journal of South Asian Religious History. Vol 1 (2015), pp. 1-29.

“Space, Power, And Stories: Hagiography, Nationalist Discourse, and the Construction of Sacred Space at the Khwaja Sahib in Ajmer, India,” Symposia. Volume 3, 1 (2011), pp. 55-69.

Associations and Affiliations

American Academy of Religion (co-chair, Study of Islam, term: 2018-2022)

South Asian Muslim Studies Association

South Asian Literary Association

American Association of University Professors

United Academics

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

  • Islam
  • Religions of South Asia
  • History of religion


  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School
  • B.A., Colgate University


  • (802) 656-0232
Office Location:

Old Mill Annex, Room A507

Courses Taught

REL 1230 - D2: Introducing Islam Introduces Islam in the context of the study of religion, focusing especially on its variation over time and location, as evidenced by texts, rituals, festivals, and competing interpretations. Credits: 3.0

REL 2050 - Interpretation of Religion Examination of major theories and methods used in studying and interpreting religious phenomena. Credits: 3.0

REL 1050 Religion, Politics and Power Introduction to major themes in the study of religion, tracing their development over time. Special
emphasis is placed on material effects of the category of religion, including case law, current events, analysis of social constructs
(gender, race, sexuality, time), and engagement with key theoretical texts in the study of religion. Credits 3.0

REL 2238. Islam and Race
Islam is not a race (religions are not races) but Islam and religions are racialized. Examines how Islam and Muslims come to be seen as a race and the effects thereof in the North American context.