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Mahruq F. Khan

Teaching Associate Professor


I am a sociologist, working at the intersections of gender, religion, and race. More specifically, my research has centered on LGBTQ+ Muslims; Islamic feminisms; anti-Muslim racism and xenophobia in the U.S. with a focus on new religious immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. My interest in these issues is rooted in formative experiences during middle school in a predominantly white suburb of Chicago, when I decided to don the hijab in solidarity with French schoolgirls who were denied the right. Having made this spontaneous decision at the height of the Persian Gulf War, I encountered religious bigotry from classmates that fueled my desire to study the racialized and gendered experiences of Muslims in the U.S., especially non-cis men.

My college life began when I was accepted into the Aeronautical Engineering program at UIUC and eventually graduated with a B.A. in Business. I worked in the corporate world for a short stint but felt disconnected from the work. It was ultimately volunteering (as a high school and college student) for a crisis hotline at a domestic violence shelter, which served South Asians, that drew me back to graduate school to examine gender and racial inequities at the macro-level. Six years later, I earned a PhD in Sociology (emphasis in religion and gender), and immediately thereafter, worked as a community college instructor in Chicago for a year before starting as an Assistant Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse and later as a tenured Associate Professor in 2015.

Since 2009, I received funding from over 20 grants in order to: research LGBTQ+ inclusive formations of Muslim community in Canada and China; document feminist organizing in the West Bank and Nepal; invite a host of international speakers to campus; start film festivals; and get funding to teach Social Justice Theory to BIPOC teen girls in New York City. I have been invited to speak at a wide range of universities, both nationally and internationally, and have presented at nearly 50 scholarly conferences, including the American Sociological Association, the National Women's Studies Association, and several regional sociology meetings. In addition to serving on the Governing Council of the National Women's Studies Association, I have published articles, book chapters, and reviews in outlets such as, the Journal of International Women's Studies, Praeger Press, Brill, SUNY Press, McFarland and Co., Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review, American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, and Feminist Collections.


Research Interests

Gender and human rights

LGBTQ Muslims

Islamic feminisms

Anti-Muslim racism

Muslim refugees/new religious immigrants

Gender, Migration and Work


Awards and Honors

List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, Fall 2022 (UofI)

Awardee,  YWCA Tribute to Outstanding Women Award (Education) (La Crosse, WI)

Awardee, Outstanding Professor, Leadership & Involvement Center (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)

Awardee, Recognition for Excellence in Service Award for the College of Liberal Studies (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)

Nominee, Provost Office's Teaching Excellence Award (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)


Courses Taught

Race, Gender, and Power

History of Sexuality in the U.S.

Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies


Previous courses:

Women’s Diversity: Race, Class, and Culture  

Introduction to LGBT Studies

Gender, Sexuality, and Social Change in Religion

Gender and Human Rights

Globalization, Women, and Work

Women's Studies Senior Capstone