Faculty Biography

Sultan Doughan

Sultan Doughan, Ph.D.

Dr. Thomas Zand Professorship in Holocaust Pedagogy and Antisemitism Studies, Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies 
Clark University
Worcester, MA 01610-1477

Phone: 508-793-7523
Email: sdoughan@clarku.edu

Sultan Doughan is the Dr. Thomas Zand Visiting Assistant Professor in Holocaust Pedagogy and Antisemitism Studies. She received her M.A. (2009) from Freie Universitat Berlin and her Ph.D. (2018) from the University of California-Berkeley. Before joining the faculty at Clark University in 2021, she held a position as a postdoctoral associate at the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies at Boston University.

Prof. Doughan is a political anthropologist with a research focus on contemporary Holocaust education, antisemitism, racism and racialization, Middle Eastern migration and diaspora, gendered religious difference, Muslims and Jews, secularism and nationalism in Western European liberal democracies. Her primary research sites have been civic education projects in immigrant neighborhoods, schools and neighborhood organizations across Berlin, Germany. More broadly, she is interested in how pedagogical practices intervene in state-citizen relations by affectively reshaping a relation to the Holocaust past, the figure of the Jew and forms of comporting, expressing and experiencing oneself consistent with the ideal of citizenship.

She offers courses on memorialization, memory, political violence and human rights as well as pedagogical practices in Holocaust, genocide and tolerance education after violent events and ongoing structural violence. She is currently preparing a new course on “Antisemitism in a Global Context” where she examines the historical emergences, social formations and political effects of antisemitism and its combat in Europe, the Middle East, and the US. Her courses are interdisciplinary, but take an anthropological approach by focusing on human interaction, ritualized practice, personhood, political subjectivity and social relations.

Her book project, Converting Citizens: German Secularism and the Politics of Tolerance after the Holocaust, examines the practice of citizenship in relation to history. As in most Western European countries in the last decades, citizenship is understood through the notion of tolerance organized in opposition to religion, particularly to traditional Islam. As a consequence, EU governments emphasize European values through national history for purposes of social integration. In the context of Germany, this national history centers the Holocaust and antisemitism by exhibiting the fate of European Jewry. The book centers the experience of Middle Eastern civic educators. They are employed for being role-model integrated Muslims and who can carry acceptable notions of citizenship into the public and their own communities in a time of increased securitization of Muslims as a religious and migrant community. The book brings back the minority question in order to conceptualize the various ways in which Muslims have to convert (assimilate, integrate, reform, re-learn) into German secularism. While secularism constitutes the larger backdrop of the book, she specifically discusses how fundamental and human rights to religious freedom and freedom of speech are not simply granted with regards to Middle Eastern communities but given out as tasks to change into a secular-liberal Muslim selfhood: a German Muslim.

Selected Publications

“Desiring Memorials: Jews, Muslims and the Human of Citizenship” for Special Issue on Jews and Muslims in Europe: Between Discourse and Experience in The Annual Review of Sociology of Religion (forthcoming)

“Still Questioned: Reconfiguring the Jew out of ‘the Muslim Problem’ in Europe” Los Angeles Review of Books (forthcoming)