Shenila Khoja-Moolji

Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies

Shenila Khoja-Moolji is an interdisciplinary scholar working at the intersections of gender, Islam, and South Asian studies. She is the author of two award-winning books. Her research interests include, Muslim girlhood(s), masculinities and sovereignty, and Ismaili Muslim women's history. She investigates these topics empirically in relation to Muslims in South Asia and in the North American diaspora.

Professor Khoja-Moolji is the author of award-winning book, Forging the Ideal Educated Girl: The Production of Desirable Subjects in Muslim South Asia  (Winner of the 2019 Jackie Kirk Outstanding Book Award from the Comparative and International Education Society; Winner of the 2019 Michael Harrington Award from The Society for the Study of Social Problems's Poverty, Class, Inequality Division). The book combines historical and cultural studies analyses with ethnographic work to examine the figure of the ‘educated girl’ in colonial India and postcolonial Pakistan.

Her second award-winning book, Sovereign Attachments: Masculinity, Muslimness, and Affective Politics in Pakistan (Winner of the 2022 Best Book Award from the International Studies Association's Theory Section; Honorable Mention, 2022 Lee Ann Fujii Book Award, International Studies Association; and, Honorable Mention, 2022 Best Book Award by the Global Development Studies Section) engages in a study of the cultural and affective dimensions of sovereignty. Through a close reading of a stunning array of cultural texts produced by the Pakistani state and the Pakistan-based Taliban, Professor Khoja-Moolji theorizes sovereignty as an ongoing attachment negotiated in public culture. 

Professor Khoja-Moolji is currently working on a book (under contract with the Oxford University Press) that traces the transnational lives of displaced Muslim women. The book follows their journeys, past and present, from colonial India to East Africa and then onto North America. It outlines the everyday forms through which women create spaces of joy, forge community, and practice ethical subjectivities.

Professor Khoja-Moolji has published articles in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and SocietyFeminist TheoryFeminist Media StudiesComparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle EastGender and EducationComparative Education ReviewGirlhood Studies, Third World Quarterly, and Feminist Teacher, among others. She also maintains an active public scholarship agenda and has published in The New York TimesThe Washington PostAl Jazeera, and The Express Tribune.

Contact for speaking engagements: skhoja [at]

Forging the Ideal Educated Girl book cover Sovereign Attachments book cover

Shenila Khoja headshot


  • PhD, Columbia University
  • MA, Harvard University
  • BA, Brown University