Dr Rachel Woodlock

Dr Rachel Woodlock is an academic and writer who researches and teaches about Islam and Muslims. She recently co-edited Fear of Muslims? International Perspectives on Islamophobia with Professor Douglas Pratt (Springer, 2016), an evidenced-based examination of Islamophobia in both 'old-world' Europe and the 'new-world' of America and Australia, and also Southeast Asia. She also co-wrote For God's Sake: An Atheist, a Jew, a Christian and a Muslim Debate Religion (Pan MacMillan, 2013), discussing some of life's biggest questions.

She completed a Bachelor of Arts (Arabic & Islamic Studies) and a Master of Islamic Studies at the University of Melbourne, and her doctoral research undertaken at Monash University looked at the social integration of religious Muslims in Australia. Dr Woodlock has lectured widely and taught subjects on Islam and Muslims at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Her interests include Islamic theology, philosophy, comparative fiqh, praxis in minority contexts, as well as sectarian and heterodox movements. Although born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Rachel lives with her family in Tipperary, Ireland, which everyone delights in telling her is a long way to go.

Page from the Qur'an
women in a mosque
Moroccan tiles
Moroccan ceramics

Current Projects

Manuscript on Islam and Muslims in Ireland

Mosque in Clonskeagh, Dublin.
Mosque in Clonskeagh, Dublin.

This book introduces the general reader to the history, beliefs and practices of Islam with a particular focus on the Irish experience. It is divided into six sections covering Islam's history, civilisations, ideas, people, issues and future. As well as describing what unifies Muslims in 'what Islam teaches', it also emphasises the vast diversity that exists among Muslims.

It covers the early history, rise and expansion of Islam at a time when Christianity was beginning to mature in Ireland, and looks at the rise of Islamic dynasties and Muslim conquests—including into Europe—that resulted in cross-cultural exchanges between Christendom and the Islamic world, as well as the Crusades and the arrival of modernity, colonisation and Westernisation in the modern period. Of particular relevance to the Irish reader, it covers the Irish historical encounter with Islam both overseas and as Muslims began to settle here.

As well as an overview of Islam's major beliefs and practices, it examines the debates and diversity that exist in the Muslim world, as well as in Ireland, over who can 'speak' for Islam, which are more fully elaborated upon in sections dealing with lifecycle rituals and sensitive issues surrounding family, healthcare, education and employment as Muslims try to implement Islam (in varying degrees) in their lives in a Catholic-majority context.

In the concluding chapter, Irish attitudes towards Muslims are discussed, as are potential demographic trends both in Europe and Ireland specifically. It introduces the idea of 'kaleidoculture' first defined by Bruce Lawrence in considering the American experience. This heralds a potential future in which Irish Muslims make a unique and valuable contribution to Ireland, and develop a specifically Irish way of being Muslim.

This book gives the general reader a thorough overview and understanding of the religion of Islam and its followers, framed for the first time within the modern Irish context.

Dual Calendar Planner

sample pages of dual calendar planner
Planner sample pages.

I am putting together a dual Gregorian and Hijri calendar planner book. It is divided into the twelve Islamic months with a page listing important dates in the Islamic calendar and in Muslim history. There is monthly space for budgeting and task lists, after which is week-on-a-page spreads showing corresponding Gregorian and Hijri dates. Each week also has sections for spiritual and health trackers, scripture memorisation, and weekly notes and task lists. See a sample.

This hobby project started because I could not find a diary that served my need to operate in both Islamic and Western Gregorian calendars, but which also conformed to the basic principles of Bullet Journalling. Mine is designed to be a functional but not hugely decorative planner and I hope to release it before the turn of the new Islamic year إن شاء الله‎. For those interested in some beautiful alternatives, there are some worthy items available on Etsy, such as: The Journal for Muslims, Islamic Planner, and downloadable planners from Kecilmamil. Please note, I have not personally purchased any of these items, and thus make no guarantees about quality or availability.

Crescent and star from mosque
Serving biryani
Mosque domes
Qur'an and coffee

Resources

Recommended Reading Lists

Downloads

Links

Apps & Tools

These are the software tools I've found are best for my needs.

  • LaTeX: A typesetting language, particularly useful for technical and academic writing.
  • Biblatex: Bibliography management. Bibtex, but better.
  • ShareLaTeX: An online LaTeX editor.
  • Texmaker: Cross-platform LaTeX editor.
  • Docear: Academic mindmapping and reference management tool.
  • XMind: Versatile mindmapping tool.
  • Scrivener: Storyboarding software.
  • Orkanizer: For those who like to use the pomodoro technique for writing.
  • Calibre: E-book library management.
  • DeDRM Plugin: Calibre plugin to future proof your ebook purchases (strips DRM from ebooks).
  • Geocommons: For creating maps with data.
  • Excel2Latex: Excel plugin to generate LaTeX tables.
  • IfThisThenThat: Automate online actions.
  • Cut and Paste Word Count: Javascript for counting words in a pasted chunk of text.
  • TeXCount: Count words in a tex document.
  • Bibme: Automatic citation formatting.
  • eTurabian: Turabian style citation guide and generator.
  • Sonic Mood: Ambient sound generator (OSX).
  • SoundBorb: Ambient sound generator (Windows).

Academic Resources

Arabic

Islam

  • Quranic Arabic Corpus annotated linguistic resource showing the Arabic grammar, syntax and morphology for each word in the Qur'an.
  • Altafsir.com collection of Qur'an commentaries, translations, recitations and other essential resources.
  • Zekr desktop Qur'an app with a number of translations including hard to find ones like Daryabadi, Qarai, Sarwar and more.
  • QuranicAudio collection of audio Qur'an recitations including with English translations.
  • Sunnah.com searchable, bi-lingual (Arabic and English) database of hadith collections.
  • IslamicFinder portal with calendar, prayer timings, zakat calculator and other resources.
  • SeekersHub global Islamic seminary and fatwa-bank (largely Hanafi and Shafi'i).
  • Maryams Institute Islamic education including alimah programme for women.
  • Islam and Islamic Studies Resources collected by Prof. Alan Godlas.
  • Brill Encyclopaedia of Islam (1986 version).
  • Moonsighting world moon-sighting resource for calculating Islamic months.
  • Islamic Inheritance Calculator.
  • Zawia Ebrahim media audio and written resources for the Darqawi-Shadhili Sufi Zawia headed by Shaykh Ebrahim Schuitema.
  • HalalTube videos of Muslims speakers lecturing on various topics.
  • IslamicLandmarks.com information and photos on places of historical Islamic significance.
  • Islamicartdb.com Islamic art database.
  • Islamoriente pinterest-style collection of Islamicate art and photographs.
  • Islamic Philosophy Online comprehensive resource site for Arabic and Islamic philosophy.
  • Al-Islam Ahlul Bayt digital Islamic library project with large collection of Ithna `Ashari Shi`i resources.
  • Salvation Ark Zaydi forum with translations and questions/answers.
  • Muslim 500 annual listing of the world's most influential Muslims.
  • Muslims Condemn collection of all the cases where Muslims have condemned wrongdoings done falsely in the name of Islam.
  • Kitaabun online Islamic bookseller.
  • Kazi Publications Islamic book publisher and bookseller (US-based).
  • Kube Publishing, Islamic book publisher (incl. former Islamic Foundation imprint) and bookseller (UK-based).
leaf with Islamic jewellery
view of Sana'a from rooftop
interior view of Preston mosque dome
Muslims for Peace banner

Teaching

Courses & Lectures

  • National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies, University of Melbourne, 2011.
    I recorded the Islamic Practices component for a video lecture series organised by Professor Abdullah Saeed and Professor Purushottama Bilimoria on world religions.
  • Politics Department, School of Political & Social Inquiry, Monash University, 2010.
    I taught the postgraduate subject "Fringe Politics and Extremist Violence: An Introduction to Terrorism".
  • Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, Melbourne, 2010.
    I taught an eight-week course on Islam and Muslims at the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School held at the Magid Institute, Armadale.
  • Rachel Woodlock at Monash University.
    At Monash University, 2009.
    Cranlana Colloquium, Myer Foundation, 2006–2009.
    I lectured on Islam and Muslim reactions to modernity, at the Cranlana Colloquia held four times each year. In late 2008, I completed the colloquium as a participant.
  • Islam Awareness Training, Monash University, 2004, 2007–2008.
    I lectured on Islam and Muslims to the National Counter-Terrorism Committee Negotiators Course, members of the Australian Federal Police in Canberra and Adelaide, and members of Victoria Police at the Police Academy, Glen Waverley.

Presentations

Qur'an translations
Arabic on sign
Moroccan food
Geometric architecture

Writing

Annotated Bibliography

  • 2013. "Islam in Australia." In Oxford Bibliographies in Islamic Studies, ed. Andrew Rippin. New York: Oxford University Press.

Books

Chapters

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Posters

Book cover of Isolation, Integration and Identity

Reports

  • 2010. "Conflict and Religion as Globalizing Agent." In Mapping Violence in Southern Thailand, eds. Virginie Andre and Pete Lentini. Interim report to the European Commission. Caulfield, Vic.: Global Terrorism Research Centre.
  • 2009. Key Concepts in Islamic Discourse and Listed Terrorist Use of Media Component I: On Jihad, Mujahidin and Martyrdom. Report presented to Australian Communications and Media Authority. Caulfield, Vic.: Global Terrorism Research Centre. With Sayed Khatab, Muhammad Bakashmar and Pete Lentini.
  • 2009. Muslim Voices: Hopes and Aspirations of Muslim Australians. Caulfield, Vic.: Centre for Muslim Minorities & Islam Policy Studies. Supervised by Gary D. Bouma and Shahram Akbarzadeh.
  • 2008. Mapping Employment and Education among Muslim Australians. Caulfield, Vic.: Centre for Muslim Minorities & Islam Policy Studies. Supervised by Gary D. Bouma and Shahram Akbarzadeh.
  • 2006. Social Integration of Muslims in Cobram. Clayton, Vic.: Centre for Muslim Minorities & Islam Policy Studies. Supervised by Gary D. Bouma and Shahram Akbarzadeh.

Reviews

Book cover of Religious Diversity and the Social Inclusion of Muslim Australians

Thesis

Unpublished Fiction & Poetry

Decorative Moroccan plate
Coburg Fatih mosque
Henna decoration on hand
Minbar at Auburn Gallipoli mosque

Media

Audio & Visual

Brigid Aylward, Bara Alich, and Rachel Woodlock with Ray D'Arcy.
L-R: Brigid Aylward, Ray D'Arcy, Bara Alich, and Rachel Woodlock.

Print

Stained-glass window in Yemen
Camel-riding in Morocco
Lattice work
Pages from Qur'an manuscript

Qualifications

Employment

Education

Memberships