Dr Rachel Woodlock

Dr Rachel Woodlock is an academic and writer with a special interest in the experiences of Islam and Muslims in the West. She 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, discussing some of life's biggest questions.

At Monash University, she researched employment and education trends among Muslims in Melbourne, Australia; studied the experiences of Iraqi migrants settled in regional Victoria; and her doctoral research looked at the social integration of religious Muslim Australians. She has lectured widely and taught subjects on Islam and Muslims at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Her other academic interests include conversion, religious pluralism, religious feminism and the Islamic heterodoxy. 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

Books & Thesis

Fear of Muslims? International Perspectives on Islamophobia

Editors: Douglas Pratt and Rachel Woodlock

This book takes a sober, evidenced-based look at the contemporary phenomenon of Islamophobia in both 'old-world' Europe, and the 'new-world' of America and Australia, and Southeast Asia. It includes theoretical and conceptual discussions about what Islamophobia is, how it manifests, and how it can be addressed, together with historical analysis, applied research and case-study chapters, considering the reality that manifests as a fear of Muslims.

Anxiety about the world's second largest religion manifests as prejudice, discrimination and vilification and, in extreme cases, violence and murder. The real and perceived problems of the relationship between Islam and the West contribute to the phenomenon of Islamophobia.

This is a unique, multi-disciplinary work, with authors approaching the topic from a number of academic disciplines and from different religious and national backgrounds, providing for a greater appreciation of the complexity and diversity of Islamophobia. This multicultural and multi-religious approach undergirds the valuable insights the volume provides.

This book will be of interest to all concerned with the phenomenon of Islamophobia, and especially researchers and students in the social sciences, as well as scholars with a specific interest in Muslims living as minorities in the West. Also, those working in political science, international relations, sociology, religious studies and other fields will all find it of value.

For God's Sake: An Atheist, a Jew, a Christian & a Muslim Debate Religion

By: Jane Caro, Antony Loewenstein, Simon Smart, and Rachel Woodlock

Four Australian thinkers come together to ask and answer the big questions, such as: What is the nature of the universe? Doesn't religion cause most of the conflict in the world? and Where do we find hope?

We are introduced to the detail of different belief systems—Judaism, Christianity, Islam—and to the argument that atheism, like organised religion, has its own compelling logic. And we gain insight into the life events that led each author to their current position.

Provocative, informative and passionately argued, For God's Sake encourages us to accept religious differences but to also challenge more vigorously the beliefs that create discord.

Jane Caro is an author, novelist, columnist, speaker, broadcaster, enthusiastic tweeter and award winning advertising writer. Antony Loewenstein is an independent Australian journalist, photographer and blogger. He is the author of two bestselling books, My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution and co-editor of Left Turn and After Zionism. Simon Smart is a Director of the Centre for Public Christianity. He has years of experience writing and editing both academic curricula and popular books. Rachel Woodlock is an academic and writer specialising in Islam and Muslims in the West.

Isolation, Integration and Identity: the Muslim Experience in Australia

Editors: Rachel Woodlock and John Arnolds

Islam is the world's second largest religion with an estimated 1.6 billion adherents spread across the globe, Muslims are thus incredibly diverse: culturally, linguistically and religiously. Although Islam is often presented as an Arab religion, the majority of believers (62%) are found in the Asia-Pacific region and it is Indonesia to Australia's north that is the world's largest Muslim country. In Australia, itself, there are over 340,000 Muslims from a wide array of ancestries, cultures, classes, language-groups, sects, political orientations, and with many different life stories.

This special issue of the La Trobe Journal makes an important contribution to the understanding of the Muslim experience in Australia, both past and present. It was published to coincide with the major exhibition, Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond, held at the Library in 2012. It includes an introduction to Islamic belief and practices, as well as articles on the history of Muslims in Australia, Islamic schools, the genesis of the Islamic Museum of Australia and the Young Muslims of Australia movement, amongst other topics.

Religious Diversity and the Social Inclusion of Muslim Australians

By: Rachel Woodlock

This thesis is an analysis of the experiences and social attitudes of 572 Muslims living in Victoria and New South Wales, in the context of questions about the success of Muslim settlement in Australia. It focuses on the differences—e.g. migrant versus Australian-born; residency in Victoria versus NSW; employed versus unemployed; age; sex; and approach to interpreting the role of Islam in society—that affect how religious Muslims experience integration and social inclusion.

It particularly focuses on the nature of Muslim affiliation with Australian identity, their attitudes towards the contentious issue of female segregation; and their subjective and objective wellbeing. There is evidence that despite vocal criticism from some non-Muslim politicians, commentators and anti-Islam ideologues, and the existence of anti-Western rhetoric from isolationist-fundamentalist Muslim actors, Muslim social inclusion in Australia is healthy and an affirmation of Australian multiculturalism.

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

Writing & Media

Annotated Bibliography

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

Chapters

Media

Audio & Visual
Print

Presentations

  • 2017. "Islam as Support and Stigma for Muslim Migrants and their Children." Paper presented at the Sixth Annual Conference of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions 'Religion, Myth and Migration'. Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland, June 16.
  • 2013. "A Descriptive Analysis of Religiosity Amongst a Group of Australian Muslims Living in Victoria and New South Wales." Paper presented at the Australasian Conference on Islam 'Muslim Identity Formation in Religiously Diverse Societies', Sydney, Australia, November 25–26.
  • 2009. "Muslim Women's Mosque Access." Paper presented at The Challenges of Religious Pluralism conference of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, July 27–31. With Susan Carland.
  • 2009. "Being an Aussie Mossie: Muslim and Australian Identity Among Australian-born Muslims." Paper presented at Islamophobia: Fear of the Other Conference, Monash University, Australian Catholic University, and the Australian Intercultural Society, Caulfield, Victoria, July 18–19.
  • 2008. "Muslim Wellbeing in Australia: Analysis of Personal and National Wellbeing Among a Sample of Muslims Living in NSW and Victoria." Paper presented at the 4th Annual Islamic Studies Postgraduate Conference, Centre for Islamic Law and Society, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, November 17–18.
  • 2008. "Perceptions of Extremism Among Muslims in Australia." In Proceedings of the 2008 GTReC International Conference, Monash University, October, eds. Sayed Khatab, Muhammad Bakashmar and Ela Ogru, 60–85. With Zachary Russell.
  • 2007. "Integrating Iraqis: Factors Impacting the Success of Muslim Settlement in a Rural Town." Paper presented at Cultural Diversity and Social Harmony: The Goulburn Valley Experience, La Trobe University, Shepparton, Victoria, September 26–27.
  • 2006. "Praying Where They Don't Belong: A Study of Female Converts and Mosque Access in Melbourne, Australia." Paper presented at Sawt (Voices) of Women: National Conference on Muslim Women, Canberra, ACT, September 1, 2006.

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

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

Resources

Recommended Reading

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.
  • Goo.gl: Google link shortener.
  • 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

leaf with Islamic jewellery
view of Sana'a from rooftop
interior view of Preston mosque dome
Muslims for Peace banner

Education

University of Melbourne, Australia

Master of Islamic Studies

Subjects: Islamic Banking & Finance; Islamic Education; Methodology of Hadith; Methods of Islamic Law; Muslim Philosophical Traditions; Methods of Qur'anic Sciences; Researching Islam & Muslim Societies; Sufism; Islamic Theology

Study Project: "An Analysis of Australian Muslim Conversion Testimonies"

Thesis: "Praying Where They Don't Belong: A Study of Female Converts and Mosque Access in Melbourne, Australia"

2004

Center for Arabic Language & Eastern Studies, Yemen

Certificate in Arabic Language
2002

University of Melbourne, Australia

Bachelor of Arts & Bachelor of Music

Arts Concentration: Arabic & Islamic Studies

Music Concentration: General Music

2000
Qur'an translations
Arabic on sign
Moroccan food
Geometric architecture

Memberships