Bahar Davary

Bahar Davary
Office: Maher Hall 287

Professor, Theology and Religious Studies

  • Ph.D., Catholic University of America, Catholic Theological Tradition and Inter-religious Dialogue
  • M.A., University of Tehran, History of Religion and Mysticism
  • B.A., University of Tehran, Islamic Theology

Bahar Davary, PhD, has been a member of the faculty at USD since 2005. She is a Professor of Religious Studies, and an affiliate member of the Department of Ethnic Studies, and the Asian Studies Program.   

Dr. Davary’s course repertoire includes: World Religions; Exploring Religious Meaning;  Islamic Thought & Culture; Islam, Women, & Literature, and  an Honors team-taught course; Women in Islam and Confucianism. Her courses aim at uncovering unexamined biases and binary distinctions, and at understanding complex dynamics of power and privilege in the study of religion. 

Professional Experience

Professor, University of San Diego, 2020-Present

Associate Professor, University of San Diego, 2010-2020

Assistant Professor, University of San Diego, 2005-2010

Assistant Professor, Hobart & William Smith Colleges, 2000-2005 


  • Mortar Board Award, University of San Diego, 2020.
  • Steber Award, University of San Diego, 2022-23.
  • Steber Award, University of San Diego, 2012-13.
  • Faculty Research Grants. University of San Diego 2004, 2008.
  • Henry Luce Grant. Encyclopedia of Women in Islamic Cultures, 2012-2014.
  • Mortar Board Award, University of San Diego, 2015.
  • The Adele Mellen Prize, for the book Women and the Qur’an: A Study in Islamic Hermeneutics. 2009.
  • Excellence in Community Service Award. Hobart and William Smith Colleges. 2003.
  • University Dissertation Fellowship. Catholic University of America, 2000-01.
  • Hubbard Dissertation Grant. Catholic University of America, 1999-2000.
  • Teaching Fellowship. Catholic University of America. 1995–2000.
  • John Quasten Scholarship Award. Catholic University of America. 1994–1998.

Scholarly Work

Davary’s research and publications are broadly within the field of Comparative Study of Religion with a focus in Islamic studies. Her first book Women and the Qur’an: A Study in Islamic hermeneutics (2009) focuses on development, continuity, and change in the portrayal of woman with an emphasis on dynamic identities of the texts. Her later works centers on the development of Muslim feminist scholarship, especially as it grapples with the challenges of Orientalism, colonialism, patriarchal Islamism, and neo-orientalism.  Dr. Davary has published several articles in academic journals, encyclopedias, and other forums. She has given over a hundred academic and public lectures locally, nationally, and internationally. 

Her work at the intersection of feminism and environmentalism arose out of a study of the Minang of Western Sumatra, and their Muslim matriarchy, as an example of an old age ecological-woman-centered wisdom. An underlying contemplative current run through her work, with attention to diversity, oppression, and resistance.

Davary’s second book, Eco-theology and Love: The Converging Poetics of Sohrab Sepehri and James Baldwin was published by Rowman and Littlefield (2022). The book   explores eco-theology and eco-poetics in the work of an influential twentieth century Persian poet/painter, Sohrab Sepehri (d. 1980) with allusions to the concept of love in the works and life of the American novelist, essayist James Baldwin (d. 1987).  This study investigates the interrelation of religion, poetry, and ecology through examination of poetry's ability to heighten the readers' awareness, to engage with difficult and complex contemporary issues, and to generate alternative narratives of environmental justice and love.  

Areas of Interest

Dr. Davary’s interest in the study of religion is comparative, often with the thematic approach revolving around issues of eco-theology, peace and justice, women & religion, and pluralism, explored especially through academic writings from scholars from the subaltern.  

Office Hours

Section 02
1/31 - 5/15 T TH 4:00 pm - 6:00 pmMaher 287
Section 03
1/31 - 5/15 T TH 4:00 pm - 6:00 pmMaher 287