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Alessandra L. González, Ph.D., Research Fellow

Alessandra L. González is a Religious Freedom & Business Foundation Research Fellow. She is also a Non-Resident Research Fellow at the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Previously, Alessandra was a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the James Madison Program in the Department of Politics at Princeton University and a Research Fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) at Baylor University. Prior to this she worked as a post-doctoral research associate at John Jay College, CUNY.

Alessandra received her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Sociology from Baylor University and received a B.A. in Sociology and Policy Studies from Rice University. She is the principal investigator of the Islamic Social Attitudes Survey Project (ISAS), a study in conjunction with Baylor ISR on Islamic Religiosity and Social Attitudes, including Women’s Rights Attitudes in the Arab Gulf Region.

Alessandra’s latest book is Islamic Feminism in Kuwait: The Politics and Paradoxes (Palgrave Macmillan Press). As Islamic states struggle to modernize and, in some cases, democratize, the issue of women’s rights continues to elicit strong feelings and controversy and there are many paradoxes surrounding the idea of Islamic Feminism. Why are conservative Islamists winning elections? Why are educated and professional Muslim women still choosing to wear the veil? Many of the populist revolutions we are witnessing in the Middle East focus on the legitimate grievances of marginalized groups and populations. This book highlights the voices of cultural elites in the oil-rich State of Kuwait, where we have been witness to a modern suffrage movement since when women were given their political rights in 2005. The result is a new brand of feminism, one born out of a traditional and culturally conservative climate, which gives Islamic Feminists in Kuwait the edge they need to soar to new heights.

Alessandra has forthcoming book chapters in “Women’s Encounter with Globalization” (Frontpage Publications) and “Islam and International Relations: Mutual Perceptions” (Cambridge Scholars Publishing), publications in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, the Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, and an op-ed on Islamic Feminism in the Dallas Morning News.

Alessandra has presented her research at the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy’s Conference on “The Rights of Women in Islam,” the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies, the Dialogue of Civilizations Conference hosted by the Institute for Interfaith Dialogue in Houston, the Gulf Research Conference at the University of Exeter, and various other academic settings.