Professor giving a lecture to students in old main

 Ten Questions for the Religion Department: Dr. Phil Dorroll

Dr. Phil Dorroll

1. Who are three teachers who’ve had a particularly significant impact on you, and (briefly for each) how have they impacted you?

My undergraduate Religious Studies and Middle East Studies professors at Purdue University, Jacqueline Mariña and Stacy Holden, first encouraged me to focus on Islamic Studies; while my MA and PhD advisors- Kevin Jaques at Indiana University and Vincent Cornell at Emory University- showed me how to be a teacher and researcher. I unconsciously imitate all of them in some way or another every time I teach.

2. What are your ten desert island discs? 

1) Rachmaninoff’s Vespers
2) Rachmaninoff’s piano concertos
3) Bach’s cello suites
4) Prokofiev’s string quartets
5) Brahms’ cello sonatas
6) Tan Dun, Symphony 1997
7) Blackmill, Reach for Glory
8) The Glitch Mob, Drink the Sea
9) Nirvana, Nevermind
10) Metallica, Metallica

3. What is one book that has changed you, and how did it change you? 

John Locke’s The Reasonableness of Christianity- it showed me that theology and religious thought could be done in ways I had never even imagined before I read it.


4. Fill in the blank: “I am good at making ________________.”

things that seem serious less so.


5. What are the three research projects that you are currently most interested in working on?

I’m currently finishing my book manuscript on the history of Islamic theology in modern Turkey; working on a chapter about how to teach Islamic Studies in today’s political climate, for inclusion in an edited volume by Dr. Courtney Dorroll; and I’d like to start soon on a project that looks at discourses about Muslims, Islam, and religious freedom in colonial South Carolina and Georgia.

6. If time allowed for you do so, what is the one TV series (whether you’ve seen it before or not) that you would watch in its entirety? Why?

Parks and Recreation- it’s hilarious, and I wish Leslie Knope were real so I could vote for her.


7. In the last five years (or so), what is one way that your thinking about religion has changed?

I’ve realized that it will never stop surprising me.


8. What movie have you seen the most times, and why do you like it so much? 

The documentary No End in Sight- it changed the way I think about the US and its place in the world.

9. What is one class you haven’t gotten to teach yet, but you want to be able to do?

Gender and Sexuality in Islamic Traditions

10. When you were in high school, what did you want to be?

A forest ranger. Then I realized there are no libraries in the woods, so I changed my mind. But I still love to hike every chance I get.