Larycia Hawkins, PhD., is a scholar, a political science professor, and activist. While a professor at a Christian university, Wheaton College, she declared her intention in a viral Facebook post to don a hijab in embodied solidarity with Muslim sisters throughout the season of Advent. Her actions initiated a national and international conversation about the nature of God and the possibilities for multi-faith solidarity in a time where Islamaphobia, xenophobia, religiously-motivated hate crimes, and racism are more prolific than any time in history. Living out the Sermon on the Mount also resulted in a legal separation from Wheaton College, where she was the first black woman to receive tenure in the university’s history—a history inclusive of being a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Today, Professor Hawkins is General Faculty in the Departments of Politics and Religious Studies at the University of Virginia; serves as Faculty in the Religion, Race, and Democracy Lab; is a co-convener of the Religion and its Publics Project of the Henry Luce Foundation; and is a Faculty Fellow on the Race, Faith, and Culture Project at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture.