Dr. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, Ph.D., University of Florida
Dr. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons is currently an assistant professor of religion and affiliated faculty in the Women’s Studies Department at University of Florida. Dr. Simmons received her Ph.D. in Religion with a specific focus on Islam from Temple University and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies.
Dr. Simmons’ primary academic focus in Islam is on the Shari’ah (Islamic Law) and its impact on Muslim women contemporarily. Simmons spent two years (1996–1998) living and conducting research in the Middle East countries of Jordan, Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. The areas of focus for her teaching at this time include Islam, women, religion and society; women and Islam, African American religious traditions; and race, religion, and rebellion. During her early adult years as a college student and thereafter, she was active with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Dr. Simmons spent seven years working full time on voter registration and desegregation activities in Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama during the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. She also served as director of the Laurel County Freedom Schools site during Freedom Summer of 1964.