Max Johnson Dugan

PhD Candidate


Cohen 229


Max (he/him) is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania specializing in Islam. His research focuses on Islamic materiality in the twenty-first century, especially in North America. Max’s dissertation project examines Islamic tattooing and Halal consumption using a combination of ethnographic methods and digital humanities. The project will speak to issues of class, gender, ethnicity, and communal authority, while offering insight into non-elite, lived Islam in the United States.

In addition to his dissertation, Max has ongoing research projects on the circulation of Islamic ethics by Islamic wall art, the pedagogies of affect in Salat instructional videos, and the incorporation of basketball courts into Islamic centers in the United States. Before arriving at Penn, Max received a BA in religious studies with highest honors from Kenyon College. His experience teaching, administering educational programs, and doing community development in and around Philadelphia provided many of the sparks which Max continues to explore in his academic research.


BA, Religious Studies, Kenyon College

Research Interests

Islamic material and visual culture, embodiment, and affect

Islam in North America

Islamic tattoos

Halal consumption


Research Areas
American Religions
Material & Visual Culture
Courses Taught

Spring 2020: Teaching Assistant, "Islam and the West" 

Fall 2019: Teaching Assistant, "Religion and Science" 

Spring 2019: Teaching Assistant, "Religion and Sports"

Fall 2018: Teaching Assistant, "Islam in the Modern World"


American Academy of Religion

CV (file)