Florian Pohl

Associate Professor of Religion

Florian Pohl is Associate Professor in Religion at Emory University’s Oxford College. A native of Hamburg, Germany, Pohl earned his Ph.D. in Religion from Temple University, Philadelphia in 2007, after completing an M.A. in Religion at Temple in 1998 and a Diplom Theologe at Universität Hamburg in 2001.

His research examines publicly and politically influential expressions of Islam in contemporary Indonesia. A focus of his work has been the role of Islamic educational institutions in Indonesia’s process of democratic transition and consolidation. He is the author of Islamic Education and the Public Sphere: Today’s Pesantren in Indonesia (Muenster/New York: Waxmann, 2009). Among his recent publications is “Islam, State, Civil Society, and Education," in The International Handbook of Islamic Education, volume 7, eds. Holger Daun and Reza Arjmand (New York: Springer, 2018), 345-68. He was as a Fulbright US Senior Scholar in the Department of Religious Studies at Walisongo State Islamic University (Universitas Islam Negeri Walisongo) in Semarang, Indonesia, in the academic year 2014-2015. In summer 2017, he served as Forum-Humanum Visiting Professor in the Academy of World Religions at Hamburg University, Germany.  

At Oxford College Pohl regularly teaches classes on the Academic Study of Religion, Western Religions, Islam, Religion and Politics, and Sacred Texts. For the past years he has also taught a first-year sequence of Elementary Arabic. He has been a frequent co-facilitator of Oxford College’s Learning to Lead seminar, a discussion based class that introduces first-year students to selected leadership theories and their application at Oxvord College, and co-led Oxford College’s Global Connections travel seminar to Turkey in May 2009 and to Germany in May 2017.


Ph.D.| Temple University| 2007

M.Div.| Universität Hamburg, Germany| 2001

MA| Temple University| 1998

Courses Taught

LTL 100 Learning to Lead

DSC 100 Discovery Seminar

REL 100 Introduction to Religion

REL 150 Sacred Texts

REL 211 Western Religious Traditions

REL 314 Islam

REL 373R Religion and Democracy

REL 373R Islam and Politics

REL 383 Islam in America 

ARAB 101 Elementary Arabic I

ARAB 102 Elementary Arabic II

ARAB 201 Intermediate Arabic I


Teaching Fellow, Center for Faculty Development and Excellence, Emory University. AY 2018-2019.

Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award. April 2018.

Forum-Humanum Visiting Professor, Academy of World Religions, Hamburg, Germany. Summer 2017.

The Mizell Award for Superior Performance in Furthering the Education of Students at Oxford College, Oxford College of Emory University, 2016.

Research Grant, International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), Herndon, VA. Four-month grant to support travel, research, publication and dissemination of results: Interreligious Dialogue and Understanding: Constructing the Study of Religion at State Islamic Universities in Indonesia. Spring 2015.

Fulbright US Senior Scholar. Ten-month award for teaching and program development in comparative religion at UIN Walisongo, a State Islamic University in Semarang, Indonesia. 2014-2015.

We are Emory Community Builder, Honor. Nominated and selected as one of 100 We are Emory Community Builders for commitment and involvement to improve the community at Emory. 2011-2012.

Distinguished Teaching Scholar, Honor. The Distinguished Teaching Scholars (DTS) program is designed to honor faculty who are leading teachers and create university-wide conversation about pedagogy. 2010-2011

Phi Theta Kappa Teaching Award, 2010.

Emory’s Gregory/Rackley Career Development Award 2010-2011, for research on the role of Qur’an recitation in traditional Islamic Education in Indonesia. Awarded in May 2010.


"Islamic Education and Contemporary Challenges," in Handbook of Contemporary Islam and Muslim Lives, eds. Ronald Lukens-Bull and Mark Woodward (New York: Springer). Forthcoming.

“Islam, State, Civil Society, and Education," in The International Handbook of Islamic Education, volume 7, eds. Holger Daun and Reza Arjmand (New York: Springer, 2018), 345-68.

"On the Role of Interreligious Dialogue in Religious Studies Programs at Indonesian State Islamic Universities,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 50, no. 1 (Winter 2015), 159-165.

 “Islamic Education and the Limitations of Fundamentalism as Analytical Category,” in: Fundamentalism Reconsidered: Perspectives on Religion, Secularism, and Modernity, eds. David H. Watt and Simon Wood (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2014), 217-234.

“In Defense of Teaching: Revisiting ‘A Classroom Is Well Named’,” in Seeking Justice: The Journey of John C. Raines (Festschrift), eds. Miguel De La Torre and Edwin Aponte (Philadelphia: Temple University, 2013). Web. Available from www.cla.temple.edu/ religion/seeking-justice-the-journey-of-john-raines.

“The Muhammadiyah,” in The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Social Justice, eds. Stanley M. Burgess and Michael D. Palmer (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 241-255.

“Islamic Education in Indonesia,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Oxford Islamic Studies Online, ed. John L. Esposito (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).

“Negotiating National and Religious Identities in Contemporary Indonesian Islamic Education,” CrossCurrents 61, no. 3 (September 2011), 399-414.

“Southeast Asia,” in Modern Muslim Societies, vol. 2, The Muslim World, ed. by Ben Hollingum (Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2010), 292­-303.

“Muslim Schools,” in Encyclopedia of Muslim American History (New York: Facts On File, 2010).

“Indonesian Muslim Americans,” in Encyclopedia of Muslim American History (New York: Facts On File, 2010).

Islamic Education and the Public Sphere: Today’s Pesantren in Indonesia (Münster/New York: Waxmann, 2009).


“Religionizing Tradition: Constructive Adaptations of Confucianism in Indonesia,” Individual, State, and Religion in Asia, 58th Annual Meeting of the Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies, Rhodes College, Memphis, TN, January 18-20, 2019.

“Secularity I and the State’s Shaping Influence on the Conditions of Belief Beyond the West,” A Secular Age Beyond the West by Mirjam Künkler, John Madely, Shylashri Shankar (Book Session), 43rd Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, Phoenix, Arizona, November 8-11, 2018.

“Pancasila as Framework for Indonesian Citizenship in State Islamic Higher Education,” European Association for Southeast Asian Studies (EuroSEAS), 9th EuroSEAS Conference, Oxford, UK, August 18-21, 2017.

“Säkularisierung in multireligiösen Gesellschaften: Wieviel Trennung zwischen Religion und Staat benötigt die Demokratie? Interreligiöser Dialog in Indonesien und Impulse für westliche Gesellschaften” (Secularization in multi-religious societies: How much separation between religion and the state does democracy need? Interreligious dialogue in Indonesia and impulses for Western societies) und Podiumsdiskussion mit u.a. Dr. Andreas Dressel, Vorsitzender der SPD-Fraktion Hamburg im Rahmen der Reihe “Religionen und Dialog in der Stadt Hamburg,“ Hamburger Rathaus, Kaisersaal, Hamburg, Germany, 29. Juni, 2017.

“Islamic Education and Social Civility: Reflections on the Relationship Between Civil Society and Civil Religion,” Third Joint International Seminar on Religious Education in a Diverse Society: Promoting Civil Religion & Deliberative Society, jointly organized by the Institute for Research and Community Services (LP2M), State Islamic University (UIN) Walisongo Semarang, and S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, Semarang, Indonesia, November 18-20, 2016.

"Citizenship as Social Civility:  Re-negotiating the Limitations of Pancasila Pluralism at Indonesian Islamic State Universities," Association for Asian Studies, Annual Conference, Seattle, WA, April 1-3, 2016.

"When 'Religion' Becomes the Object of Analysis: Studying the Nation of Islam in the Introduction to Religion Course," Joint Session of the Religions in America and Teaching of Religion Sections, Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion, Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, March 4-6, 2016.

“Socially Engaged Religious Studies at Indonesian State Islamic Universities,” Fulbright Indonesia Research Seminar 2015, Plenary Session on Inter-religious Tolerance, Hotel Melia Purosani, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, May 20-21, 2015.

“The Challenge of Poverty to Character Education in Higher Education: Economic Inequality and the Teaching of Social Class,” International Conference on Education, University of Technology Yogyakarta, Poverty, Technology, and Policy: Threats and Opportunities of Character Education, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, May 9, 2015.