June 1, 2012

Barbara F. Stowasser, 76, a Georgetown University professor and expert on Islam, died May 13 at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

She had kidney failure, her son Andy Stowasser said.

Dr. Stowasser, an Arlington County resident, joined the Georgetown University faculty in 1966 and was considered a leading scholar of the portrayal of women in Islamic texts.

She was a professor in the Arabic and Islamic Studies Department and held the Sultanate of Oman chair in Arabic and Islamic literature at the university’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. She served three terms as director of the center.

Barbara Regine Freyer was born in Leipzig, Germany. She studied at the University of Muenster and received a master’s degree from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1959 through a Fulbright fellowship. She received a doctorate from the University of Muenster in 1961.

Her marriage to Karl Stowasser ended in divorce.

Survivors include two sons, Andy Stowasser of Roanoke and Mike Stowasser of Manhattan, Mont.; two sisters; and four grandchildren.

— T. Rees Shapiro