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People: Core Faculty

Asma AfsaruddinAsma Afsaruddin

  • Professor, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Religious Studies
  • Affiliated Professor, Department of Gender Studies


  • PhD, Johns Hopkins University, 1993 (Near Eastern Studies)

Research Interests

  • Pre-modern and modern Islamic religious and political thought
  • Quranic hermeneutics
  • Hadith criticism
  • Exegetical, legal, and ethical perspectives on jihad and martyrdom
  • Muslim attitudes towards the People of the Book
  • Islam and religious pluralism
  • Gender roles

Contact Information

Office: Global and International Studies Building 3041
Phone: (812) 856-7347

Courses Recently Taught

  • Golden Age of Islamic Civilization
  • Islamic Texts: Tafsir
  • Islamic Texts: Hadith Sciences
  • Islam and Modernity
  • War and Peace in the Islamic Tradition
  • Islamic Feminisms
  • Jihad in Islamic Texts

Publication Highlights

  • Contemporary Issues in Islam. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015.
  • Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Winner of the runner-up prize from the British-Kuwaiti Friendship Society (2014); World Book Award in Islamic Studies from the Iranian government (2015).
  • "Shari'a and Fiqh" In the Oxford Handbook of American Islam. Ed. Jane Smith and Yvonne Haddad. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Pp. 174-186.
  • "Martyrdom in Islam: A Historical Survey," in Terrorism, Martyrdom, and Religion: European Perspectives in Global Context. Eds. Dominic Janes and Alex Houen. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Pp. 40-58.
  • "Islamic Feminisms: Gender Egalitarianism and Legal Constraints," in Social Difference and Constitutionalism in Pan Asia. Ed. Susan Williams. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Pp. 319-352.
  • Senior Editor. Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Editor. Islam, the State, and Political Authority: Medieval Issues and Modern Concerns. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2011.
  • "Where Heaven and Earth Meet: Remembering Muhammad as Head of State." In The Cambridge Companion to Muhammad, edited by Jonathan Brockopp, 180-98. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
  • The First Muslims: History and Memory. Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2008. Winner of the Dost Award, Turkkad, Istanbul, 2013. Translated by Deniz Kaynak into Turkish as Ilk Müslümanlar: Tarih ve Bellek. Istanbul: Tuti Kitap, 2014.
  • Excellence and Precedence: Medieval Islamic Discourse on Legitimate Leadership. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2002.
  • Editor. Hermeneutics and Honor: Negotiating Female Public Space in Islamic Societies. Middle East Monograph series. Cambridge, MA: Center for Middle East Studies, Harvard University, 1999.
  • "The Hermeneutics of Inter-Faith Relations: Retrieving Moderation and Pluralism as Universal Principles in Qur'anic Exegeses." Journal of Religious Ethics (2009): 331-45.
  • "Obedience to Political Authority: An Evolutionary Concept." In Islamic Democratic Discourse: Theory, Debates, and Directions., edited by Muqtedar Khan, 37-60. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2006.
  • "The Islamic State: Genealogy, Facts, and Myths." Journal of Church and State 48 (2006): 153–73.
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