Meet the Scholar: Snapshots of Intellectual Journeys

Asma Afsaruddin – University of Indiana, Bloomington

University Website

Asma Afsaruddin is Professor of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington.  She received her PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Johns Hopkins University and previously taught at Harvard and Notre Dame universities.  Her research interests include Islamic religious and political thought (both modern and pre-modern); Islamic intellectual history; Qur’an and hadith; and gender in Islam. She is the author and editor of seven books, including Contemporary Issues in Islam (Edinburgh University Press, 2015); Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought  (Oxford University Press, 2013), recently translated into Indonesian, which won the World Book Award in Islamic Studies from the Iranian government (2015) and was a runner-up for the British-Kuwaiti Friendship Society Book award (2014); and The First Muslims: History and Memory (OneWorld Publications 2008), which has been translated into Turkish and Malay.  She has also written over fifty research articles and book chapters on topics as diverse as Qur’anic hermeneutics, hadith criticism, pluralism in Islamic thought, inter-faith relations, war and peace in the Islamic tradition; Islamic feminisms, and modern reform movements in Muslim-majority societies. 

Professor Afsaruddin is currently a member of the academic council of the Prince al-Waleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and is a past member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Religion.  She was previously the Kraemer Middle East Distinguished Scholar-in- Residence at the College of William and Mary (2012) and a visiting scholar at the Centre for Islamic Studies at the London School of Oriental and African Studies (2003).  She has also been a fellow with the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) based in Cairo and the American Research Institute of Turkey (ARIT) based in Istanbul.  Afsaruddin lectures widely on various aspects of Islamic thought in the US, Europe, and the Middle East and has served as a consultant for the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, as well as a number of other governmental and non-governmental agencies.  Her research has been funded by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which named her a Carnegie Scholar in 2005.  In 2019 she was inducted into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars in recognition of her scholarly and professional distinction in her field.