Listed in alphabetical order
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Nader Ardalan is an architect with more than four decades of award winning international experience. As President of Ardalan Associates, LLC, he is an expert in the field of environmentally sustainable and culturally relevant design. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie-Mellon University and a Masters in Architecture from the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University.

As of September 2006, Ardalan has been a Fellow of the Harvard Center for Middle Eastern Studies, where he is Project Director of the Persian Gulf Research Project (PGRP).  He is the recent joint recipient of a new Kennedy School Grant entitled: The New Urbanism in the Persian Gulf.

Ardalan is the co-author of The Sense of Unity (Chicago University Press), author of Blessed Jerusalem (Harvard University), and a number of other publications. He has been a Visiting Professor  at Harvard University, Yale University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Tehran University. He was a founding member of the Steering Committee of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.


Catherine Asher is a professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Minnesota. She is interested in the Persianate Muslim world and has studied the art history of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal civilizations.

This interest is reflected in her teaching on both an undergraduate and graduate level. Asher has written extensively on Indian art and architecture since 1200 in a series of essays and books, with a particular interest in the Mughals, and more recently, in how they were perceived in the 19th through 21st centuries. Her initial interest in South Asia derives from her book, Architecture of Mughal India (1992) and her co-edited volume, Perceptions of South Asia's Visual Past (1994). This theme and others is explored in her co-authored book, India before Europe (2006).

Currently, Asher is working on the built environment of Jaipur, a city with large Hindu and Muslim populations, from its foundation in the 18th century to the present.


Sussan Babaie

is an art historian. She is working on a book about transculturation, domestic architecture and cosmopolitan in the early modern Middle East and on a series of essays regarding contemporary arts in the region.

Babaie has taught at the University of Michigan and Smith College. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, a Fulbright Regional Scholar in Egypt and Syria, and is currently the Allianz Visiting Professor at the University of Munich.

Her publications include Isfahan and its Palaces: Statecraft, Shi‘ism and the Architecture of Conviviality in Early Modern Iran (University of Edinburgh, 2008), which won the 2009 Middle East Studies Association’s Houshang Pourshariati Iranian Studies Book Award. She also co-authored two books: Slaves of the Shah: New Elites of Safavid Iran (2004), and Persian Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989).

Babaie has also curated several museum exhibits, including the recent Strolling in Isfahan at the Sackler Museum, Harvard University.


William O. Beeman is Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the fniversity of Minnesota. He was trained at the University of Chicago as a linguistic anthropologist. He is past president of the Middle East section of the American Anthropological Association and former Director of Middle East Studies at Brown University.

He is the author of more than 100 scholarly articles and 600 opinion pieces which have appeared internationally. Beeman also has served as consultant to the U.S. State Department, the Department of Defense, the United Nations, and the European Union, as well as having testified before the U.S. Congress. 

His books include, Language, Status and Power in Iran; Culture, Performance and Communication in Iran; The “Great Satan” vs. the “Mad Mullahs”: How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other, and Iranian Performance Forms: Keys to Iranian Culture now in press.


Wadid Kadi is the Avalon Foundation Distinguished Service Professor Emerita at the University of Chicago, where she was Professor of Islamic Thought at the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from 1988 until 2009.

Born in Lebanon, she has taught at the American University of Beirut, Harvard University, Columbia University, and Yale University, before going to the University of Chicago. She has received several honors and awards, including the King Faisal International Prize in Arabic Literature in 1994.

Kadi has published widely on Islamic political thought, early Arabic prose, the impact of the Qur’an on Arabic literature, and early Islamic theology and sectarianism. Her most recent research concentrates on the administration and bureaucracy of the early Islamic state in the seventh and eighth centuries. Among her most recent publications are “Population Census and Land Surveys under the Umayyads, 61-132/660-750,” Der Islam 83 (2007), pp. 338- 413, and “The Salaries of Judges in Early Islam: The Evidence of the Documentary and Literary Sources,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 68 (2009), 9-30.


Jeanne Halgren Kilde holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota and currently serves as the Director of the Religious Studies Program at the University of Minnesota. As head of the Religious Studies Program, she has organized several symposia and colloquia on topics ranging from pedagogy and ethics in the study of religion to comparative approaches to religious space. 

She is a historian of religion in America, specializing in religious architecture and sacred space.  Among her authored and co-edited books are When Church Became Theatre: The Transformation of Evangelical Architect and Worship in Nineteenth-Century America (Oxford, 2002) and Sacred Power, Sacred Space: An Introduction to Christian Architecture and Worship (Oxford, 2008).

Her article “Material Expression and Maternalism in Mary Baker Eddy’s Boston Churches: How Architecture and Gender Compromised Mind” (Material Religion, July 2005) was awarded in The American Society of Church History’s Jane Dempsey Douglas Prize for the best article on women and the history of Christianity. 

She is co-founder and co-convener of the Space, Place and Religious Meaning Consultation of the American Academy of Religion.  


Anouar Majid is Director of the Center for Global Humanities and Associate Provost for Global Humanities at the University of New England.Majid's writings deal with the place of Islam in the age of globalization and Muslim - Western relations since 1492.

His books include We Are All Moors: Ending Centuries of Crusades Against Muslims and Other Minorities (University of Minnesota Press, 2009), A Call for Heresy: Why Dissent is Vital to Islam and America (University of Minnesota Press, 2007), Freedom and Orthodoxy: Islam and Difference in the Post-Andalusian Age (Stanford University Press, 2004), and Unveiling Traditions: Postcolonial Islam in a Polycentric World (Duke University Press, 2000).

All of Majid's academic books have been critically acclaimed. He was described by Cornel West in his 2004 book Democracy Matters as amongst a group of  "towering Islamic intellectuals." Majid’s work has been profiled by Bill Moyers in the PBS program Bill Moyers Journal and by Al Jazeera's Date in Exile.  He has written for the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Washington Post and other publications.

Majid is also a novelist, the author of Si Yussef, published in 1992.  He is currently working on a novel that deals with the aftermath of 9/11 on American-Muslim relations.


Nabil Matar is a professor in the English Department at the University of Minnesota.

His research in the past two decades has focused on relations between early modern Britain, Western Europe, and the Islamic Mediterranean.

He is author of numerous articles, chapters in books and encyclopedias, and the trilogy: Islam in Britain, 1558-1685 (Cambridge UP, 1998), Turks, Moors and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery (Columbia UP, 1999), and Britain and Barbary, 1589-1689 (UP of Florida, 2005).

He wrote the introduction to Piracy, Slavery and Redemption (Columbia UP, 2001) and began a second trilogy on Arabs and Europeans in the early modern world: In the Lands of the Christians (Routledge, 2003), Europe through Arab Eyes, 1578-1727 (Columbia UP, 2009), and is currently working on the third installment. 

Matar's next publication is forthcoming with Professor Gerald MacLean, Britain and the Islamic World, 1558-1713 (Oxford UP, 2010). With Professor Judy Hayden, he is co-editing a collection of essays on travel to the Holy Land in the early modern period (forthcoming Brill, 2011). With Professor Claire Jowitt, he is preparing an edition of three early modern English plays featuring Muslim women (forthcoming, the Revels Series, Manchester UP, 2012).

He is also completing a study and an edition of Henry Stubbe's The Rise and Progress of Mahometanism (forthcoming Columbia UP, 2012).



Ingrid Mattson is Professor of Islamic Studies, founder of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program and director of the Macdonald Center for Islamic Studies and Christian - Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut. 

She earned her Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of Chicago in 1999.  Her research and writing focuses on Islamic law and ethics, as well as gender and leadership issues in contemporary Muslim communities.  She has published a popular introduction to the Islamic sacred text, The Story of the Qur’an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life.  

From 2006-2010 Mattson served as President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); she previously served two terms as Vice-President.

She was born in Canada, where she studied Philosophy and Fine Arts at the University of Waterloo, Ontario (B.A. ‘87).  From 1987-1988 she lived in Pakistan where she developed and implemented a midwife-training program for Afghan refugee women.

Mattson is frequently consulted by media, government, and civic organizations and has served as an expert witness. 


Steven J. McMichael is an Associate Professor in the Theology Department, and the activities coordinator for the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, at the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minn. He is also a Franciscan priest (Order of Friars Minor Conventual) and lives at the Franciscan Retreat Center in Prior Lake, Minn

His interests include Franciscan studies and inter-religious dialogue, especially Jewish-Christian and Muslim-Christian relations. He has published in the area of medieval Jewish-Christian relations, particularly on the writings of Alonso de Espina (d. 1464).

McMichael is currently researching and writing on the topic of the theological approach to Muhammad and Islam in the 15th century and the resurrection of Jesus in medieval Franciscan preaching.



Ali Momeni was born in Isfahan, Iran, and immigrated to the United States at the age of twelve. He studied physics and music at Swarthmore College and completed his doctoral degree in music composition, improvisation and performance with computers from the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies at the University of California, Berkeley. 

Momeni spent three years in Paris where he collaborated with performers and researchers from La Kitchen, IRCAM, Sony CSL and CIRM.

He is interested in computation and gestural interaction in the arts, technologically mediated social interaction, urban interventions, and musical theater performance. 

Momeni currently holds an assistant professorship in the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, where he directs the Spark Festival and founded Minneapolis Art on Wheels.


Hamid Rassoul is a veteran space scientist, professor of physics and space sciences, and is the senior Associate Dean for the College of Sciences at Florida Institute of Technology.

His current research activities include X-ray and gamma-ray observations of thunderstorms and lightning, solar modulation of galactic and anomalous cosmic rays, instrument development, and space sciences education, and he also teaches specialized courses in physics and space sciences.

Rassoul has been involved in many types of professional and public service activities during his 35 years as a university educator. He has hosted several teacher workshop programs, created and participated in many interdisciplinary educational initiatives, and has been active with nationwide student clubs. Since 2007, he has hosted Space Coast Science Café, a county-wide outreach initiative aimed at educating local senior citizens on a range of science and engineering topics that have enhanced and enriched our lives.


George Saliba is a Professor of Arabic and Islamic Science at Columbia University in New York.

He studies the development of scientific ideas from late antiquity to early modern times, with a special focus on the transmission of astronomical and mathematical ideas from the Islamic world to Renaissance Europe.

Saliba received the History of Astronomy Prize from the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science in 1996, and the History of Science Prize given by the Third World Academy of Science in 1993. He has also been selected as Distinguished Senior Scholar at the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress (2005-6), and at the Carnegie Scholars Program (2009-10).

He is the author of Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance (2007); Rethinking the Roots of Modern Science: Arabic Scientific Manuscripts in European Libraries, Occasional Paper, Center for Contemporary Arabic Studies, Georgetown University (1999); The Origin and Development of Arabic Scientific Thought (in Arabic, 1998); A History of Arabic Astronomy: Planetary Theories During the Golden Age of Islam (1994); and The Astronomical Work of Mu'ayyadal-Din al-'Urdi (d. 1266): A Thirteenth-Century Reform of Ptolemaic Astronomy (1990).

Saliba has also authored more than 100 articles in scholarly journals, including "Greek Astronomy and the Medieval Arabic Tradition," American Scientist, 2002, 90, 4: pp. 360-367, and "Islam and Modern Science: Lessons from the Past," Oxygen: La Scienza per Tutti, April 3, 2008, pp. 101-104.


Khaldoun Samman is an associate professor of Sociology at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he is the program director for Middle Eastern Studies and Islamic Civilization. He teaches a wide variety of courses that range from Social Theory to Islam and the West. His special fields of interest include world-systems analysis, the sociology of religion, and historical/comparative sociology. 

Samman is the author of the book, Clash of Modernities: The Islamist Challenge to Jewish, Turkish and Arab Nationalism (2011) and Cities of God and Nationalism: Mecca, Jerusalem, and Rome as Contested World Cities (Paradigm 2007). He also co-edited a volume with Mazher Al-Zo’by, Islam and the Orientalist World-System (2008). He is currently working on a manuscript entitled Social Theories For Our Times.

He received his B.A. from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and earned his Ph.D. at Binghamton University in New York. 


Fouzi Slisli is an  interdisciplinary humanities scholar trained in the textual traditions of Islam and Europe with a focus on the relationship of religion to politics, literature and aesthetics.

In the European tradition, his work focuses on the relationship of secular literature to religion and politics and he recently completed a book on this topic, The Poet as Führer: The "Pathology" of Western Representation, which is currently under consideration at Syracuse University Press.

In the Islamic tradition, his work focuses on the relationship of Islam to politics. His work confirms that religion cannot be dismissed as simple dogma, but is rather a complex ideological system whose understanding demands an interdisciplinary approach and rigorous textual and philosophical analysis.

His work has been published in Race and Class, Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies, and The Journal of North African Studies.

Slisli is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Relations and Multicultural Education at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. He received a BA in Literature from Universite Mohammed I in Morocco, and an MA in Dramatic Studies and a Ph.D in Comparative Literature, both from the University of Essex in England.


Hazem Ziada  teaches architectural design at the College of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology, and co-teaches a summer class on “Sacred Space” at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology.  

He successfully defended his doctoral dissertation at Georgia Institute of Technology, titled “Gregarious Space, Uncertain Grounds, Undisciplined Bodies: The Soviet Avant-Garde and the ‘Crowd’ Design Problem.” He has practiced architecture in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S.

Ziada has presented numerous papers at scholarly conferences on topics such as “Kinesthetic Foundations of Spatial Concepts and Configurations.”   He presented “Aesthetics of Ritual Space: The Case of the Mosque,” at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion and is a member of that organization’s Space, Place, and Religious Meaning Consultation. Ziada also authored the “mosque before 1900” entry in the Oxford Companion to Architecture (2009).


Hossein Ziai is inaugural chair holder of The Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Chair in Iranian Studies, and Professor of Islamic and Iranian Studies at UCLA’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures where he has taught since 1988.  He is currently the Director of the Program in Iranian Studies. Ziai’s research encompasses Iranian/Islamic intellectual and literary traditions with a focus on Iranian/Islamic Illuminationist philosophy. 

His books include Philosophy of Mathematics (in Persian); Anvariyya; Knowledge and Illumination; Shahrazuri's Commentary on Hikmat al-Ishraq; The Book of Radiance; The Philosophy of Illumination; The Ball and Polo Stick, or the Book of Ecstasy; Ibn Kammuna's Sharh al-Taslwihat on Illuminationist Physics; and Addenda on The Commentary on The Philosophy of Illumination: Part One on The Rules of Thought.

He has also contributed many chapters to edited volumes including: "Beyond Philosophy" in Myth and Philosophy, edited by Frank Reynolds and David Tracy; "The Source and Nature of Authority" in The Political Aspects of Islamic Philosophy, edited by Charles Butterworth; three chapters in The Routledge History of Islamic Philosophy, edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Oliver Leaman; "Suhrwardi on Knowledge and the Experience of Light" in The Presence of Light: Divine Radiance and Religious Experience, edited by Matthew T. Kapstein; "Recent Trends in Arabic and Persian Philosophy" in The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy, edited by Peter Adamson and Richard C. Tyler; "Islamic Philosophy" in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Second Edition, edited by Ted Honderich; and "Falsafa" in The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology, edited by Tim Winters. 

Ziai is the author of many other articles on these topics and has presented numerous papers at national and international conferences. He earned a B.S. in Mathematics and Physics at Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Islamic Philosophy at Harvard University. 

Nahid Khan,
Jan 26, 2011, 4:25 PM
Nahid Khan,
Jan 26, 2011, 4:25 PM