People | Islamic Studies

People

Co-Directors of the Islamic Studies Research Network

Dr. Alyssa Gabbay

Alyssa Gabbay is Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at UNCG. Dr. Gabbay received her Ph.D. from University of Chicago with a specialization in classical Persian literature and medieval Islamic history. Her research interests include women and gender in Islam, Shi‘ism, Sufism in the medieval Persianate world, and religious pluralism. At UNCG, she teaches Introduction to Islam, Approaches to the Qur’an, Islamic Mysticism, and Religions of Iran, among other courses. She is the author of Islamic Tolerance: Amir Khusraw and Pluralism (Abingdon: Routledge, 2010) and Gender and Succession in Medieval and Early Modern Islam: Bilateral Descent and the Legacy of Fatima (London: I.B. Tauris/Bloomsbury, 2020), as well as several other publications. She is currently working on a critical edition and translation of Amir Khusraw’s prefaces (under advance contract with Murty Classical Library of India, Harvard University Press). Dr. Gabbay is the recipient of the Candace Bernard and Robert Glickman Dean’s Professorship in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Foundation for Iranian Studies’ Best Ph.D. Dissertation on a Topic of Iranian Studies award, among other honors.

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Dr. Asa Eger

Asa Eger is Professor in the Department of History and Associate Director of the Humanities Network and Consortium (HNAC). He received his Ph.D from the University of Chicago in Islamic Archaeology with a specialization in the Early Islamic period. He has been conducting surveys and excavations in Anatolia and Syria-Palestine (the Levant) from the Byzantine period through the Early and Middle Islamic periods (until the 14th century) since 1996. He focuses on frontiers, landscape archaeology, and environmental history. as well as, issues of gender and sexuality in classical and modern Mediterranean cultures. Dr. Eger teaches Islamic Civilization 600-1200 C.E. (Fall), Islamic Civilization 1200-present (Spring), Islamic Art and Architecture, Byzantine Civilization (337-850 C.E.), Environmental History of the Near East, Frontiers in the Mediterranean World, Town and Country in Medieval Islamic Society, and has co-taught two courses on the monuments of Istanbul and sites of Cyprus with study abroad to each country incorporated in each. His first book, The Spaces Between the Teeth: A Gazetteer of Towns on the Islamic-Byzantine Frontier was published in 2012 by Ege Yayınları in Istanbul with a second edition in 2014. His second book, The Islamic-Byzantine Frontier: Interaction and Exchange Among Muslim and Christian Communities, was published in 2015 by I. B. Tauris in London and won the American Schools of Oriental Research G. Ernest Wright Book Award in 2015. He edited The Archaeology of Medieval Islamic Frontiers: From the Mediterranean to Caspian Seas by University of Colorado Press in 2019. His most recent book, released May 2021, is entitled Antioch: A History, co-authored with Andrea de Giorgi and published with Routledge. In 2011-2012 he was a Fellow in Hellenic Studies at Princeton University and a Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks (Harvard University) in Byzantine Studies and in 2016-2017 a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies.

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Dr. Jazmin Graves Eyssallenne

Dr. Jazmin Graves Eyssallenne

Dr. Jazmin Graves Eyssallenne is Assistant Professor in the African American and African Diaspora Studies Program and Lloyd Honors College at UNCG. Jazmin received her Ph.D. from the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago in 2021. Jazmin’s research centers on the Sufi devotional tradition of the Sidis, Indians of African ancestry, of Gujarat and Mumbai. Her broader research interests include Islamic, particularly Sufi, traditions and literatures in India, the African diaspora in South Asia, and African diasporan religions of the Indian Ocean and Atlantic worlds. Among other courses at UNCG, Jazmin teaches Introduction to African American & African Diaspora Studies (ADS 201), The Making of the African Diaspora (ADS 356), and Special Topics in the African Diaspora (ADS 306). Jazmin’s ADS 306 course topics include Islam in the African Diaspora and Introduction to the African Diaspora in South Asia. Jazmin is also developing a Hindi-Urdu language course geared toward students of Islamic Studies and African Diaspora Studies. Jazmin’s research has been published and is forthcoming in several edited volumes and journals, including The Routledge Handbook of Islam in Asia (2021). She also co-edited the three-volume publication, Afro-South Asia in the Global African Diaspora (2020), with Dr. Omar H. Ali. In 2018, Jazmin was named one of the MIPAD Global Top 100 Most Influential People of African Descent Under 40 for her service project, the Ahmedabad Sidi Heritage and Educational Initiative.

Faculty Website: https://aads.uncg.edu/directory/graveseyssallenne/

Publications:

  • “Mumbai, Where Indian Ocean Diasporas and Cosmopolitanisms Meet.” JSTOR Daily. June 14, 2022. https://daily.jstor.org/mumbai-indian-ocean-diasporas-cosmpolitanisms-meet/
  • “A Tree Enrooted: African Sufi Saints as “Lineage Deities” of a Muslim Community of East African Ancestry in Western India (Gujarat and Mumbai).” In Ed. Chiara Formichi, Routledge Handbook of Islam in Asia, 2021.
  • Afro-South Asia in the Global African Diaspora, 3 Vols. (The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Ethiopian and East African Studies Project and Ahmedabad Sidi Heritage and Educational Center, 2020) 
  • “Filling the Pot: The Remembrance of African Sufi Ancestor-Saints and the Reclamation of African Historical Heritage in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.” In Journal of Africana Religions. Vol. 7:1 (2019). Accessible at https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5325/jafrireli.7.1.0094?seq=1
  • “Mai Misra’s Khicari: Remembrance and Ritual Re-presentation in the Sidi (African-Indian) Sufi Tradition of Western India.” In Symposia, Special Issue: Selected Papers from the Graduate Conference for South Asian Religions. Vol. 9 (2018). Accessible at https://symposia.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/symposia/article/view/29362

Dr. Omar H. Ali

Omar H. Ali is Dean of Lloyd International Honors College and Professor of Comparative African Diaspora History at UNCG. A graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science, he studied ethnography at the School of Oriental and African Studies before receiving his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University. He is the author of five books, including Islam in the Indian Ocean World and Malik Ambar: Power and Slavery Across the Indian Ocean, and the co-editor of the three-volume publication, Afro-South Asia in the Global African Diaspora. Ali served for seven years as a Road Scholar for the North Carolina Humanities Council, lecturing across the state on “The Many Faces of Islam” and was Lead Scholar for the Council’s Summer Institute “Muslim Journeys: Islam and its Many Roads.” He has consulted on a number of projects including for the Smithsonian Channel’s “One Thousand Years a Slave” and Rhiannon Giddens’ “Omar,” an opera based on the life of Omar Ibn Sayid, an enslaved Muslim Senegalese in North Carolina. A former visiting Fulbright professor of history and anthropology at Universidad Nacional de Colombia and Library Scholar at Harvard University, where carried out research on Muslim African rebels in Latin America, Ali was named Carnegie North Carolina Professor of the Year in 2016 and Knight in the Order of the Academic Palms by the French government in 2021 for his work with teachers around the world.

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Affiliated Scholars

  • Diya Abdo (CNNC and Guilford College)
  • Ayla Amon (Honors and North Carolina Museum of History)
  • James Anderson (History)
  • Ali Askerov (Peace and Conflict Studies)
  • Roberto Campo (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)
  • Aisha Dad (Honors and Wake Forest University)
  • Noor Ghazi (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)
  • Ellen Haskell (Religious Studies)
  • Derek Krueger (Religious Studies)
  • Cybelle McFadden (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)
  • Jerry Pubantz (Political Science)
  • Neelofer Qadir (English, International and Global Studies)
  • Rohit Singh (Religious Studies)
  • David Wight (History)