MemberMatthew Thomas Miller

Matthew Thomas Miller, PhD. is Assistant Professor of Persian Literature and Digital Humanities at Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park and and an affiliate of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities. He also serves as the Director of the Roshan Initiative in Persian Digital Humanities (PersDig@UMD) and as the co-PI for the multi-institutional Open Islamicate Texts Initiative (OpenITI) and the Persian Manuscript Initiative (PMI). He has received funding for these projects from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The National Endowment for the Humanities. His research the focuses on medieval Sufi literature, the history of sexuality and the body, and digital humanities. He currently is working on a book project, entitled Beautiful Bodies: Embodiment and Mystical Modes of Meaning Creation in Medieval Persian Sufi Literature, and a number of articles on computational or “distant reading” approaches to Persian literature and carnivalesque Sufi poetry. For more information, see his website: and

MemberNathaniel Mathews

I am a historian of East Africa and the Indian Ocean world, with a particular focus on the history and identity of the Swahili-speaking community in modern Oman. My book manuscript, Children of the Lost Colony, explores the modern migrations of this community from East Africa to Oman in the 1960s and 70s, their memories of Africa, especially Zanzibar, and their generative role in the evolution of Omani national citizenship. I have also published on Islamic reform and Arab identity in Mombasa, Kenya, the making of an abolitionist consensus in modernist Muslim thought, and the Ibadhi madhab in modern East Africa.

MemberNick Posegay

…segay, Nick and Estara J Arrant. 2020. “Three Fragments of a Judaeo-Arabic Translation of Ecclesiastes with Full Tiberian Vocalisation.” Intellectual History of the Islamicate World (2020), 1-38, [DOI].
Connolly, M.M. and Nick Posegay. 2020. “‘An Arabic Qurʾān, that you might understand’: Qurʾān Fragments in the T-S Arabic Cairo Genizah Collection.” Journal of Islamic Manuscripts 11 (3), 292-351, [DOI].
Posegay, Nick. 2020. “Connecting the Dots: The Shared Phonological Tradition in Syriac, Arabic, and Hebrew Vocalisation.” Studies in Semitic Vocalisation and Reading Traditions, eds. Aaron D. Hornkohl and Geoffrey Khan. Cambridge Semitic Languages and Cultures, 3. Cambridge: University of Cambridge & Open Book Publishers, 191…

MemberHugo Lundhaug

– Professor of Biblical Reception and Early Christian Literature. – Scientific Director of the Interdisciplinary Research School Authoritative Texts and Their Reception (ATTR) [2017-2020] – Principal Investigator of ERC-project Storyworlds in Transition: Coptic Apocrypha in Changing Contexts in the Byzantine and Early Islamic Periods (APOCRYPHA) [2020-2025] – Principal Investigator of ERC-project New Contexts for Old Texts: Unorthodox Texts and Monastic Manuscript Culture in Fourth- and Fifth-Century Egypt (NEWCONT) [2012-2016]

MemberMatthew R. Hotham

Dr. Matthew R. Hotham [Hoe-Thumb] teaches Islam (RELS 275), The Qur‘an (RELS 208), introductory Religious Studies and Core Curriculum classes, as well as advanced seminars on Animals and Religion, Religion, Colonialism and Modernity, and Islamic Mysticism at Ball State University. His research and teaching focus on embodied, affective, and material approaches to the study of religion. His classes incorporate role-playing, case studies, music, scents, religious objects, and visits to the David Owsley Art Museum to encourage students to think about religions as lived and living traditions that invite a diversity of embodied human engagements and responses. His research has two theoretically related but historically distant prongs. First, his in-progress book manuscript, Introductory Matters: Maligned Manuscripts, Ascended Bodies, and Contested Definitions of Sufism, highlights the complexity and diversity of the Islamic tradition through the study of an important but under-researched medieval Persian text, Nizami Ganjavi’s Treasury of Mysteries. The second prong of his research examines Euro-American constructions of the Muslim as an “other” to be feared, focusing on how a diverse array of contemporary literatures, from television shows to internet memes, use animals and animal imagery to construct the Muslim body as different and dangerous. In both projects, his work focuses on the body and bodily comportment, examining how what a person eats, drinks, smells, sees, and touches is used to mark the boundaries of religious identity. Hotham’s research and teaching have taken him around the world, including summers in India, Iran, Malaysia, Morocco, Syria, and Turkey. He is the advisor to Religion Conversation Hour, a student-run organization that meets weekly to explore themes central to the study of religion and topics from a variety of religious traditions. He is also chair of the Midwest Region American Academy of Religion section on Literature and Sacred Texts in the Study of Religion.

MemberAlp Eren Topal

I am an intellectual historian of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey with a focus on transformation of political concepts over the long duree. More broadly I am interested in the genealogy of modern Islamic politics. I have received my PhD degree in Political Science from Bilkent University in June 2017. My dissertation titled “From Decline to Progress: Ottoman Concepts of Reform 1600-1876” analyzes the changing conceptualizations of reform and tradition in Ottoman political writing from the late 16th century century to 1876. Currently I am a visiting scholar at Binhamton University working on my publications. I have been awarded the Gerda Henkel Stiftung post-doctoral research grant to work on my book manuscript. Between September 2014 and August 2015 I was a visiting researcher at University of Basel, Middle East Studies Seminar. I have also worked as a post-doctoral research assistant for the Horizon 2020 project “FEUTURE: Future of EU-Turkey Relations: Mapping Dynamics, Testing Scenarios” at Koç University between September 2016 and August 2017.

MemberLauren Osborne

My interests revolve broadly around perception and experience of religious texts. My areas of specialization include Islamic Studies, the Qur’an and Qur’anic Studies, Islam and music, and Sensory Studies in the study of religion. My current project is a book on meaning and experience across the sound, text, and performance of the recited Qur’an called, Recite! Aesthetics and Experience of the Recited Qur’an. In this work, I take a combined hermeneutic and ethnographic approach in considering the recited Qur’an in a wide range of contexts, illuminating the theoretical possibilities for interrelationships and discontinuities between different realms of meaning. In my research and teaching more broadly, I am interested in interactions between discursive and non-discursive meanings of religious texts—the Qur’an most specifically—, as well as sense experience within Islamic Studies and Religious Studies. I am currently the co-chair of the Qur’an Unit in the American Academy of Religion.

MemberSalam Rassi

I am an intellectual historian with an interest in theological, philosophical, and scientific encounters between Christians and Muslims living in the medieval Islamicate World. I earned my doctorate at the University of Oxford in 2016, and have since held research and teaching positions at the American University of Beirut and the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, Minnesota. I am currently completing a monograph based on my doctoral research on the anti-Muslim apologetics of the thirteenth-century bishop and polymath Abdisho of Nisibis.   My current research focuses on two interconnected areas: (i) the history of theological encyclopaedism among Syriac and Arabic-speaking Christians in the medieval Islamicate World and (ii) the Syriac reception of Avicennan philosophy. The first—theological encyclopaedism—examines a widespread genre of literature produced by Christian communities in the medieval Middle East: the summa theologica, or summary expositions of the Christian faith. These texts provide key insights into how authors articulated a Christian world view within a broader, non-Christian religious setting. The second—the Syriac reception of Avicennan philosophy—focuses on the impact of Avicenna’s metaphysics on the philosophical and theological oeuvre of Barhebraeus (d. 1285/6), a near contemporary of Thomas Aquinas and of comparable significance to the Syriac Orthodox tradition.   A further project involves the history of Arabic alchemy, in particular, the representation of the Christian as mediator of alchemical and occult knowledge in the pre-modern Islamic imaginary. Much of this work centres on an unedited alchemical primer attributed to Aristotle, of which I hope to produce a critical edition, translation, and study of its scientific and literary contexts.