Asma Afsaruddin is Professor of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (MELC) in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, and Adjunct Professor in Religious Studies and Gender Studies. Her research interests include Islamic religious and political thought; Islamic intellectual history; issues of war and peace, interfaith relations, and gender in Islam. She is the author and editor of eight books, including Jihad: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2022); Contemporary Issues in Islam (Edinburgh University Press, 2015); Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought (Oxford University Press, 2013), which won the World Book Award in Islamic Studies from the Iranian government (2015); was a runner-up for the British-Kuwaiti Friendship Society Book award (2014), and has been translated into Indonesian; and The First Muslims: History and Memory (OneWorld Publications 2008), which has been translated into Turkish and Malay. Between 2011-2014, she was chair of MELC and received a Trustees Teaching Award in 2021. Afsaruddin is very active in mentoring undergraduate and graduate students and several of her students have won internal and external awards. In 2017, she co-directed (with Prof. Abdulkader Sinno) a lecture series titled “Islam in the American Public Sphere” and its follow-up in 2018 titled “Islam in the Global Sphere,” which highlighted, among other issues, the problem of an escalating Islamophobia in the US as well as globally.
Professor Afsaruddin is a past member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Religion and a current member of the International Advisory Council of the World Congress of Middle East Studies and of the Academic Council of the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. 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). In 2015-2016, she was co-PI for a Humanities Without Walls grant from the Mellon Foundation which funded the project “Muslims in the Midwest: an Oral History Project,” now archived at Michigan State University. Afsaruddin lectures frequently on various aspects of Islamic thought in the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, and has served as an advisor to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the US State Department and the US Institute of Peace. Her public-facing essays and commentaries have been published in various venues, including the Huffington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Conversation, the Christian Science Monitor, and Religion Dispatches. She has won major research grants from 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 the scholarly and professional distinction she has achieved in her field.