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Syed Rizwan Zamir

Education

Ph.D. University of Virginia
B.A. James Madison University
B.A. University of Punjab

Background

I teach introductory and advanced courses in the area of Islamic studies. Over the years my probing of humanities, humanity, and being human (i.e., what does it mean to be human?) has led me on a path of reimagining the study of Islam within a Western liberal arts institutional setting, and now to the path of engaging the Humanities and South Asian Studies programs.

Sharing my intellectual journey with others and developing new courses is a source of immense joy for me. I have developed and shared 15 courses in Islamic and religious studies. My Islamic studies courses range from overviews of Islamic life to specialized topics such as mystical life and thought, comparative study of Sunni and Shiite traditions, eschatology, literary texts and encounters of Islamic civilization with Western modernity. In my religious studies courses, I have explored with students the academic study of religion and its complexities and comparative religious art, and I offered independent studies on C.S. Lewis and Pakistan.

And once upon a time, I was an accountant in Islamabad.

Research

My dissertation focused on the religio-intellectual thought of a major contemporary Indian Shi'ite wise man, Sayyed 'Ali Naqi al-Naqvi (d. 1988). I have been "brewing" multiple projects side by side, some of which are book-length. These include an overview of Islamic Ethical Life and Practice; a volume on convergences and divergences among Sunnism, Sufism and Shiism; an overview of varieties within Islamic mysticism; and edited volumes on Imam Husayn (AS) and Sufi Mediation of Sunni and Shiite Divide.

I am on the international advisory board of journals Islamic Studies and Bayan al-Hikma, was co-chair of the Islam Section of the Southeast Region of the American Academy of Religion and have served on the board of the Southeast Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Seminar. I am also actively involved in the Society for the Study of Muslim Ethics.

Teaching

  • Islam in the Modern Age: Tradition, Fundamentalism, and Reform
  • Islamic City: Windows into Islamic Societies, Institutions and Culture
  • Classics in Islamic Literature
  • Islamic Ethics
  • Islamic Mysticism
  • Aliens, Strangers, and Zombies
  • Sunni and Shi'ite Islam
  • Islamic Eschatology
  • Art, Media, Technology and Religion
  • Muslim-Americans
  • Introduction to Study of Religion
  • Introduction to Islam
  • Connections and Conflicts/Revolution (Humanities)