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Kambiz GhaneaBassiri

Kambiz GhaneaBassiri is Professor of Religion and Humanities at Reed College. He received his bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from Claremont McKenna College (1994) and his master’s and doctoral degrees in Islamic Studies with a minor in American Religious History from the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard University (2003). His scholarship and teaching stand at the intersection of American religious history and Islamic history in the classical (8th-11th centuries) and modern periods (19th-20th centuries). 

GhaneaBassiri’s latest book, A History of Islam in America: From the New World to the New World Order (Cambridge University Press, 2010), is the first comprehensive history of American Islam. It analyzes the centuries-old presence and diversity of Muslims in the United States. Focusing on the communal relations Muslims formed and the institutions they developed, it demonstrates how Muslims have participated in American history and narrates the ways in which they have defined themselves and their religion in relation to changing conceptions of race, religious pluralism, and national identity in the United States.

GhaneaBassiri’s current book project focuses on the mosque as a central institution in the historical development of Islam. A significant section of this book deals with controversies surrounding mosques in North America and Northern Europe. In contrast to conceptions of secularism that view mosques in North American and Europe as a symbol of Muslim presence and identity, his project examines the mosque as a community-building institution through which Muslims spatially and religiously negotiate their relation with one another as well as with non-Muslims and liberal democratic states.

In 2012, GhaneaBassiri served as the national scholar for the “American Stories” section of the National Endowment of the Humanities/American Library Association’s Muslim Journeys Bookshelf. He is the founding co-editor a new books series being developed by Bloomsbury Academic Publishing on “Islam of the Global West.” His research and scholarship has been supported in part by a Guggenheim fellowship and a Carnegie Scholar Award.

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