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Ali S. Asani

Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures; Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations; Asssociate of Lowell House

Director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program (on leave fall term)

Contact Information
Barker Center 305
(617) 495-5755
(617) 496-5798
Department of African and African American Studies
12 Quincy St. Barker Center Rm. 305
Cambridge, MA 02138

Professor Asani holds a joint appointment between NELC and the Study of Religion. He also serves on the faculty of the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies. He has taught at Harvard since 1983, offering instruction in a variety of languages such as Urdu/Hindi, Sindhi, Gujarati and Swahili as well as courses on various aspects of the Islamic tradition.  He is particularly interested in the comparative study of Islam and Muslim societies in local contexts, particularly in South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the United States, with an emphasis on artistic and literary expressions of Muslim devotional life. His books include: Let's Study Urdu: An Introduction (co-authored); Ecstasy and Enlightenment: The Ismaili Literature of South Asia; The Bujh Niranjan: An Ismaili Mystical Poem; The Harvard Collection of Ismaili Literature in Indic Literatures: A Descriptive Catalog and Finding Aid; Celebrating Muhammad: Images of the Prophet in Muslim Devotional Poetry (co-author); Al-Ummah: A Handbook for an Identity Development Program for North American Muslim Youth. He has numerous articles in journals and encyclopedias, including the Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World and The Encyclopedia of Islam in the United States. In 2002 he was awarded the Harvard Foundation medal for his outstanding contribution to improving intercultural and race relations through a better understanding of Islam