Skip to main content


Affiliated Faculty


Visiting Faculty & Researchers

Nathan Gibson –

Geoffrey Moseley – Visiting Scholar


Graduate Students

Mohammed Allehbi – (History) Ph.D. student in Medieval Islamic History with a focus on the Abbasid Caliphate. Holds an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago. Research focuses on how medieval Muslim governments maintained their authority in cities that they ruled through criminal law enforcement.

Ashkan Bahrani – (Religion) has an MA in Islamic Philosophy and Theology from Shiraz University (2009). Published both original research on comparative mysticism, and works of translation from English into Persian. His primary research interests include the intellectual history of Sufism and critical theory of religion. He is also interested in contemporary Islamic thought, Middle East studies, and Christian theological studies.

Shounak Ghosh – (History) is a second-year graduate student, working on the practices and cultures of diplomacy in early modern South Asia. His advisor is Professor Samira Sheikh. He received his education and training in History from Presidency College, Kolkata and the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His M.Phil. dissertation, Negotiating Rivalries: Trade, Territoriality and Diplomacy in Sixteenth Century Coastal Gujarat and Western Deccan, problematizes existing historiographical understandings of power contestations in early modern South Asia using the analytical category of diplomacy and the paradigm of connected histories. His research interests center around institutions of statecraft and governance, diplomatic encounters and power contestations in early modern Eurasia; regional histories of the Deccan plateau and Konkan coast; maritime trade in the Indian Ocean; connected and comparative histories of states and empires in early modern Islamic East.

Vineet Gupta – (Religion) has a deep interest in South Asian devotional traditions, namely Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh, and is particularly fascinated by rituals, practices, and beliefs amongst the lay followers of these traditions. Before joining Vanderbilt’s PhD program in Religion in Fall 2018, he completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees in South Asian history in Delhi (India) and Heidelberg (Germany). His PhD research focuses on the Bohras, the Tayyibi-Ismaili Muslim group settled in western India, primarily in the state of Gujarat. He is working under the supervision of Prof. Tony K. Stewart and Prof. Samira Sheikh.

Ismail Kurun – (Philosophy) works on medieval political philosophy, empiricism, epistemology, and Avicenna. His book, The Thelogical Origins of Liberalism, appeared in 2016 with Lexington Books.

Austin Luebke – (Religion) holds an MA in Religion from the University of Chicago. His research interests include characterizations of Sufi practice and experience as the embodiment of wider Ash‘arite theology, perceptions of orthodoxy and heterodoxy with respect to Sufism, and debates and practices around Islamic shrine culture of the premodern Middle East.

Taryn Marashi – (History) Ph.D. student with a focus on sectarian communities and conflict under Abbasid rule. Her research interests include mysticism, sectarian development and thought, early Islamic literature, shrines and the politics of pilgrimage.

Dipanjan Mazumder – (History) is working on the production of cultural authority along the frontiers of Mughal Empire in early modern South Asia. He was introduced to the discipline of history as an undergraduate student in Presidency College, Kolkata and thereafter was educated at the University of Calcutta, Jamia Millia Islamia, and the University of Delhi. Presently his research focuses on the political, economic, and the cultural production of the ‘local’ along the edges of the successive empires in Bengal between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries. His advisor is Professor Samira Sheikh.

Mohammad Meerzaei – (Religion) holds a B.A. in Persian Literature from Shiraz University and an M.A in Old Iranian Culture and Languages from Bu-Ali Sina University, Iran. Primary research foci are the religious milieu of the Middle East in Late Antiquity, Qur'anic studies, and Persian Sufi Literature.

Luis Serrano Lora – (Religion) holds an MA in Qur'an and Translation Studies from the University of Granada. His research focuses on Qur'an and multi-linguistic paradigms for religion and text, intertextuality, and orality.