Telephone - +44 (0)1334 463373
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Generally, I research medieval Islamic and Iranian history with a special interest in intellectual traditions in the post-Avicennan period. Particularly, I am interested in the interaction between later Ashʿari rational theology and the Avicennan philosophical tradition in the Timurid and Safavid periods. My work focuses on the philosophical and theological writings of Avicenna and his followers (especially the philosophers of Shiraz) and later Ashʿari theologians such as Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d. 1111), Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (d. 1209), ‘Adud al-Din al-Iji (d. c. 1355), Sa’d al-Din Taftazani (d. 1390), and Sayyid Sharif Jurjani (d. 1413).
My PhD dissertation focused on the lives, works, and thought of Sadr al-Din Dashtaki (d. 1498) and Ghiyath al-Din Dashtaki (d. 1542), both of whom lived in Shiraz during the late fifteenth and mid sixteenth century, and who, I argue, revived interest in Avicennan and Shiʿi thought at an age when Sunni (Ash’ari) rational theology was dominant.
My other research focus is on orthodox Shiʿi opposition to Sufism and philosophy during the late Safavid period with a special focus on the writings and polemics of Fayz al-Kashani (d. 1680) and Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi (d. 1698). I am also interested in the reception of philosophy in contemporary clerical institutions (the marjaʿiyya) in Iran and Iraq; I was part of the Clerical Authority in Shiʿi Islam Project, organised and run by the University of Exeter and the British Academy, from which I was awarded a research grant to examine the reception of philosophy in the seminary of Najaf in the early decades of the twentieth century.
Chapters in Books
I teach the following courses:
MH2002 - Introduction to Middle Eastern History
ME3613 - The Formation of Islamic Iran: from the Arab conquests to the Seljuq Empire (600-1200)
MO3080 - Nomadic Heritage and Persianate Culture: the Iranian world from the Timurids to the Safavids (1370-1722)
I also teach the following MLitt seminars on: