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Arun Rasiah PhD


PhD   University of California, Berkeley, Education (Language, Literacy, Society and Culture), 2007

MA    University of California, Berkeley, Education (Language, Literacy and Culture), 2002

BA     Oberlin College, History, 1994


Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London, Fall 2019

Visiting Scholar, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Santa Barbara, Summer, 2019

Visiting Fellow, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford University, Hillary and Trinity Terms 2019

Associate Professor, Liberal Studies, School of Education, Holy Names University, 2018-present

Tenured faculty with appointments in history, interdisciplinary studies, religion, sociology

Assistant Professor, Liberal Studies, Education Department, Holy Names University, 2011-17

Lecturer, Summer Abroad Program, Granada and Barcelona, Spain, UC Berkeley, 2013-15

Lecturer, Critical Muslim Studies Summer School, Granada, Spain, 2011-13

Lecturer, Academic Skills and English, Contra Costa College, 2004-10


Literacies; critical pedagogy; Islamic education; Indian Ocean history; global history; decolonization.

Selected Publications

“Toward Muslim Pluralism: Dialogue and Discord in Contemporary Sri Lanka.” In J.J. Bock et al. (eds.). Emergent Religious Pluralisms. Lived Religion and Societal Challenges. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

“Ideas in Motion: Transmission of Shi’i Knowledge in Sri Lanka.” In Oliver Scharbrodt & Y. Shanneik (eds.). Shia Minorities in the Contemporary World: Migration, Transnationalism & Multilocality. Edinburgh, 2020.

“Another Cartography is Possible: Relocating the Middle East and North Africa.” Review of Middle East Studies 54, 1 (2020).


“Malcolm X and Educational Practice. A Curriculum of Decolonization.” Talking Points Seminar, Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London, May 19, 2020.

“Shifting Paradigms of Islamic Knowledge: Formations of Muslim Thought in Sri Lanka.” Beyond Sectarianism? Towards an Alternative Understanding of Identity Politics and Communal Antagonism, Woolf Institute, University of Cambridge, Oct. 24-25, 2019.

“Malcolm X: On Education.” Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London, Sept. 24, 2019.

“A Hidden Diaspora: New Formations of Muslim Ethnicity in Sri Lanka.” Us and Them: Diasporas for Others in the Indian Ocean. Centre for Interdisciplinary Area Studies, Martin-Luther University, Halle, Sept. 16-18, 2019.

“‘Think for Yourself”: Malcolm X and the Politics of Critical Thinking.” Graduate School of Education, University of California, Santa Barbara, August 29, 2019.

“Malcolm X in Retrospect.” Public Symposium, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, June 14, 2019.

“In Pursuit of Knowledge and Freedom: Malcolm X and Transformative Ethics in Muslim Life.” Visiting Fellows Seminar, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, May 27, 2019.

“‘Global Black Thinking’: Malcolm X, History and Epistemic Decolonization.” Africa in Global Intellectual History, Freie Universität Berlin, Nov. 25, 2018.

“Malcolm X and the Dialectic of Education and Incarceration.” San Francisco State University, Nov. 5, 2018.

“A Refuge of Ideas? Muslim Scholars in Transit and Sri Lanka in Transition.” Muslim Cultures in the Indian Ocean, Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, Aga Khan University, London, Sept.14, 2018.

“Autonomy without Exclusion: The Emergence of Shi’ism in Sri Lanka.” South Asia Anthropologists Group Annual Conference, St John’s College, University of Oxford, Sept. 5-6, 2018.

“Charting the Orient: Early Modernities from the Underside of South Asia.” South Asia across the Nordic Region (SANR) Annual Meeting, University of Oslo, June 5-6, 2018.

“Pluralism within Islam: Varieties of Intra-Religious Experience in Sri Lanka.” Conference on Emergent Religious Pluralism(s), Woolf Institute, University of Cambridge, April 16-17, 2018.

“Transformation in Ethics: Malcolm X and Literacy for Self-Determination.” Rethinking Transformation. Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, March 7-8, 2018.

“Voyage of the Moors: Arab Identity and Islamicate Modernity in Ceylon.” Beyond Bedouin and Bania: Arabia-South Asia Relations Conference. National University of Singapore, Dec. 7-8, 2017.

“Malcolm X and the Pedagogy of Global Decolonization.” Global Decolonization Workshop: Concepts and Connections. School of Advanced Study/History Dept., NYU, University of London in Paris, July 7, 2017.

“Seeking Knowledge and Teaching Emancipation: Malcolm X and the Politics of Self-Determination.” Religion-Knowledge-Discourse Conference, Humboldt University Berlin, Feb. 4, 2017.

“Revisiting the Orientalist Seminary: Other Accounts of Rationalism.” Symposium on the Comparative Study of Religious Seminaries. Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies and Centre for Research and Evaluation in Muslim Education, UCL Institute of Education, London, Oct. 5, 2016.

“Circulations of Learning: Modernizing Islamic Education from Qom to Colombo.” Trans-l Encounters: Religious Education and Islamic Popular Culture in Asia and the Middle East, Philipps-Universität, Marburg, May 27, 2016.

“Transregional Routes of Migration, Scholarship, and Pilgrimage in South Asian Islam.” Faculty of Intercultural Theology, University of Applied Sciences Hermannsburg (U. Gottingen), May 23, 2016.

“Ideas in Motion: Politics of Knowledge and Patronage in Indian Ocean Islam.” Shia Minorities in the Contemporary World: Migration, Transnationalism and Multilocality, U. Chester, May 21, 2016.

“Scriptural Formations: Textual Practices and Devotional Literature of the Indian Ocean World.” Forum Transregional Studien: Zukunftsphilologie Winter Academy, University Cape Town, Sept. 4-14, 2015.

“Stations of Ma‘rifa in the City of Knowledge: Qom as an Evolving Site of Mysticism.” International Network for the Study of Holy Places in Islam, University of Edinburgh, June 14-17, 2015.

“Modernizing Reason: Reinventing the City of Knowledge in Twentieth Century Qom, Iran.” Unsettling Colonial Modernity: Islamicate Contexts in Focus. University of Alberta, April 25, 2015.

“Making Connections: Historiography as Critical Thinking in the University.” Interdisciplinarity in History: An Old Method in a New World Context, Qatar University, Mar. 5-6, 2014.

“Islamic Education and the Black Liberation Movement after 1965.” Islamic Liberation Theology and Islamic Politics. Fundacion Euroarabe, Granada, June 18, 2013.

“Communalization of the State and Islamophobia in Post-Civil War Sri Lanka.” Fourth Annual Conference on the Study of Islamophobia, University of California, Berkeley, April 19, 2013.

“Changing Views of Shi’i Educational Philosophy in the Hawza ‘Ilmiyya of Qom, Iran.” Hawza Workshop, Clerical Authority in Shi’ite Islam, British Academy, London, June 15, 2011.


Islam; Middle East history; Islamic education; Muslims in the West; modern world history; globalization; int’l migration; race/ethnicity; social problems; social movements; first year experience; college reading and critical thinking; cross-cultural literacy; liberal studies seminar; senior colloquium; thesis supervision.


Teaching: Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Holy Names University, 2015.