Dr. Homayra Ziad

Dr. Homayra Ziad is the Scholar of Islam at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies.

Dr. Ziad was formerly Assistant Professor of Religion at Trinity College in Hartford. After receiving her first degree from Bryn Mawr, she earned a doctorate in Islamic Studies from Yale University. Homayra is deeply involved in interreligious education and training, as well as local, national and international interfaith initiatives and educational outreach on Islam. She is recently co-founder and co-chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Interreligious and Interfaith Studies Group, and co-founder/co-editor for the Palgrave series Interreligious Studies in Theory and Practice. Homayra’s research is in Indo-Persianate Islamic traditions, and she situates pre-colonial and early colonial India squarely within the Islamicate world. Much of her research is concerned with projects of reconciliation, and the hermeneutical struggle inherent in the encounter between systems of knowledge and identity-creation. Another contention that animates her work is that Sufi institutional and devotional structures, far from a rarefied mysticism, were in fact normative and inseparable from popular religious practice, and were the backbone of the Islamic humanities. Homayra’s work tries to avoid easy dichotomies, and deals with individual figures and movements that cross discursive boundaries. She is working on two books. The first looks at the interplay of religion and literary aesthetics in the consolidation of the Urdu/Hindavi literary tradition in North India, through the work of the eighteenth-century Sufi theologian and poet Khwajah Mir Dard. The second is a popular work on Islam and humor. Her scholarly interests include Sufi theory and practice, theologies of pluralism, Qur’anic hermeneutics, and religion and humor. She has published in both academic and popular venues. Her academic work has appeared in the Oxford Journal of Islamic Studies, The Muslim World, The Annual of Urdu Studies, and the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue, and she has contributed chapters to several edited volumes.

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