• Jens Chr. Skous Vej 3, 1451, 522

    8000 Aarhus C

    Denmark

1997 …2023

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research

My research focuses on junctions for the transfer of religions and traditions in the late pre-modern and modern periods. My most recent book is Traditionalism: The Radical Project for Restoring Sacred Order (London: Pelican; New York: Oxford University Press, 2023). See the YouTube video here.

On the Islamic side, I have published a biography of Muhammad Abduh (2009), as well as two books on Sufism: Saints and Sons  (2005), dealing with the history of a group of Sufi orders, and Sufism: The Essentials (first published in 2000, and now reprinted and translated into several languages). An introduction to Islam with a difference--Islam and Muslims--came out in 2006. In 2021, I edited (together with Francesco Piraino) a collection, Esoteric Transfers and Constructions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Palgrave, 2021). I have also published various articles on sectarianism, religious change, and terrorism, such as "The concept of radicalization as a source of confusion" (in Terrorism and Political Violence, 2010).

On the Western side, I have published an edited collection,  Key Thinkers of the Radical Right: Behind the New Threat to Liberal Democracy (2019), and a monograph on Western Sufism: From the Abbasids to the New Age (2016). I have also published a collection, Anarchist, Artist, Sufi: The Politics, Painting, and Esotericism of Ivan Aguéli (Bloomsbury, 2021), and a collected volume on Making European Muslims: Religious Socialization Among Young Muslims in Scandinavia and Western Europe (2014).

My work on Guénonian Traditionalism, an anti-modernist movement which takes political as well as religious and philosophical forms, has resulted in the book on Traditionalism mentioned above, and also in Against the Modern World (2004), an active blog, and a number of articles.  Against the Modern World has now been translated into French, German, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Serbian, and Turkish.

Profile

I am professor of Arab and Islamic Studies in the department for the Study of Religion in the School of Culture and Society at Aarhus University, and currently a visiting fellow at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs at Leiden University. I trained as a historian at the Universities of Oxford and Bergen, and taught for any years at the American University in Cairo. At Aarhus, I am coordinator of the Arab and Islamic Studies Research Network (ICSRU). I am also chair of the Nordic Society for Middle Eastern Studies and president of the European Network for the Study of Islam and Esotericism. My current major project is an EU-funded project, DRIVE: Resisting Radicalisation through Inclusion, with partners from five other European universities.Jeg er professor i arabiske og islamstudier ved Afdeling for Religionsvidenskab på Institut for Kultur og Samfund ved Aarhus Universitet, og i øjeblikket gæsteforsker ved Institute of Security and Global Affairs ved Leiden Universitet. Jeg er uddannet historiker fra universiteterne i Oxford og Bergen og har undervist i en årrække på American University in Cairo. I Aarhus er jeg koordinator for Forskningsnetværket for Arabiske og Islamiske Studier (ICSRU). Jeg er også formand for Nordisk Selskab for Mellemøststudier og præsident for European Network for the Study of Islam and Esotericism. Mit nuværende hovedprojekt er et EU-finansieret projekt, DRIVE: Resisting Radicalisation through Inclusion, med partnere fra fem andre europæiske universiteter.

Teaching

I am on sabbatical during Spring 2024.

Undergraduate courses taught previously at the University of Aarhus include “Teori og metode i Arabisk- og islamstudier,” “Islam,” “Modern Islam,” “Politics of the modern Middle East and North Africa,” “History and Geography of the Middle East and North Africa,” “The Modern Middle East,” “Arab Media and forms of cultural expression,” “Society & Culture in Arab and Islamic Studies,” and several others taught only once.

Graduate seminars taught previously at the University of Aarhus include “Islam and Muslims in the West,” “Theory and Method in Arab and Islamic Studies,” “Sufism,” and several others taught only once.

Undergraduate courses taught previously at the American University in Cairo include “Survey of Arab history,” “Modern Middle East,” “Middle East 1700-1914,” “Middle East 1914-today,” “Sufism,” “Modern Movements in Islam,” “Terrorism and Jihad,” “Global politics 1900-today,” and “Zionism and modern Judaism.” 

Graduate seminars taught previously at the American University in Cairo include “The Islamic Reformation,” “Islamic Society and Modernity,” “Ottoman Modernity,” and “Nationalism, Socialism and Islamism.”

Areas of expertise

  • History of global Islam
  • Sufism
  • Traditionalism and esotericism
  • Terrorism and jihad
  • Arab world and the West

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