Mbaye Lo

Mbaye Lo

Associate Professor of the Practice of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

External address: 
2204 Erwin Road Room 231, Box 90414, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90414, Durham, NC 27708-0414
(919) 660-4356
Office Hours: 
Monday & Wednesday 2-5 pm

I work primarily on Arabic discourse with a sub-specialization in the sociology of Islam, Islamic militancy, theories of civil society, in addition to the development of Arabic language and culture in Africa, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) & oral proficiency-based language teaching and testing. My scholarly interests are intertwined with my teaching. My teaching drives my desire to know, explore and engage. My research informs my approach to teaching and commitment to my students, colleagues and communities. As a recipient of Duke Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2009, I am passionate for both teaching and scholarly engagement on global level.

My interdisciplinary background, in both the humanities and social sciences, places my work on the intersection between language, society and religion. The intersection between language (Arabic) and religion (Islam) in modern Muslim societies stimulates my interest in militant Islam and modern governance. These intertwined concepts are the focus of my last three English books—Understanding the Muslim Discourse: Language, Tradition and the Message of Bin Laden (2009), Re-inventing Civil Society-Based Governance In Africa (2010) and Muslim Institutions of Higher Education in Postcolonial Africa (2015).

I am currently working on three projects:

Justice Versus Freedom. This book project analyzes the global conflict with militant Islam as manifested in two divergent visions of human values. There is the Islamist justice project and the neo-liberal freedom agenda. Militant Islam draws on the just cause argument to demarcate the lines of its ideological philosophy, while the neoliberal world dominated by the US brandishes defense of freedom in marshaling its forces against militant Islam. This binary difference exhibits itself loudly in the political language of militant Islam and is reflected in the practices of Islamist parties when they ascend to power, as witnessed most recently in Tunisia, Egypt and the Sudan. The project's goal is to provide a thought-provoking account of the root cause of the problematic political relationship facing the Western and the Islamic worlds today.

The Life and Works of Cheikh Moussa Kamara (1864-1945). Kamara writes exclusively in Arabic, and his work highlights aspects of jihad’s nonviolence intellectual traditions in Africa. I am analyzing his treatises and particularly his treatise against Jihad, Aktharu al-Raghibeen Fee al Jihad. You can read more on this project in the following link.

The Arabic Classroom: Context, Text and Students. (Edited volume of conference papers).