Omid Safi

Omid Safi

Professor in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

External address: 
Duke Islamic Studies Center, Durham, NC 27708
(919) 668-1955

The first aspect of my research deals with Persian mystical literature in the classical (1000-1400) period.   I am also interested in the interaction and negotiation of religion and politics in the same period, a topic I wrote on in my Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam book.   My interest in this topic shapes the way that I trace the mystical commemoration and contestation of Muhammad, which I covered in my Memories of Muhammad volume.  My future works on mystical Persian poetry and Rumi are from this aspect of my research.

The second major aspect of my work deals with contemporary issues of Islamic reform, and progressive interpretations of Islam, which I have covered in publications like Progressive Muslims, Voices of Islam:  Voices of Change, and Cambridge Companion to American Islam.

Geographically, I am interested in everywhere that Persian has been a major presence in high-culture, meaning Iranian plateau, Central Asia, North India, and Turkey. The more contemporary aspects of my work are global in nature, and emphasize United States and Iran, among other sites.

Professor Safi leads educational adult tours to Turkey and Morocco, which are open to everyone regardless of age and university affiliation.  For dates and more detail, see:

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Duke University 2000

Selected Grants

QFI Summer Workshop 2018 awarded by Qatar Foundation International (Principal Investigator). 2018

QFI Summer Workshop for K-12 Teachers awarded by Qatar Foundation International (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2018

ARCUS Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity in Islamic Primary Sources awarded by ARCUS Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2018

Hammer, J, and Safi, O. The Cambridge companion to American Islam. January 1, 2011. Full Text

Safi, O. "Who Put Hate in my Sunday Paper?: Uncovering the Israeli-Republican-Evangelical Networks behind the "Obsession" DVD." Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, and Complexities. January 1, 2011. 21-32. Full Text

Safi, O. "All that is between them." Parabola 31.2 (December 1, 2006): 72-76.

Safi, O. "Bargaining with Baraka: Persian Sufism, "mysticism," and pre-modern politics." Muslim World 90.3-4 (September 1, 2000): 259-287.