Advisory Board

Dr. Juan R. I. Cole

Dr. Juan R. I. Cole is author of the popular blog Informed Comment: Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion and is President of the Global Americana Institute. (Learn about their translation project!) He is also Professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History at the History Department of the University of Michigan. He has written extensively about modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf, and South Asia. He has given numerous media and press interviews on the War on Terrorism since September 11, 2001, as well as concerning the Iraq War that began in 2003. His current research focuses on two contemporary phenomena: 1) Shiite Islam in Iraq and Iran and 2) the “jihadi” or “sacred-war” strain of Muslim radicalism, including al-Qaeda and the Taliban among other groups. Cole commands Arabic, English, Persian and Urdu and reads some Turkish, knows both Middle Eastern and South Asian Islam, and lived in a number of places in the Muslim world for extended periods of time.
His most recent book is Sacred Space and Holy War. This volume collects some of his work on the history of the Shiite branch of Islam in modern Iraq, Iran and the Gulf. He treated Shi`ism in his coedited book, Shi`ism and Social Protest, of his first monograph, Roots of North Indian Shi`ism in Iran and Iraq. His interest in Iranian religion is further evident in his work on Baha’i studies, which eventuated in his 1998 book, Modernity and the Millennium: The Genesis of the Baha’i Faith in the Nineteenth Century Middle East. He has also written a good deal about modern Egypt, including a book, Colonialism and Revolution in the Middle East: Social and Cultural Origins of Egypt’s `Urabi Movement. His concern with comparative history and Islamics is evident in his edited Comparing Muslim Societies. Read the full list of his publications!
Some of his available free publications are Iranian Millenarianism and Democratic Thought in the Nineteenth Century, I am all the Prophets: The Poetics of Pluralism in Baha’i Texts, The World as Text: Cosmologies of Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa’i, Marking Boundaries, Marking Time: The Iranian Past and the Construction of the Self by Qajar Thinkers, and Individualism and the Spiritual Path in Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa’i.
Juan earned his B.A. in History and Literature of Religions at Northwestern University in 1975, his M.A. in Arabic Studies/History at American University in Cairo in 1978, and his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at University of California, Los Angeles in 1984. He is Editor of H-Mideast-Politics Electronic Forum and H-Bahai Electronic Forum and Journal.