Professor Ali Asani tells the Alwaleed Program team about his scholarly trajectory, beginning with his experiences coming to Harvard College as an international student from Kenya and entering Islamic studies as an Ismaili student in the early 1970s. He also discusses the importance of expanding perspectives in Islamic studies to include different interpretations of Islam, his interest in studying Islam as a living tradition in the lives of ordinary believers, especially through the arts, and his commitment to education beyond the walls of the university. Given Professor Asani's interest in the experience of Islam through the sound arts, this episode contains selections from Qur'anic recitation, qawwali, and the ginans, the devotional hymns of South Asia’s Nizari Ismaili communities.
Ali Asani is Murray A. Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures. He is also former director of the Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University.