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Afsaruddin named Wells Endowed Professor

Asma Afsaruddin. Asma Afsaruddin.Indiana University Bloomington professor Asma Afsaruddin has been selected as a Class of 1950 Herman B Wells Endowed Professor in honor of the late Herman B Wells, longtime IU president and chancellor.

The selection recognizes outstanding scholars and teachers who exemplify Wells’ values, including devotion to diversity, inclusion, student learning and academic excellence.

“Professor Afsaruddin embodies the spirit and the values of Herman B Wells,” said Eliza Pavalko, IU Bloomington vice provost for faculty and academic affairs. “She is committed to excellence as a teacher and mentor and is an extraordinary scholar. Her scholarship makes the case that anti-racism is deeply rooted in religions around the world, and her scholarship and teaching represent IU’s best traditions of inclusivity and attention to student success.”

Afsaruddin is a professor of Islamic studies in the Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. She is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Religious Studies; and an affiliated professor with the Department of Gender Studies and the Medieval Studies Institute, both in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Center for the Study of the Middle East in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies.

Afsaruddin received her A.B. from Oberlin College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. She came to IU in 2008 as a professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. Her research and teaching interests are pre-modern and modern Islamic religious and political thought; Quran and hadith; Islamic intellectual history; war and peace in Islam; interfaith relations; contemporary Islamic movements; and gender in Islam.

She is praised by her undergraduate students for the care, knowledge and accessibility that they receive in their courses. In graduate teaching, she has trained a generation of scholars of Islamic literature and tradition. Afsaruddin has received national awards from Harvard and the Mellon Foundation for her teaching, pedagogy and course development.

In addition to her academic achievements, Afsaruddin has gained a national reputation as an interpreter of Islam and the Islamic world for lay audiences. She is active in the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and as a consultant for the Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life. Each time she publishes a book for a specialist audience, she follows it up with a companion volume written for the general public. Her frequent media appearances in The Washington Post, The Conversation, The Christian Science Monitor and other publications are informed appeals for understanding across lines of religion and race.

Wells Endowed Professors

Herman B Wells was Indiana University’s 11th president, from 1937 until 1962, and was university chancellor from 1962 until his death in 2000. Graduating classes of 1948 and 1950 at IU Bloomington conducted fundraising campaigns to endow professorships in his memory.

Wells Endowed Professors receive a grant of $10,000 per year for five years, intended to enrich the educational experience of the undergraduate IU Bloomington classroom. They retain the title for the remainder of their careers at the university.