David Vishanoff is an Assistant Professor in the Religious Studies Program at the University of Oklahoma. He earned his Ph.D. in West and South Asian Religions, with a focus on Islamic thought. His research is principally concerned with how religious people interpret and conceptualize sacred texts—both their own, and those of other religious traditions. In 2011 he published his first book, The Formation of Islamic Hermeneutics: How Sunni Legal Theorists Imagined a Revealed Law, as well as several articles on Muslim rewritings of the Psalms of David.
 
Dr. Vishanoff will present “A Unorthodox Primer on Islamic History: Five Things that May Surprise You”
 
Dr. Emile Sahliyeh received his Ph.D. from Georgetown University. In 1987, he joined the department of political science at the University of North Texas as a professor of Middle East politics and international relations. He is currently the university’s Director of the International Studies major. His research focuses on religious resurgence and ethnic protest in the Middle East, Palestinian politics and the status of democracy and human rights in the Islamic World. Dr. Sahliyeh lectures widely around the world and is frequently consulted about Middle Eastern politics by the media and the US government.
 
Dr. Sahliyeh will present “A Snapshot of the Modern Muslim World: Patterns and Trends of Democracy”

Dr. Jill Irvine received her Ph. D. from Harvard University. She currently serves as the President's Associates Presidential Professor and Director of Women's and Gender Studies Program at the University of Oklahoma. She is the author of numerous books and government reports on the politics of Eastern Europe. Her research interests focus on gender, democratization and ethno-religious conflicts worldwide. She currently teaches Comparative Politics, East European Politics, Women and World Politics, and Religion and Violence at the University of Oklahoma.

Dr. Irvine will present “The Intersection of Gender and Democratization in Muslim Countries”

Dr. Mahmoud Sadri received his Ph. D. from the New School University. He is a professor of sociology at Texas Woman’s University. His research focuses on political and religious trends in Iran and the sociology of migrating peoples. He currently teaches a range of undergraduate courses including Social Theory, The People and Cultures of the Middle East and Current Social Problems as well as graduate courses on Classical Social Theory, The sociology of Terrorism and Islam and Modernization among others.

Dr. Sadri will present “Islam and Modernization”