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Han Hsien Liew

Assistant Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302

Han Hsien Liew is an intellectual historian of the premodern Islamic world and is currently Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. His research interests include medieval Islamic political thought; premodern Islamic scholarly culture and transmission of knowledge; Qur’anic exegesis (tafsir); and Arabic-Islamic historical and biographical writings.

His current book project examines the relationship between preaching and political thought in medieval Islam. It focuses on the political discourses of Ibn al-Jawzi, a twelfth-century Muslim religious scholar and preacher in late Abbasid Baghdad. Through an intertextual analysis of Ibn al-Jawzi’s political writings, preaching manuals, collections of sermons, and historical and biographical writings, this book sparks new approaches in the study of Islamic political thought and probes the interconnections between politics, rhetoric, and emotions.

Liew’s research articles have been published in Arabica, the Journal of the American Oriental Society, and New Trends in Qur’anic Studies: Text, Context and Interpretation (edited by Mun’im Sirry). He is also the recipient of the Middle East Studies Association Graduate Student Paper Prize (2017), the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED) Junior Fellowship at Koç University (2016–2017), and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Fellowship for Islamic Studies at Harvard University (2012–2013).

Before joining ASU, Liew was Assistant Professor of Arts and Humanities at the Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute (2019–2020) and Postdoctoral Graduate Writing Fellow at Harvard University (2018–2019). He received his B.A. from Wesleyan University and his A.M. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is originally from Penang, Malaysia.


Ph.D. History and Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University 2018

A.M. History, Harvard University 2015

B.A. College of Social Studies, History, Wesleyan University 2012

Research Interests: 

Islamic Political Thought

Islamic Intellectual History

Medieval Islamic History

Transmission of Knowledge in the Islamic World

Historical and Biographical Writings in Islam

Islam in Southeast Asia



“Ibn al-Jawzī and the Cursing of Yazīd b. Muʿāwiya: A Debate on Rebellion and Legitimate Rulership,” Journal of the American Oriental Society, 139/3 (2019): 631–646.

“The Caliphate of Adam: Theological Politics of the Qurʾānic Term Ḫalīfa,” Arabica, 63/1 (2016): 1–29.


“The Hermeneutics of Legitimate Leadership: Qurṭubī’s Commentary on Q 2:30 (the Adam Verse),” in New Trends in Qur’anic Studies: Text, Context and Interpretation, ed. Mun’im Sirry (Atlanta: Lockwood Press, 2019), 233–247.


Mona Hassan, Longing for the Lost Caliphate: A Transregional History, in Journal of the American Oriental Society, 139/3 (2019): 746–749.

Fall 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 260Introduction to Islam
HST 260Introduction to Islam
Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 102Ancient Mediterranean/Europe
REL 363Islam and World Affairs
Honors / Awards: 

Middle East Studies Association Graduate Student Paper Prize, 2017

Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED) Junior Fellowship, Koç University, Istanbul, 2016–2017

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Fellowship for Islamic Studies, Harvard University, 2012–2013

Professional Associations: 

Middle East Medievalists

Middle East Studies Association

American Oriental Society

International Qur’anic Studies Association