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Noah Salomon

Irfan and Noreen Galaria Research Chair and Associate Professor in Islamic Studies

Research Interests

Noah Salomon (PhD University of Chicago) is the Irfan and Noreen Galaria Research Chair and Associate Professor in Islamic Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. He also holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Anthropology. Salomon’s research broadly concerns the intertwining of religious criticism, political aesthetics, and Islamic practice, with a focus on contemporary Africa and the Middle East.  His first book, For Love of the Prophet: An Ethnography of Sudan’s Islamic State (Princeton University Press 2016, précis) is a study of the development of, and eventual crises in, new forms of political community that arose in Sudan during its “national salvation” period in the first two decades of the 21st century. It won the 2017 Albert Hourani Prize from the Middle East Studies Association and an Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion (analytic/descriptive studies) from the American Academy of Religion.  Subsequent research has focused on the establishment of state secularism in the new nation of South Sudan, as a mode of unraveling the Islamic State, and the concomitant construction of a Muslim minority as part of a nascent project of nation-building. More recently, Salomon has been writing on the phenomenological and practical interlacing of religion and revolution, with a particular focus on the popular uprisings of 2019-2020

From 2018 to 2023, Salomon is an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellow working between Beirut, Muscat, and Khartoum on a book project that explores Islamic modes of performing, managing, and negotiating Muslim difference, particularly at inflection points of social and political change. Prior to coming to the University of Virginia, Salomon spent ten years at Carleton College, where he was Associate Professor of Religion and Director of Middle East Studies (2016-2019). He was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ) in the School of Social Science for the 2013-14 academic year.

Selected Publications

    • “When Home Becomes Abroad and Abroad Becomes Home: Thinking American Empire through a New Sudan,” The Politics of Religion at Home and Abroad, edited by Winnifred Fallers Sullivan and Elizabeth Shakman Hurd. Columbia University Press. 2021.

    • “Moments in Revolutionary Time,” Journal of Middle East Law and Governance, 12, December 2020.
    • “The Repentant Magician: ‘Esoteric Intimacy’ and the Enchantment of Religious Difference,” in “All Religion is Inter-Religion”: Engaging the Work of Steven M. Wasserstrom. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019.
    • For Love of the Prophet: An Ethnography of Sudan’s Islamic State. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 2016.
      • Featured subject of a book forum on the Social Science Research Council’s The Immanent Frame.
      • Featured on the New Books in Islamic Studies podcast, the Religious Studies News podcast of the American Academy of Religion, and the Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS) podcast of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.
    • “Freeing Religion at the Birth of South Sudan,” in Politics of Religious Freedom, edited by Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Saba Mahmood, and Peter G. Danchin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2015.
    • “Religion after the State: Secular Soteriologies at the Birth of South Sudan,” Journal of Law and Religion 29:3, Fall 2014.
    • “Evidence, Secrets, Truth: Debating Islamic Knowledge in Contemporary Sudan,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 81:3, September 2013.
    • “Religious Criticism, Secular Critique, and the ‘Critical Study of Religion’: Lessons from the Study of Islam” in The Cambridge Companion to Religious Studies, edited by Robert A. Orsi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2012. (co-authored with Jeremy Walton).
    • “The Ruse of Law: Legal Equality and the Problem of Citizenship in a Multi-Religious Sudan,” in After Secular Law, edited by Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, Robert A. Yelle, and Mateo Taussig-Rubbo. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 2011.
    • “The Salafi Critique of Islamism: Doctrine, Difference and the Problem of Islamic Political Action in Contemporary Sudan,” in Global Salafism: Islam’s New Religious Movement, edited by Roel Meijer. New York: Columbia University Press. 2009.

    Selected Online Essays

    Recent and Upcoming Courses

    • Anthropology of Islam
    • The Perfumed Life: Islamic Sources of the Self
    • Muslim Misfits: Islam and the Question of Orthodoxy
    • The Public Life of Religion (An Introduction)