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Scott C. Alexander

Scott Alexander

Associate Professor of Islam
Director of Catholic-Muslim Studies Program

M.A. and Ph.D. in the history of religions (Islamic studies), Columbia University, NY

Scott Alexander’s interest in Islam dates back to the early1980s, when he was both witnessing the events of the Islamist revolution in Iran, and concentrating in comparative religion as an undergraduate at Harvard. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard, Scott went on to Columbia University in New York where he earned the M.A. and Ph.D. in the history of religions, with a concentration in Islamic studies. From 1986 to 1990, Scott taught courses on Islam and the history of religions at Columbia, Fordham, and Princeton University, and in 1991 he took a position on the religious studies faculty of Indiana University in Bloomington where he taught as an assistant professor of Islamic studies from 1993 to 2000.

He is currently Associate Professor of Islam at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, where he is also Director of the school’s Catholic-Muslim Studies Program.

Scott is a regular consultant on Catholic-Muslim relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and for Centro Internazionale di Studi e Ricerche Oasis at the Marcianum in Venice, Italy. He sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Islamic Law and Culture, is co-editor of A Dictionary of Christian—Muslim Relations (Cambridge University Press, anticipated 2012), and is the author of a number of articles on Islamic history and religion and Christian-Muslim Relations published in scholarly journals, edited collections, and encyclopedias such as the Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East (Macmillan, 1996) and the Encyclopedia of the Qur’an (E.J. Brill, 2001-2005). His most recent book project is entitled The Race to Goodness: an End to Triumphalism in Christian-Muslim Relations and deals with the inherent contradiction between religious claims to universal truth and the religiously motivated desire to impose this truth on others as a means of political and cultural domination.

In March of 2007, Scott was one of five U.S. scholars to be awarded an Association of Theological Schools Lilly Faculty Fellowship in support of his research and writing. Beyond his extensive work with the Muslim community in Chicago and the U.S., Scott also has first-hand experience with Muslim communities in the traditional Muslim world and is currently working to expand the outreach of CTU’s Catholic-Muslim Studies Program to similar programs in Nigeria, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

Scott lives in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago where he and his wife, Karen, are members of the parish family of the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle.