Hossein Kamaly

Term Assistant Professor

Hossein Kamaly, Assistant Professor in the Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures Department, specializes in Middle Eastern history and Islamic Studies. After years of working as an electrical engineer, computer programmer, mathematical analyst, and simultaneous interpreter, he obtained a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University in 2004. His research interests focus on intellectual history, and the broad field of Perso-Islamic studies. He is committed to close reading of classical texts, and teaches courses in which important themes are traced across texts and societies.


Native command of Persian and Azeri Turkish; command of classical Arabic; reading knowledge of French and Ottoman Turkish; Judeo-Persian, limited reading knowledge of Biblical Hebrew and German

Work Experience

Previous Positions

2005-2007, Adjunct Assistant Professor Columbia University

2000-2001, Adjunct Instructor City University of New York, Hunter College, Brooklyn College

September 2004-August 2007. Middle East, Jewish & Islamic Studies Librarian, Columbia University

Teaching Experience

Fall 2009, Asian Humanities; Readings in Classical Persian Literature, Columbia University

Spring & Fall 2008, Asian Humanities: Major Middle Eastern and Indian Texts, Columbia University

Fall 2007-Spring 2008, Readings in Classical Persian Literature, I & II, Columbia University

Fall 2007, Qur’ānic Studies: Islamic Exegetical Tradition, Columbia University

Fall 2006-Spring 2007, Governance and Democracy in Islam. Alumni Seminar, Columbia University

Fall 2006, “Sunnis, Sufis and Shias in Islam,” Columbia University: Department of Religion

Fall 2005-Spring 2006, Nobility & Civility I & II, Honors Undergraduate Seminar, Columbia University

Fall 2005, “History of Islamic Societies,” Columbia University: Department of History

Fall 2001, “Introduction to Islam,” Hunter College: Program in Religion.

Fall 2001, “Sufism: Islamic Mysticism,” Hunter College of the City University of New York

Fall 2000, “Introduction to Islam,” Hunter College of the City University of New York

Spring 2000. “Middle East History (two sections),” Brooklyn College, City University of New York

Extensive teaching assistantship experience at Columbia University: “Contemporary Islamic Civilization (Spring 2004)”; “Introduction to Islamic Civilization (Fall 2003)”; “America and the Muslim World (Fall 2002)”; “History of Europe: 1500-1700 (Fall 2001, Barnard College)”; “Domestication of Animals in Human History (Spring 2001)”; “History of Iran Up to the Safavid Period (Fall 2000)”; “Main Currents in Middle Eastern History (Fall 1999).”

Other Work Experience

Simultaneous interpreter at the United Nations (2001, 2000, 1998); Cathedral of St. John the Divine (2001); World Summit of Religious Leaders (2000); Democracy Now (2006)

Assistant Editor, Encyclopedia Iranica (1997)

Graduate Affiliate at the Center for Middle East Studies, Harvard University (1997)

1994-1997 Mathematical Consultant to Necessity & Chance, Global Capital Group (NY)

Awards & Honors: 

Summer 2008 Middle East Institute Travel Fellowship

1999-2000 Presidential Fellow, Columbia University

1998-1999 Robert Hofstader Fellow, Department of History, Columbia University

Professional Affiliations: 

American Academy of Religion; Middle East Studies Association; International Society for Iranian Studies; Middle East Librarians’ Association; founding member of the Council for Persian Language and Literature (since 1998); Society of Biblical Literature


320A Milbank
(212) 854-5481



PhD, 2004. History, Columbia University, New York (student, 1998-2004)

M.Sc., 1996. Mathematics, Statistics & Operations Research, New York University

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