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Aria Nakissa

Aria Nakissa is an Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. He holds a joint-Ph.D. in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and an M.A. in Islamic Law from the International Islamic University Malaysia. Nakissa has conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork in the Middle East and Southeast Asia using the Arabic and Indonesian languages. He has also written extensively on cognitive science in relation to religion and morality. He is author of The Anthropology of Islamic Law: Education, Ethics, and Legal Interpretation at Egypt’s Al-Azhar (Oxford University Press, 2019). His articles have been accepted for publication in many journals including Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute; Journal of Global History, Journal of Cognition and Culture; Journal of the American Academy of Religion; Method & Theory in the Study of Religion; Human Rights Review; Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde / Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia; Islamic Law and Society; Muslim World; and Arabica.


Using Cognitive Science to Reconceptualize Islamic Ethics and “Islamist” Socio-political Movements

This article explains how insights from recent research in cognitive science can be used to rethink the related phenomena of traditional Islamic ethics and modern Islamist socio-political movements.