Category Archives: Blog

Venerating Rumi in Cairo

I am so grateful that I was invited to present my new book and research about the veneration of Rumi in Cairo through the centuries at the Exalted Spirits: The Veneration of the Dead in Egypt through the Ages conference in Cairo — many thanks to The American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE), The American University in Cairo (AUC) and the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA) for making it possible.

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Rumi at Tehran University

Speaking at Tehran University

I was so honored to be invited to speak about my new Rumi book at Tehran University — very grateful to all who made it possible.

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Yale Talk

I was honored to be invited to speak at Yale University about my unique adventures around the world — very helpful as I spend my days writing my memoir about my wild pandemic experiences in China and Tibet.

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Tai Chi in China

Baby Abu with the real Kung Fu Panda

Yesterday my baby chihuahua had the amazing opportunity to meet my kung fu grandmaster in China (the real Kung Fu Panda — the animation was based in part on his filmed moves) at a special taping we did on tai chi and Taoism in Sichuan.

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Posthuman Mimesis

A joy to speak on “Postliving Ontologies of the Transdeceased/Postdeceased: Existential, Legal & Spiritual Expressions of Undesired & Wrongful Life” at the Posthuman Mimesis: Embodiment, Affect, Contagion International Conference in Leuven.

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Talking Slavery at Columbia

It was an honor to speak on “Modern Slavery in Oman” at Columbia University with Persian Gulf experts and share the horrors of enslaved, raped, tortured, & murdered women to raise awareness of human trafficking & the lack of legal protections for women from Africa and Southeast Asia on the Arabian Peninsula.

Talking abolition at Columbia
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Minorities in Russia

Conference at Columbia

It was joy to speak on Putin, Islamic law, & Russian diplomacy for the ASN International Convention hosted by the Harriman Institute at Columbia — our panel ( discussed minorities & institutions in post-Soviet Russia. I was especially grateful for the feedback from my Russian colleagues.

Talking Russian diplomacy at Columbia
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Sufism in Global Cinema

New publication

Very happy to share my new chapter, “Mystics in the Movies: Sufism in Global Cinema,” in this fantastic new volume: New Approaches to Islam
in Film.  Get your copy today!

Here is a link to the hard copy book:[]

Here is the link to digital version of the book:[]

What a busy month!  I’m so glad a number of you caught my recent Harvard talk. I have two talks at Columbia this week followed by an EU-funded talk at Leuven University and then three of my new poems are being published at the end of the month. 

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Terracotta Army

Terracotta Army

It was a dream come true to finally see the Terracotta Army in China — so spectacular in every way.

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

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Great Mosque of Xi’an

Great Mosque of Xi’an

I was fortunate to return to the Great Mosque of Xi’an here in China — such an architectural gem.

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Traveling in China

On the road in China

I’ve been doing a fair amount of travel in the People’s Republic of China despite the pandemic — perhaps if I ever have some time I will share some photos from the road.

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Harvard Talk

Invited Talk at Harvard

I had the joy and honor of sharing my research on artistic renderings of slavery in Zanzibar and Oman at Harvard University a few days ago. It’s a very busy spring with several more talks coming up in the weeks ahead!

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