John O. Voll

Professor Emeritus of Islamic History

John O. Voll is Professor Emeritus of Islamic History and past Associate Director of the Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He graduated from Dartmouth College and received his M.A. degree in Middle Eastern Studies and his Ph.D. degree in History and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard. He taught Middle Eastern and world history for thirty years at the University of New Hampshire before moving to Georgetown University. He is a specialist in modern Islamic history and the author of Islam: Continuity and Change in the Modern World, co-editor of Asian Islam in the 21st Century, co-author of Islam and Democracy After The Arab Spring ( Oxford University Press, 2015), and author, co-author, or editor of ten other books as well as numerous articles. He is a past president of the Middle East Studies Association and of the New England Historical Association, has served on the Boards of Directors of the American Council of Learned Societies, the Sudan Studies Association, the World History Association, the New Hampshire Humanities Council, and the New Hampshire Council on World Affairs, and was program chair for the 1999 annual meeting of the American Historical Association. He has lived in Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Israel and done research on Islamic movements in sub-Saharan Africa and east and southeast Asia as well as in the Middle East.

Areas of Expertise. Modern Islamic history, Islamic modernism, Islamic social and political movements, history of Sufism, Muslim-Christian relations in world history, conceptualizations of world history.


A.B.  Dartmouth College. History, summa cum laud, Phi Beta Kappa

A.M. Harvard University. Middle Eastern Studies.

Ph.D. Harvard University. History & Middle Eastern Studies.



Islam: Continuity and Change in the Modern World. Boulder, CO:   Westview, 1982. (2nd ed.,

            Syracuse University Press, 1994)

and John L. Esposito and Tamara Sonn, Islam and Democracy after the Arab Spring. New York:

            Oxford University Press, 2015.

and John L. Esposito, Makers of Contemporary Islam. Oxford University Press, 2001.

and John L. Esposito, Islam and Democracy. Oxford University Press, 1996.

Historical Dictionary of the Sudan. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1978. Second edition, with Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban and Richard Lobban, 1992.

and Sarah Potts Voll, The Sudan: Unity and Diversity in a Multicultural Society. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1985.

            Edited volumes:

and John L. Esposito and Osman Bakar, editors. Asian Islam in the 21st Century. New York:

            Oxford University Press, 2007.

and Yvonne Y. Haddad and John L. Esposito, The Contemporary Islamic Revival: A Critical

            Survey and Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing, 1991.

Guest editor, special issue on “Pluralism and Religions in Iranian History,” Islam and Christian-

            Muslim Relations 14, No. 4 (October 2003).

editor, Sudan: State and Society in Crisis. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991.

Guest editor, special issue on Sudan: The Middle East Journal 44, No. 4 (Autumn 1990).

and Nehemia Levtzion, editors, Eighteenth Century Renewal and Reform in Islam. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1987.

            Selected articles and chapters:

“The Middle East in World History Since 1750,” The Cambridge World History, volume 7: Part 1:

 Structures, Spaces, and Boundary Making, ed. J. R. McNeill and Kenneth Pomeranz. Cambridge

University Press, 2015, pp. 467-492.

“Boko Haram: Religion and Violence in the 21st Century,” Religions 6 (2015): 1182-1202;


“The Middle East in World History,” in The Oxford Handbook of World History. Ed. Jerry H.

            Bentley. Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 437-454.

“Islam as a Community of Discourse and a World-System,” in The Sage Handbook of Islamic

            Studies, ed. Akbar Ahmed and Tamara Sonn. London: Sage, 2010: 3-16.

“Pensée 3: Reconceptualizing the ‘Regions’ in ‘Area Studies’,” International Journal of Middle

            East Studies 42, No. 2 (May 2009): 196-197.

"'Southernization' as a Construct in Post-Civilization Narrative," in The New World History, ed. Ross Dunn (Boston: Bedford, 2000).