Aria Nakissa is a scholar of law and religion in Muslim societies. He holds the position of Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and Anthropology.
Nakissa's research employs anthropological and historical methods. It spans the premodern and modern periods, while giving special attention to the Middle East and Southeast Asia. He has conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Egypt, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Professor Nakissa's writings also draw on textual materials written in the Arabic, Indonesian/Malaysian, English, French, and Dutch languages.
With regards to the premodern period, he has written on Islamic law, Islamic legal theory, Sufism, Islamic theology, and traditional Islamic education. With regards to the modern period, Professor Nakissa has written on colonialism in the Muslim world, Islamic reform movements, human rights law, and counterterrorism.
In addressing the preceding topics, he has sought to consider how various theoretical frameworks might provide new insights for the study of Islam and Muslim societies. Professor Nakissa has been particularly interested in insights from hermeneutics and practice theory. He has also been interested in insights from cognitive science, especially as they pertain to the biological/psychological roots of human religiosity and human morality (including norms/laws).
Professor Nakissa's research and teaching interests include Islamic law and philosophy, contemporary Muslim societies, and classical Islamic texts (Fiqh, Tafsir, Hadith, Tasawwuf).