I am the Associate Professor of the History of the Islamic World in the Department of History and Geography at Columbus State University. Additionally, I serve as the Associate Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies and Honors, as well as the Digital Humanities Program Co-Coordinator.
In research, I am an early Islamic historian who focuses on Arabic historiography and the foundational period of Islamic history – particularly the early Islamic conquests and the depictions of the early Islamic state in history and literature. Much of my work has focused on the writing of the Muslim historian al-Baladhuri (d. ca. 279 AH/892 CE), where I have looked at unique information held in his book, identified the spread of historical information between him and both earlier/later authors, and have used the tools of the digital and computational humanities to identify text reuse in/of his surviving texts. This includes my recent monograph, Arab Conquests and Early Islamic Historiography
, which was awarded the 2021 SERMEISS Book Prize for book of the year.
Much of my research is focused on two separate, but linked, topics: I am very interested in the process of settlement throughout the Middle East which occurred during the period of the Arab-Islamic conquests and the reign of the Umayyad dynasty, but I am also very interested in how later sources and people reflected on and (mis)remembered this process.
As a professor, I teach introductory courses on early world history, historical research and writing, and the digital humanities, while teaching advanced seminars and graduate courses on the Arab-Islamic conquests, the early Islamic period, late antiquity and the fall of Rome, the Crusades, jihadism, and the idea of an Islamic state from the pre-modern period to the present day.
Additionally, while continuing to research the pre-modern Middle East as a major focus of my ongoing research, I have recently begun a major project related to the history of video games and popular engagement with the past through that medium.