Vanessa De Gifis

Vanessa De Gifis

Associate Professor of Islamic Studies
Director of Master's program in Near Eastern languages; director of minor program in Religious Studies

 407 Manoogian Hall

Vanessa De Gifis

Professor De Gifis is an expert in Islamic intellectual culture and textual traditions, specializing in interpretations of Islam's foundational scripture, the Qur’an. Her research focuses on questions related to how Muslims apply Qur'anic interpretation to "real-world" decision-making. Her book, Shaping a Qurʾānic Worldview, is the first sustained examination of references to the Qur’an in the politics of the Caliphate in light of classical Arabic rhetorical theories, stimulating broader considerations of the practical impact of scriptural themes in public life. With a sustained interest in the practical dimensions of religious thought, her recent work also explores the intersections of religion and health care.

Professor De Gifis serves on the Publications and Research Committee of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) and is co-founder and editor of the peer-reviewed Journal of the International Qur'anic Studies Association (JIQSA).

Research Interest/Area of Expertise

  •  Islamic text traditions; Qur'an and Tafsir; Arabic-Islamic rhetoric; parable and metaphor.

Education – Degrees, Licenses, Certifications

  • Ph.D. with honors, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago, 2008
  • M.A., University of Chicago, 2001
  • B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1999

Awards and Grants

  •  Provost's Fellowship for Student Success, WSU, 2016 

     Excellence in Teaching Award, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, WSU, 2015

Currently Teaching

  •  Introduction to Islamic Civilization (NE 2000; 3 cr.)

    Religion and Society (NE 6500; 3 cr.)

Courses taught

Age of Islamic Empires (HIS 1800/NE 2030; 3 cr.)

Muhammad: Life of the Prophet (NE 3320; 3 cr.)

Islam and the West (NE 7100; 3 cr.) 

Qur'an: History and Interpretation (NE 5300/7300; 3 cr.)