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, an expert in Islamic intellectual culture, specializes in interpretation of Islam's foundational scripture, the Qur’an. Her research focuses on questions related to how Muslims interpret the Qur'an in the contexts of "real-world" decision-making, with an approach that lies at the interface between study of the Qur’an as rhetoric and study of the Qur’an in rhetoric. 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 Qur’anic themes on political ideology. 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 Head Editor of the peer-reviewed Journal of the International Qur'anic Studies Association (JIQSA).

Research Interest/Area of Expertise

  •  Islamic text traditions; Qur'anic Studies; Tafsir Studies; Muslim theology; Muslim rhetoric.

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

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

Courses taught

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

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

Religion and Society (NE 6500; 3 cr.)

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

Islam and the West (NE 7100; 3 cr.)