Vanessa De Gifis

Vanessa De Gifis

Associate Professor of Islamic Studies
Director of Near Eastern Languages Graduate Program

 407 Manoogian Hall

Vanessa De Gifis

 Professor De Gifis, an expert in early medieval Islamic thought, specializes in rhetorical study of the Muslim scripture, the Qur’an, which is in many ways foundational to all that may be considered “Islamic.” Her approach lies at the interface between the study of the Qur’an as rhetoric and the 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 and grammatical theories. She highlights the typological features of the Qur’anic text and the analogical function of Qur'anic referencing; in the process, she stimulates broader conversations about the practical impact of Qur’anic themes on the articulation of distinctly Islamic social values and historical vision.
Currently Professor De Gifis' research digs deeper into the cognitive dimensions of Qur'anic rhetoric through a comparative analysis of Qur'an-based argumentation among competitive Sunni and Shi`i caliphates in the tenth century.
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; classical Islamic thought; medieval Islamic politics; Arabic 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

Currently Teaching

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

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

Courses taught

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

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

Religion and Society (NE 6500; 3 cr.) (W)

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