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Biography

Kazuyo Murata holds a PhD in Islamic Studies with a joint MPhil in Medieval Studies from Yale University, and a BA (summa cum laude) in both Philosophy and Religious Studies from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She has broad academic training in the study of religion, philosophy, medieval intellectual history, and Arabic and Persian literature.

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Pre-modern Islamic Intellectual History
  • Sufism
  • Quran commentaries
  • Thematic study of Islamic thought
  • Prophets in Islam
  • Philosophy (falsafa)
  • Persian literature

Dr Murata has broad interests in the history of ideas, with a specialization in pre-modern Islam. Her research to date has involved systematic analyses of Sufi texts, and her ongoing work can be characterized as conceptual/thematic, historical, or text-critical in approach. Her current research projects centre around the themes of happiness, beauty, and human perfection.

Her monograph, Beauty in Sufism: The Teachings of Ruzbihan Baqli (Albany: SUNY Press, 2017), is the first book-length study of the place of beauty in a common Sufi understanding of God, the world, and the human being, encompassing multiple fields of inquiry such as theology, metaphysics, cosmology, psychology, anthropology, and prophetology. This work takes as the case study the works of a major Sufi master from Shiraz, Persia, Ruzbihan Baqli (d. 1209), in whose vast and complex worldview the notion of “beauty” (husn, jamal, etc.) plays a significant role.

Dr Murata welcomes proposals from prospective students interested in investigating aspects of pre-modern Islamic intellectual history, especially in the areas of Sufism, falsafa, and kalam.

Other textual studies in Arabic and Persian, as well as thematic approaches to religion and culture in the Islamicate world are also welcome.

For more details, please see her full research profile.

Teaching

Dr Murata will teach on the following modules

Undergraduate modules

  • 4AAT1001 Introduction to Islam
  • 5AAT2951 Themes in Sufism and Islamic Philosophy

MA modules

  • 7AATC952 Introduction to the Intellectual History of the Muslim World (co-taught with Dr Carool Kersten)
  • 7AATC953 Classics of Sufi Literature  

Selected publications

  • Beauty in Sufism: The Teachings of Ruzbihan Baqli (Albany: SUNY Press, 2017).
  • (co-edited) In Search of the Lost Heart: Explorations in Islamic Thought (Albany: SUNY Press, 2012).