Technically speaking, I am Professor of Islamic History at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. My area of expertise is the historical interplay between the Islamic world and the West, particularly during the Middle Ages. This means I teach a wide range of courses at Penn, which you can read about here. Moreover, it also means I lecture and write for the general public about subjects like the Crusades, as with The Race for Paradise or The Book of Contemplation, or like the history of travel and exploration, and much else besides. But, to be honest, my research is usually driven by a need to remedy my vast ignorance, which means I take delight in reading widely and making connections wherever and whenever possible.

My more technical academic stuff can be found at, on the other hand, provides information on my activities and published work that might be of of interest to the general public. It also includes a blog, where very occasionally I will chime in on matters where an exploration of the past can shed light on current events, or where I will just rant about something cool I came across while doing research. I am constantly surprised by how often that happens.