Dr. Sophia Vasalou

Sophia Vasalou studied Arabic and Islamic Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and obtained her doctorate from the University of Cambridge in 2006 with a thesis on Mu’tazilite ethics. Since then, she has occupied a number of teaching and research posts in different universities and academic institutions, including the University of Cambridge, the European College of Liberal Arts in Berlin, Orient Institut Beirut, and New York University Abu Dhabi. She is currently a Senior Lecturer and Birmingham Fellow in Philosophical Theology at Birmingham University. Her research focuses on Islamic ethical thought, particularly ethical theories with a strong rationalistic dimension. She is also the author of a number of philosophical studies. Her published works include Moral Agents and Their Deserts: The Character of Mu’tazilite Ethics (2008, winner of the Albert Hourani Book Award for Middle Eastern Studies in 2009), Schopenhauer and the Aesthetic Standpoint: Philosophy as a Practice of the Sublime (2013), Wonder: A Grammar (2015), and Ibn Taymiyya’s Theological Ethics (2016). She is also a translator of classical and modern Arabic literature. Her translation (with James E. Montgomery) of the philosophical anthology The Philosopher Responds (Arabic al-Hawamil wa’l-shawamil), by the 10th-century intellectuals Abu Hayyan al- Tawhidi and Abu ‘Ali Miskawayh, and the IPAF-shortlisted novel The Old Woman and the River (Arabic al-Sabiliyyat), by the Kuwaiti author Ismail Fahd Ismail, are due to appear later this year.