Dustin J. Byrd, Ph.D.

Founder and Co-Director

Dustin J. Byrd is a Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Olivet College, in Michigan. He holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University, where he specialized in Political and Social Philosophy. His expertise is in the Frankfurt School, Critical Theory of Religion, Psychoanalytical Political Theory, and Contemporary Islamic Thought. Along with his longtime collaborator, Seyed Javad Miri, he has co-edited books on Malcolm X, Ali Shariati, Frantz Fanon, and Syed Hussein Alatas, all published with Brill and Haymarket Books. He has also authored numerous monographs on Critical Theory, Islamophobia, Post-Secularity, and Political Theology. Dr. Byrd is also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Ekpyrosis Press, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of the Institute for Critical Social Theory’s journal Islamic Perspective.

Seyed Javad Miri, Ph.D.


Seyed Javad Miri is a Swedish-Iranian sociologist and Professor at the Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies in Tehran, Iran. He is a specialist in Islamic social theory, inter-civilizational discourse, and contemporary Islamic thought. He has published numerous books and articles and is the founder of the journal Islamic Perspective.

Rudolf J. Siebert, STD (Sacrae Theologiae Doctor)

Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert is an Emeritus Professor of Religion and Society at Western Michigan University, where he taught in the Comparative Religion and Sociology departments for fifty-four years. He is the founder of the Critical Theory of Religion and Society, rooted in the Frankfurt School’s Critical Theory. He has written dozens of books, over a hundred articles, and is the director of two international conferences: The annual “Future of Religion” conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia and the annual “Religion and Civil Society” conference in Yalta, Ukraine/Russia.

Michael R. Ott, Ph.D.

Michael R. Ott is an Emeritus Associate Professor of Sociology from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan (2015). He earned a Masters of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary (1975), where his research focused on the development of the critical, political theology of hope and revolution as developed by Ernst Bloch, Jürgen Moltmann, Johann Baptist Metz, Dorothy Sölle, Paul Tillich, Rudolf J. Siebert, as well as that of third world Liberation Theology. He earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from Western Michigan University (1998), where he specialized in the contemporary advancement of the Critical Theory of Society and Religion of the first generation of the “Frankfurt School.” Since retirement, in both theory and praxis, he has continued his research, writing, and social activism in critiquing the contemporary crises of global capitalism and its global class-war hegemony. His publications include numerous articles and book chapters on the critical theory of religion and society, as well as five published books. Michael is married to Mary Louise (Pierotti) Ott for over forty years, with whom they have two adult sons (Michael Rudolf and John Robert), and five grandchildren.

Syed Farid Alatas, Ph.D.

Syed Farid Alatas is a Professor of Sociology at the National University of Singapore. He also headed the Department of Malay Studies at NUS from 2007 until 2013. He lectured at the University of Malaya in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies prior to joining NUS. In the early 1990s, he was a Research Associate at the Women and Human Resource Studies Unit, Universiti Sains Malaysia. Professor Alatas has authored numerous books and articles, including books on Ibn Khaldun and Social Theory. His areas of interest are the sociology of Islam, social theory, religion and reform, intra- and inter-religious dialogue, and the study of Orientalism.

Mlado Ivanovic, Ph.D.

Dr. Mlado Ivanovic is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Philosophy at Northern Michigan University. Dr. Ivanovic’s research interests are situated within the intellectual tradition of the Frankfurt School and Poststructuralism, primarily the works of Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, and Michel Foucault. His academic focus is currently on moral, political, and environmental challenges tied with the forceful displacement and migration of people, particularly by examining both the socio-historical and political contexts of human vulnerability and exclusion. Mlado was awarded his Ph.D. from the Department of Philosophy at Michigan State University. He has published on humanitarianism, refugees, social and global justice, and human rights and the media. He is currently working on a manuscript that deals with the epistemic, moral, and political underpinnings of forceful displacement and humanitarian management of displaced peoples and their inclusion in Western societies. In addition to his academic commitments, Dr. Ivanovic is also engaged with humanitarian Non-Profit and Non-Government communities in Serbia, Greece, and Turkey, and serves as an advisor for various student organizations in Michigan that deal with humanitarianism and social justice. He is one of the directors of Michigan based NGO, “Refugee Outreach Collective.” Mlado Ivanovic.

Kerstin Knopf, Ph.D.

Dr. Knopf holds an MA (1997) in American/Canadian, Hispanic, and Scandinavian Studies, a Ph.D. (2003) and a post-doctoral degree (Habilitation 2012) from the University of Greifswald in Germany. She studied and researched also in Los Angeles (USA), Gothenburg (Sweden), Regina, Ottawa, and Toronto (Canada). She is a full professor for North American and Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Bremen in Germany and director of the institute for postcolonial and transcultural studies (INPUTS) and the Bremen Institute for Canada and Quebec Studies (BICQS). She is currently president of the International Council for Canadian Studies (ICC 2021-2023). Dr. Knopf’s main interests are indigenous film and literature worldwide, Postcolonial Studies, focusing in on North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea, epistemological power relations and postcolonial knowledge systems, American and Canadian romantic literature, and American prison literature. Her latest publications include From Marx to Global Marxism: Eurocentrism, Resistance, Postcolonial Criticism, with Detlev Quintern (WVT, 2020), and the special editions “Indigenous Knowledges and Academic Discourses” in Zeitschrift für Kanada-Studien (2018), “Postcolonial Knowledges” in the journal Postcolonial Interventions: A Interdisciplinary Journal of Postcolonial Studies (2021), and with Birgit Däwes, “Indigenous Knowledges in North America” in Zeitschrift für Anglistik/Amerikanistik (2020). Kerstin Knopf.

Esmaeil Zeiny, Ph.D.

Esmaeil Zeiny is an educator, researcher, editor, and translator with extensive experience in academia and think-tank sectors in Malaysia, Australia, and Iran. He was previously a Research Fellow at the Department of English Language and Literature at Kharazmi University, and the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS) at the National University of Malaysia (UKM). He received his Ph.D. in Post-Colonial Literature in English from UKM. His areas of specialization include English literature, Sociology of Literature, Cultural Studies, Visual Culture, Diaspora Studies, and Political Theory.

Sergey Kozin, Ph.D.

Sergey Kozin is an independent scholar and publishing professional from St. Petersburg, Russia. His interests are primarily in Religious Studies and Marxism. He has advanced degrees in Theology and Biblical Studies from the USA, and an earlier engineering degree from Russia. He is currently completing a program in Jewish Studies at Paideia European Institute for Jewish Studies in Stockholm, Sweden. He is heavily involved in both religious life and contemporary Leftist movements, which he combines with critical social theory and other theoretical and practical works from the West and East.

Joseph Alagha, Ph.D.

Prof. Dr. Joseph Alagha teaches Political Science, Sociology, and Intercultural Studies at Haigazian University, Beirut, Lebanon. Employing the interdisciplinary social sciences and humanities approach (SSH), Alagha published four peer-reviews university press books, two monographs, three books in Arabic, and more than one hundred refereed publications in four languages: English, Dutch, French, and Arabic. His research focuses on Critical Social Theory; minorities in the Middle East; family law, gender, violence against women, and human rights; Islam and popular culture; humor and the performing arts; philosophy of art and aesthetics; political mobilization; contemporary Islamic movements; as well as democratization and liberalization in the MENA region. Joseph Alagha.

Sajjad Rizvi, Ph.D.

Sajjad Rizvi is Professor of Islamic Intellectual History and Director of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. His focus is on the philosophical traditions of the Islamic East since the early modern period and is currently working on a project on contemporary philosophies in the Muslim World.

Sajjad Rizvi.

Lütfi Sunar, Ph.D.

Lütfi Sunar is a professor in the Department of Sociology at Instanbul Medeniyet University, Turkey. His major research interests are classical sociological theory, orientalist, social change, and stratification. He has published various articles in international journals. Among his recent books are Marx and Weber on Oriental Societies (2014), Eurocentrism at the Margins: Encounters, Critics, and Going Beyond (edited, 2016), Debates on Civilization in the Muslim World: Critical Perspectives on Islam and Modernity (edited, 2016), Social Change (2018), Social Stratification (2018), and The Routledge International Handbook of Contemporary Muslim Socio-Political Thought (edited, 2021).

Raffaele Mauriello, Ph.D.

Raffaele Mauriello (Ph.D., Sapienza University of Rome) is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Persian Literature and Foreign Languages, Allameh Tabataba’i University in Tehran, where he also teaches at the Faculty of Theology and Islamic Knowledge. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Master’s program in Geopolitics and Global Security at the Sapienza University of Rome. Previously, he was a Post-doctoral Research Fellow a the Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran. Dr. Mauriello is a historian and linguist, specializing in Global Studies, Shi’i Islam, the Near East, Iran, and Latin America. In 2013, he was awarded The World Prize for the Book of the Year of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the field of Islamic Studies for his monograph, Descendants of the Family of the Prophet in Contemporary History: A Case Study, the Shi’i Religious Establishment of al-Najaf (Iraq), and in 2020, the International Journalistic and Literary Award Marzani. Dr. Mauriello is the co-founder and former co-editor-in-chief of the book series Islamicate and Ibero-American World Connections (Brill) and Islam and Global Studies (Palgrave Macmillan). He is an External lAssociate Member of the Standing Research Group, “Study Group on Persian Peoples” at the University Autónoma of Madrid. Raffaele Mauriello.

Narayana Jayaram, Ph.D.

Dr. Narayana Jayaram was born in Bangalore (now Bengaluru), South India. He has had all his education in Bangalore: BA (1970) in Economics, Political Science, and Sociology from St. Joseph’s College; MA (1972) and Ph.D. (1976) in Sociology from the Department of Sociology, Bangalore University. He has taught at Bangalore University, Goa University, and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. He is presently a Visiting Professor at the National Law School of India University, Bangaluru. He specializes in Sociology of Education, and has research interest in trans-disciplinary areas such as Theory and Method, Political Sociology, Urban Studies, and Sociology of Diaspora. He has written, edited, and adapted over twenty books.

Morteza Hashemi, Ph.D.

Morteza Hashemi is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Notthingham (UK). Prior to that, he was a lecturer in sociology and politics at the University of Bristol and a Leverhulme postdoctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh. His research fields are social theory, Ibn Khaldun, post-secularism, science and technology studies, blood and organ donation, medical sociology, ethnicity, identity, and displacement.

Detlev Quintern, Ph.D.

Detlev Quintern is an Assistant Professor in the faculty of cultural and social studies at Turkish-German University in Istanbul, where he teaches cultural, museum, and heritage studies. He received a diploma in political sciences and a Ph.D. in history at the University of Bremen, Germany. He curated museum exhibitions in German and Turkey. His main research focuses are universal interlacing in the history of cultures, ideas, philosophies, and sciences and its museal visualizations.

Prof. Amjad Hussein

Prof. Amjad Hussein is a research scholar and academic. He teaches English literature at the National University of Modern Languages in Peshawar, Pakistan. His interests are in Postmodernism, Post-colonialism, Critical Theory, Islam, South Asia, Mohammad Iqbal, political philosophy, and philosophy of religion. He recently published the book, Islam and Postmodernism: Iqbal as a Turning Point, with Ekpyrosis Press (2022).

Charles McKelvey, Ph.D.

Charles McKelvey writes a twice-weekly commentary, “Knowledge, ideology, and real socialism in our times,” from the perspective of the socialism of the global South. His books include The Evolution and Significance of the Cuban Revolution: The Light in the Darkness (Palgrave, 2018); The African-American Movement: From Pan-Africanism to the Rainbow Coalition (General Hall, 1994); and Beyond Ethnocentrism: A Reconstruction of Marx’s Concept of Science (Greenwood Press, 1991). His commentaries have appeared regularly in online outlets, such as New Cold War, Friends of Socialist China, Global Research, and Counterpunch. A U.S. citizen, he spends considerable time in Cuba. He is Professor Emeritus, Presbyterian College, Clinton, South Carolina, USA. Charles McKelvey.

Mohamed Soffar, Ph.D.

Dr. Mohamed Soffar is a professor of political theory at the Department of Political Science at Cairo University. He is the author of Deconstruction of Foucault’s Conceptualization of Power: The Fundamentals, and Studies in Egyptian Political Thought. He recently published the book The Political Theory of Sayyid Qutb: A Genealogy of Discourse (Ekpyrosis Press, 2021). Mohamed Soffar

Laurentiu D. Tanase, Ph.D.

Laurentiu D. Tanase received his Ph.D. from the University of Strasbourg, France. He teaches Religious Studies at the University of Bucharest, Romania, in the Department of Religious Studies and Faculty of Orthodox Theology. He is a researcher with the Romanian Academy – Institute for the Research of Quality of Life – ICCV. He was the State Secretary for Religious Affairs in the Government of Romania (2001-2004). He was a member of the Parliamentary Commission for research of the Communist period of Romania (CNSAS) (2005-2018). He is a member of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion (ISSR), and also a member of the French Association of Religious Studies. He was a Visiting Scholar at Boston University in 2019-2020; he was in the USA Fulbright program in the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2016, and Singapore Cooperation program in 2014. He has written numerous articles, book chapters. He interests are the dynamics of religious life, Christianity, secularization, religious pluralism, spiritual counseling, as well as social modernity and Islam.

Mehdi S. Shariati, Ph.D.

Mehdi S. Shariati is Emeritus Professor of Economics, Sociology, and Geography at Kansas City Community College. His main areas of interest are social theory, global political economy, economic development, and social change. He hold graduate degrees in economics, sociology, and a multi-disciplinary Ph.D. He is the author of various articles and two textbooks on economics.

Sayed Hassan Akhlaq, Ph.D.

Sayed Hassan Akhlaq is a philosopher and religious scholar specializing in inter-civilizational dialogue, comparative study of philosophy and religion, as well as intra- and inter-faith dialogue. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Allah Tabatabaii University in Tehran, Iran. He completed his Islamic theological studies (Hawzeh Elmieh) in Mashhad. Akhlaq worked as the Dean of Gharjistan University, a branch of Farah-Afghanistan in 2011. He was the academic advisor to the Afghanistan Academy of Sciences in 2010, and taught at two Iranian universities: Al-Mustafa International and Payam-e Noor. He has published five books (in Iran and Afghanistan), both in Farsi. His latest work, The Secular and the Sacred: Complementary and/or Conflictual, was co-edited by John Hogan and published by the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (2017). He has been in residence at Boston University (2017-2018), Princeton University (2017), George Washington University (2013-2016), and The Catholic University of America (2012-2017). Currently, he teaches Philosophy, Critical Thinking, and Bioethics at Marymount and Coppin State University.

Sayed Mahdi Mosawi, Ph.D.

Sayed Mahdi Mosawi is a sociologist and scholar from Afghanistan specializing in gender, masculinities, and refugee issues. He currently works as a Research Fellow at the Alwaleed Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Mahdi holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and has been engaged in researching and transforming patriarchal gender norms since 2012. He has published on masculinities, gender inequality, and gender-based violence. He was awarded the American Men’s Studies Association’s 2015 Frankel Memorial Scholarship because of his paper, “Gender Neither Ours nor from Our Culture, West Countries Brought it to us: Challenges of Engaging Afghan Men in Gender Equality.” Mahdi is the author of first-ever studies, “The Other Side of Gender Inequality: Men and Masculinities in Afghanistan” and “Honor, Violence, and Masculinity in Afghanistan.” In his ongoing work, Mahdi investigates the concept of immigrant masculinities among the diasporic Muslim communities in the UK. Email: Twitter: @sm_mosawi

Michael Naughton, Ph.D.

Dr. Michael Naughton is a Reader in Sociology and Law across the Law School and the School of Sociology, Politics, and International Studies (SPAIS) at the University of Bristol, UK. He has researched and written extensively on the limitations and/or outright failings of the criminal justice system to emphasize the likely scale, causes, and forms of harm associated with “miscarriages of justice,” with a particular focus on the wrongful conviction and/or imprisonment of factually innocent victims. Michael is also known for pioneering the introduction of innocence projects in UK universities and for his efforts to effect changes to the criminal justice system so that innocent victims are guaranteed to be able to overturn their wrongful convictions. Dr. Naughton is author or sole editor of four books: The Innocent and the Criminal Justice System (Palgrave, 2013); Claims of Innocence: An Introduction to Wrongful Convictions and How they might be Challenged (University of Bristol, 2010, with G. Tan); The Criminal Cases Review Commission: Hope for the Innocent? (Palgrave, 2009), and Rethinking Miscarriages of Justice: Beyond the tip of the Iceberg (Palgrave, 2007). In addition, he has over sixty publications in peer-reviewed academic journals, edited book collections, professional journals, and broadsheet newspapers.

Daniele Cantini, Ph.D.

Daniele Cantini is currently senior research fellow and academic coordinator at the Research Cluster and Graduate School “Society and Culture in Motion” (SCM), University of Halle, Germany. He earned his Ph.D. in Social Anthropology at the University of Modena (Italy) in 2006, with a thesis on the Jordanian university system and its students. He has held research positions, as affiliated, stipend-holder or institute member, in Cairo (Egypt), Modena, Halle, Beirut (Lebanon), and Zurich (Switzerland), and has taught courses at the University of Modena, Milano-Bicocca, and Halle. He is the author of Youth and Education in the Middle East: Shaping Identity and Politics in Jordan (London, 2016), editor of Rethinking Private Higher Education: Ethnographic Perspectives (Leiden, 2016), and of Bounded Knowledge: Doctoral Studies in Egypt (Cairo/New York, 2021).

Christian Czygan, Ph.D.

Christian Czygan has a Ph.D. in Ottoman-Turkish studies from the University of Hamburg. She was trained in Ottoman Studies by Petra Kappert (Hamburg) and Orhan Said Gökyay (Istanbul) and received her MA in Turkish Studies, History, and French Literature at the University of Hamburg. Since 2019, she teaches Ottoman History and Literature in the Department of Oriental Studies at the University of Bonn. Her research field lay in modern and premodern Ottoman history and premodern literature, and she is interested in the dynamics and concepts of rulership, and modes of their communication in poetry and the press. She has established large databases and is interested in digital humanities as a devise for manuscript records and evaluation. Her Ph.D. thesis, How to Rule the State: young Ottoman Intellectuals and their Concepts in the Journal Hürriyet was published by Klaus Schwart in German (2012). In cooperation with Stephan Conerman, in 2018 she edited and published An Iridescent Device: Premodern Ottoman Poetry (Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht). She has published numerous other articles on Ottoman history and poetry.

William McCorkle, Ph.D.

Dr. McCorkle is a cognitive and evolutionary anthropologist. He earned his Ph.D. (2007) from the Institute of Cognition and Culture at the Queen’s University, Belfast (N. Ireland/U.K.). Dr. McCorkle served as the Director of Laboratory for the Experimental Research of Religion (LEVYNA), and as Associate Professor and Research Specialist in the Department for the Study of Religions at Masaryk University (Brno, CZ). His publications include: Ritualizing the Disposal of the Deceased: From Corpse to Concept (New York: Peter Lang, 2010); Mental Culture: Classical Social Theory and the Cognitive Science of Religion, edited with D. Xygalatas (London: Routledge, 2013), and The Cognitive Science of Religion: A Methodological Approach to Key Empirical Studies, edited with D. Jason Slone (New York: Bloomsbury, 2019). He served as the co-founding and managing editor for the Journal of Cognitive historiography (2013-2017, Equinox), and as a co-founding and senior editor for the “Science of Inquiry” series (2013-2020) with Bloomsbury’s Academic Press. Dr. McCorkle is interested in bringing innovative methods into the field by using history of religions and cognitive science to investigate cultural forms, including: religion, ritual, art, music, science, and most recently, fascism.

Carimo Mohomed, Ph.D.

Dr. Carimo Mohomed is an independent researcher, born in 1973 in Mozambique, a Portuguese territory at the time. He graduated with a degree in history (1995) and obtained his Ph.D. in Political Theory and Analysis in 2012. In between, he specialized in Library and Information Sciences (2004) and in Islamic Cultures, Civilizations, and Religion (2006). Based in Lisbon, Portugal, his main areas of interests have been the relationship between Religion and Politics in different cultural and civilizational contexts, past and present, which led him to the field of Political Theology, and the History of Political Ideas, especially in the Islamic world, with a particular focus on different theories of justice, authority, and community, from with he specialized in Political Philosophy. He sits on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Islamic Thought, the Journal of Philosophy and Ethics, the Journal of Islamic Research, and the Annals of Global History. He also serves as Executive Member of IPSA’s Research Committee, “RC43-Religion and Politics.” Lately, he has also been working as a translator and writing several novels, short stories, and a politico-theological treatise on Cosmopolitanism. Email:

Carimo Mohomed on Google Scholar

Sachin Namdeo Gadekar, Ph.D.

Dr. Sachin Namdeo Gadekar is an Associate Professor of English at Tuljaram Chaturchand College (Autonomous), Baramati, District Pune, India, affiliated with Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune. He obtained his M.Phil from YCMO University, Nashik and his Ph.D. from S.P. Pune University, Pune, and his PGDTE from EFLU, Hyderabad. He recently published his book, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness: A Critical Study (Prestige Books International). He has also completed two minor research projects sanctioned by BCUD, Pune University, Pune and ICSSR, New Delhi, under IMPRESS Scheme, Government of India. He recently published his book, Between Cultural Memory and Post Colonialism: A Study of African and South Asian Novels,” with Ekpyrosis Press (2022).