The Department of Religion is thrilled to announce the addition of two new assistant professors. These new members of our community continue the department’s long-standing commitment to excellence in research and teaching and bring exciting new areas of expertise to our campus.

Dr. Stephanie Mota Thurston
Dr. Stephanie Mota Thurston standing in front of fall folliage

Dr. Thurston’s research and teaching interests include religion and politics, philosophical and theological social ethics, political theory, and political theology. She has taught and written on complicity and moral responsibility and is especially interested in moral and political questions concerning school segregation, policing and prisons, and migration.  Dr. Thurston recently completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship with the Program for Leadership & Character and the Divinity School at Wake Forest University. She received her B.A. in Religious Studies and Politics/International Relations from Scripps College and earned her M.A.R in Ethics from the Divinity School at Yale University. She completed her Ph.D. in the Religion and Society program at Princeton Seminary. Her dissertation, titled Making Citizens in a Credential Society: Identities, Values, and Practices at Brooklyn High, is an ethnographic study of moral and civic formation at a Title I public high school.



Dr. Mukhtar Ali
Dr. Mukhtar Ali standing in front of greenery

Dr. Mukhtar Ali is a scholar of Islamic Studies, specializing in Sufism, Islamic philosophy and ethics. His areas of interest include Arabic and Persian literature, Qurʾānic studies, theology and comparative religion. He taught Arabic at Claremont McKenna College and theological and philosophical ethics at Hamad bin Khalifa University in Qatar. He is the author of Philosophical Sufism: An Introduction to the School of Ibn al-ʿArabī (Routledge, 2021) and The Horizons of Being: The Metaphysics of Ibn al-ʿArabī in the Muqaddimat al-Qayṣarī (Brill, 2020) and his forthcoming work is an annotated translation of Jāmī’s Naqd al-nuṣūṣ fī sharḥ naqsh al-fuṣūṣ (Selected Texts Commenting on the “Engraving of the Fuṣūṣ”). He has also translated several works in classical and contemporary Islamic metaphysics, which include The Principles of Correspondences (2013) and The New Creation (2018). Dr.  Ali earned his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Near Eastern Studies, and his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in Philosophy.