Dr Sarah Bowen Savant

Dr Sarah Bowen Savant

Dr Sarah Bowen Sa​vant, Associate Professor, is an historian of religion. She received her MA from the University of Chicago and her PhD from Harvard University. Prior to joining AKU-ISMC in 2007, she was a Sultan Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr Savant is a member of the Institute's Professional Programmes Unit Committee and Research Committee and Chair of the Research Ethics Committee. She is also a member of the AKU University Research Council. She is component coordinator for the Muslim Heritages sequence of the MA in Muslim Cultures.  

Dr Savant's academic interests include:

  • Early Islam
  • The Study of Religion
  • Historiography
  • Late Antique Iran and Iraq
  • Prophetic Biography

At AKU-ISMC, Dr Savant has taught the courses:

Contact Details
Email address: sarah.savant@aku.edu
Telephone: 020 7380 3859


  • The New Muslims of Post-Conquest Iran: Tradition, Memory, and Conversion. Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilisation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
  • The Superiority of the Arabs and an Exposition of their Sciences: A Translation of Ibn Qutaybah’s Faḍl al-ʿArab wa l-tanbīh ʿalā ʿulūmihā. Translated with Peter Webb; Arabic text by James Montgomery. The Library of Arabic Literature. Abu Dhabi: New York University Press, under contract (completion in 2014).
Edited volumes/journals
  • Guest editor, with Konrad Hirschler, of a special issue of Der Islam, 1/2014: “What’s In a Period? Arabic Historiography and Periodization.” Includes an introduction by the editors and contributions from the “Arabic Pasts: Histories and Historiography” workshop, sponsored by SOAS and AKU-ISMC.
  • Genealogy and Knowledge in Muslim Societies: Understanding the Past. Edited with Helena de Felipe. AKU-ISMC Exploring Muslim Contexts. Edinburgh: AKU-ISMC/Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Peer-reviewed articles/book chapters
  • “Iran’s Conversion to Islam and History Writing as an Art for Forgetting.” In “Historiography and Identity towards the End of the First Millennium;” edited volume, organized for the Visions of Community project coordinated by Helmut Reimitz and Walter Pohl. Forthcoming; submission in August 2014.
  • “Naming Shuʿūbīs.” In a festschrift or Ahmad Mahdavi-Damghani. De Gruyter, forthcoming; submitted.
  • “The Conquest of Tustar: Site of Memory, Site of Forgetting.” In Violence in Early Islamic Thought, edited by István Kristó-Nagy and Robert Gleave. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming; submitted.
  • “Introduction” and “Genealogy and Ethno-Genesis in al-Masʿudi’s Muruj al-dhahab.” In Genealogy and Knowledge in Muslim Societies, 2014 (see above).
  • “Forgetting Iran’s Pre-Islamic Past, ca. 800–1100 CE.” In History and Identity in the Late Antique Near East, edited by Philip Wood. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • “Persians after the Arab Conquests.” Annales Islamologiques 42 (2008): 73–91.
  • “Isaac as the Persians’ Ishmael: Pride and the Pre-Islamic Past in Medieval Islam.” Comparative Islamic Studies 2, no. 1 (2006): 5–25.
Encyclopedia entries
  • “Genealogy” and “Shu‛ūbiyya.” In The Encyclopaedia of Islamic Political Thought. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012.
  • Foundation for Iranian Studies 2006 Dissertation Prize for best dissertation on a topic in Iranian Studies