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About John P. Turner

John researches, writes, and teaches about Islamic history. His research focuses on the interaction of political and religious authority. He is keenly interested in understanding groups and group behavior, and particularly the categorization and exclusion of heresy and heretics. His current research is focused on the early development of the Hanbali school of legal thought, used in current day Saudi Arabia.
He is also interested in the role of the 8th-10th century Caliph and the Caliphate in the definition of what it means to be a Muslim. In addition to his primary field, as a graduate student he studied modern history with a focus on Syria and Iran, where he also studied Arabic (in Damascus) and Persian (in Tehran).
His courses range from surveys of the premodern and modern periods in the middle east to country specific courses, and he covers eras from the foundations of Islam to the current day. John is also Associate Director of the Goldfarb Center where he is responsible for the grants program and the Cotter Debates series.


Present Associate Director, Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, Colby College
Present Associate Professor of History, Colby College History

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  • History of the Premodern Middle East
  • History of the Modern Middle East
  • Foundations of Islam
  • Women, Gender and Islam
  • History of the Crusades
  • History of Modern Iran
  • History and Development of Islamic Law

Contact Information

Colby College
5333 Mayflower Hill
Waterville, Maine 04901-8853


Articles (3)

Books (1)

Contributions to Books (3)

Presentations (6)