Dr. Sean FoleyDr. Sean Foley

Associate Professor

E-mail: sean.foley@mtsu.edu
Phone: (615) 904-8294 Office
Office Location and Mailing Address: Peck Hall, Room 262
MTSU Box 23
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
Link to Personal Website: http://www.seanfoley.org/

Please note Dr. Foley is on leave Spring 2013 and Fall 2013.

FIELDS: Middle East and Islamic History, The Arab-Israeli Dispute, World History, Southeast Asia, Muslim Social Movements, Persian Gulf

BIOGRAPHICAL STATEMENT: Dr. Foley specializes in Middle East history and the political and religious trends in Southeast Asia the wider Islamic World. He frequently travels to Asia and the Middle East, follows events in both regions closely, and speaks Arabic and Bahasa Malaysian. He has published widely, delivered public presentations to audiences around the world, and held Fulbright fellowships in three countries: Syria, Turkey, and Malaysia. His first book, The Arab Gulf States: Beyond Oil and Islam, was published in 2010 by Lynne Rienner Press and has received strong reviews. He has appeared as an expert on Voice of America Television and al-Jazeera television and contributed opinion pieces to The Atlantic Monthly, The New Straits Times (Malaysia), Daily Zaman (Turkey), and The Tennessean (Nashville, TN).


  • History 1120, Survey World Civilization II
  • History 3080, Topics in Modern Middle East History
  • History 4440, The Middle East
  • Middle East 2100, Introduction to Middle East Studies


  • History 5440, Middle East History
  • History 6304, Middle East Historiography


Foley, Sean. The Arab Gulf States: Beyond Oil and Islam. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Press, 2010.

Foley, Sean. "Saudi Arabia, the Soviet Union, and Modern Islam," Islam and Civilization Renewal: A Journal Devoted to Contemporary Issues and Policy Research (IAIS, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Vol. 3, No. 5, October 2012.

Foley, Sean. "When Spirit and Intellect Know No Gender Boundaries: Women and the rise of the Naqshbandiyya-Khalidiyya in the Ottoman Empire during the Nineteenth Century," Prajna Vihara: Journal of Philosophy and Religion (Assumption University, Bangkok, Thailand), Volume 12, No.1, January 2011–June 2011.


International Scientific Twinning Program Fellowship, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 2013-December 2013: The fellowship funds research and travel for a new book entitled What's Past is Prologue: How Dialogue, Obligations and Reciprocity Frame Saudi Arabia's Success in the Contemporary World.

Fulbright Fellowship, Malaysia, September 2010-September 2011: The fellowship funded travel in Asia and research on the influence of Islamic Modernism on Southeast Asia between 1875 and the present.

Smith Richardson Foundation Junior Faculty Research Grant, 2007-2010: Grant funded the research and writing for the monograph The Arab Gulf States: Beyond Oil and Islam.

"The Arab Gulf States: Beyond Oil and Islam." Paper presented to the Middle East Institute, Washington, DC, April 2010 (below as video)


What's Past is Prologue: How Dialogue, Obligations and Reciprocity Frame Saudi Arabia's Success in the Contemporary World.


"Post Election Violence in Egypt," al-Jazeera English Television, May 29, 2012.


Ph.D., Georgetown University, 2005.
M.A.,   Georgetown University, 2000.
B.A.,   University of California, Berkeley, 1996.

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