“Head of John the Baptist” in Carrara marble by the Polish artist Igor Mitoraj (2006). Photographed by Dustin J. Byrd in the Basilica Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (Rome) in 2014.
Who I am:
I am a specialist in political and social philosophy, with an emphasis on the Frankfurt School, Critical Theory of Religion, and contemporary Islamic thought. I am especially interested in the intersection of the political and the religious in Western and Islamic thought and praxis.
I received my B.A. (2000) from Western Michigan University, wherein I studied comparative religion, philosophy, history, and music. I continued my studies at WMU, earning my M.A. in comparative religion (2006), under the mentorship of the critical theorist Rudolf J. Siebert, specializing in the intersection of politics and religion. I received my Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Social and Political Philosophy in 2017, with a dissertation on the Frankfurt School’s translation of certain Jewish and Christian theological concepts into critical political philosophy, and how those secular translations can aid in the discourse between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Since 2008, I have taught at Olivet College, in Olivet, Michigan, where I am now an Associate Professor. I teach courses on philosophy, religion, Arabic, and civilization studies, as well as classes abroad in philosophy and religion. For a list of classes I’ve taught, see: classes
Islamic Perspective Journal:
In 2018 I accepted the position of Editor-and-Chief of Islamic Perspective Journal, which covers all matters relating to Islam and Muslims. IPJ is a peer-reviewed journal that is published bi-annually by the London Academy of Iranian Studies.
I am the author of numerous books and articles on the topic of political philosophy, critical theory, Islam, and modernity. Please see my publications page for a list of my publications: Publications
I am currently working on three research projects:
1) I am writing a book on the political, philosophical, and religious foundations of far-right identitarian movements in Europe and the United States, which I intend to publish in 2020.
2) I am also engaged in research on Pope Francis and his strenuous relationship to identitarian and populist movements in Europe, especially over the subject of immigration, multiculturalism, and the role of Christianity in Europe’s modern identity.
3) I am researching the figure of Girolamo Savonarola, the 15th century Dominican friar of Florence who led a revolt against the D’Medici family. From the perspective of critical political philosophy, I am attempting to translate Savonarola’s critique of early modernity into contemporary post-metaphysical language.
Founder of Ekpyrosis Press:
I have recently established a new peer-reviewed academic publishing house: Ekpyrosis Press. This independent press will focus on critical works within philosophy, religion, history, literature, sociology, etc., in an attempt to reclaim Western civilization and the Western traditional thought from those who wish to weaponize it against Resten societies and peoples. Ekpyrosis Press is founded upon the idea that when the West has a strong sense-of-itself, rooted in its own cultural resources, it does not fear others. Rather, it enters into a robust dialogue, discourse, and debate with them on the basis of friendship and good will, and is open to all peoples. Ekpyrosis Press is currently accepting book proposals. Additionally, we are currently preparing on our first three books for publication:
1) The Critical Theory of Religion: From the Frankfurt School to Emancipatory Islamic Thought, by Dr. Dustin J. Byrd,
2) Hegel and the Critical Theory of Religion, by Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert,
3) Ali Shariati: Expanding the Sociological Canon, by Dr. Seyed Javad Miri.
We expect all three to be available by the fall of 2020.