Zarate, Arthur

Arthur S. Zárate

Assistant Professor of Global Humanities 



Office Hours

My advising hours are by appointment. To make one, please send me an email.


  • Columbia University, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), History, 2018
  • Columbia University, Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.), History, 2015
  • Columbia University, Master of Arts (M.A.), History, 2013
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Double Major, History and Languages and Cultures of Asia, 2010
  • University of Wisconsin, Waukesha, 2005-2006  


I'm an interdisciplinary scholar of religion whose research explores the relationship between Islamic theological thinking and secularity in twentieth-century Egypt. I'm currently working a book manuscript, which among other things, will be the first comprehensive study dedicated to Muhammad al-Ghazali (d. 1996), a towering but much neglected figure in Islamic history. My teaching and research combine insights from the disciplines of religious studies and anthropology with my training at Columbia University as a historian of Global Islam. I have lived and travelled extensively throughout the Middle East and speak Arabic.

I teach in the Humanties Honors Program, a team taught series of courses that can be thought of as a combination of world literature, world history, world religion, and world philosophy. I also teach World Religions and courses on the Middle East and the Islamic world, including RELS 145: Middle East Traditions, and RELS: 156: Islam, Politics and the West. My classes aim to introduce students to the diversity of human religious forms and expressions, highlighting specifically how religious traditions interact with each other, as well as their relevance to contemporary politics. 

At San José State University, I very much enjoy teaching first generation college students and students interested in applying the critical thinking skills they learn in the classroom to their lives outside the classroom. Students should walk out of my classroom with a sense of how and why the humanities matter. 

My published work has appeared in Comparative Studies in Society History (2019) and The Journal of the American Academy of Religion (2021). My research has been supported by San José State University, the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation and the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life at Columbia University, as well as by Arabic language training from the Center for Arabic Studies Abroad in Cairo, Egypt.


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