Sam Houston, Ph.D.

Brown Visiting Teacher-Scholar Fellow in Religious Studies

Sam Houston is a Brown Visiting Teacher-Scholar Fellow in Religious Studies, specializing in modern Islamic thought and comparative religious ethics with a focus on the Middle East/North Africa region. His current work analyzes the role that Islamic mysticism, or Sufism, has played in providing Islamic activist movements with models and practices of ethical formation. Other research interests include modern political thought, African American Islam, and Christian-Muslim relations. From 2009-2011, he spent two years teaching English in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and in 2013, he was awarded a U.S. State Department-sponsored Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic in Morocco. He has served as an instructor at Cambridge College, Zayed University, and Florida State University. He earned his Ph.D. from Florida State University, an M.A. in philosophy from Boston College, a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a B.A. fr om Baylor University.


  • Ph.D., Florida State University
  • M.A., Boston College
  • M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary
  • B.A., Baylor University

Course Topics

  • Religious Traditions of the West
  • Islam: Religion of the Prophet

Select Publications

  • "'Monks by Night and Knights by Day': Ḥasan al-Bannāʾ, _Tarbīya_, and the Muslim Brotherhood as Virtuous Vanguard." _Religion Compass_, forthcoming.
  • "Sufism and Islamist Activism in Morocco: An Examination of the Tradition of 'Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong' in the Thought of ʿAbd al-Salam Yassine." _Middle Eastern Studies_ 53/2 (March 2017), 153-65.
  • "Narrative and Ideology: The Promises and Pitfalls of Postliberal Theology." _Religion and Theology_ 23/1-2 (2016), 161-87.
  • "Review of Garden, Kenneth, The First Islamic Reviver: Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī and His Revival of the Religious Sciences." H-Mideast-Medieval, H-Net Reviews. August, 2015.
  • "Sherman A. Jackson and the Possibility of a 'Blackamerican Muslim' Prophetic Pragmatism." _Journal of Africana Religions_ 1/4 (2013), 488-512.
  • "Does Islam Require a Secular State?: Abdullahi An-Na'im's Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari'a." _Philosophy and Social Criticism_ 37/5 (June 2011), 621-25.

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