D Gershon Lewental is the Schusterman visiting professor of Israel studies at the Department of History and the College of International Studies of the University of Oklahoma. He earned his bachelor of arts degree (magna cum laude) from Cornell University and his doctorate in Middle Eastern history from Brandeis University. His dissertation, on the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah during the Arab-Islamic conquest of Iran and the changing perceptions of the engagement through time, received Brandeis University’s Glatzer Dissertation Prize and the Foundation of Iranian Studies’ Best Dissertation Award. His fields of specialisation include Iranian history, early Islam, the Bahaʾi faith, and Israeli society.
He is preparing two book manuscripts, one on the interplay of religion, nationalism, and memory in the modern Middle East and the other on the rôle of narrative in early Islamic historiography. His article, ‘Saddam’s Qadisiyyah: Religion and history in the service of state ideology in Baʿthi Iraq’, is forthcoming in Middle Eastern Studies and a paper on Iranian identity in Islamic historical narratives is under review at another journal. Other topics on which he is currently working include a detailed examination of the development of Islamic historiography; a broad study of the Bahaʾi community in Israel from 1917 to the present; and an analysis of the elaboration of Tajiki identity. His courses at the University of Oklahoma include Religion and minorities in Israel, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Political Islam, Religion and society in the Middle East, Early Islamic empires, Rebirth of Israel (History of Zionism), and Israeli society.