Asma Afsaruddin received her Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University in 1993 and is associate professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Notre Dame.  She previously taught at Harvard University. Her fields of specialization are the religious and political thought of Islam, Qur'an and hadith studies, Islamic intellectual history, and gender. She is the author of Excellence and Precedence: Medieval Islamic Discourse on Legitimate Leadership (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2002), the editor of Hermaneutics and Honor: Negotiation of Female "Public" Space in Islamic/ate Societies (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1999), and co-editor (with Mathias Zahniser) of Humanism, Culture, and Language in the Near East : Essays in Honor of Georg Krotkoff (Eisenbrauns: Winona Lake, Ind., 1997). She has also written over fifty research articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries on various aspects of Islamic thought and has lectured widely in the US, Europe, and the Middle East.  Professor Afsaruddin is currently serving on the editorial board of the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World (Oxford University Press, forthcoming) and the Bulletin of the Middle East Studies Association    (Cambridge University Press). Previously, she served on the editorial board of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Medieval Islamic Civilization (2006), the Routledge Encyclopedia of the Qur'an, and the Oxford Dictionary of Islam (2002). In fall 2003, she was a visiting scholar at the Centre for Islamic Studies at the School for Oriental and African Studies, London, UK, and was previously a fellow at the American Research Center of Egypt in Cairo and the American Research Institute of Turkey in Istanbul.  Afsaruddin is chair  of the Board of Directors of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, and serves on the advisory board of Karamah, a human and women's rights organization, and on the advisory committees of Women's Global Initiative, Peace X Peace and of the Muslim World Initiative of the United States Institute of Peace, all based in Washington, D.C.  She frequently consults with US governmental and private agencies on contemporary Islamic movements, inter-faith, and gender issues.  She has recently published a book, The First Muslims: History and Memory (Oxford:OneWorld Publications, 2008), which explains the impact of the first generation of Muslims on the development of Islamic doctrine, law and ethics, and their continuing relevance for contemporary Muslims on critical issues of gender, political governance, connotations of jihad, and relations with Christians and Jews. The book has been favorably reviewed by the Washington Post, Times Higher Education, and the Guardian.   Professor Afsaruddin is currently working on a historical survey of jihad and martyrdom from various perspectives, for which she has received funding from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and  from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which named her a Carnegie scholar in 2005.