Dr. Sean FoleyDr. Sean Foley

Associate Professor

E-mail: sean.foley@mtsu.edu
Phone: (615) 904-8294 Office
Office Location and Mailing Address: Peck Hall, Room 262
MTSU Box 23
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
Link to Personal Website: http://www.seanfoley.org/

FIELDS: Middle East and Islamic History, Southeast Asian History, Persian Gulf History, World History, Muslims in Western History, and the Arab-Israeli Dispute.

BIOGRAPHICAL STATEMENT: Dr. Foley specializes in Middle East history and the political and religious trends in Southeast Asia and the wider Islamic World. He frequently travels to Asia and the Middle East, follows events in both regions closely, and speaks Arabic and Bahasa Malaysian. He has published widely, delivered public presentations to audiences around the world, and held Fulbright fellowships in three countries: Syria, Turkey, and Malaysia. His first book, The Arab Gulf States: Beyond Oil and Islam, was published in 2010 by Lynne Rienner Press. He is now working on a second book based on his research in Saudi Arabia from April 2013 until January 2014. He has appeared as an expert on Voice of America Television and Al-Jazeera television and contributed opinion pieces to The Atlantic Monthly, The New Straits Times (Malaysia), Daily Zaman (Turkey), and The Tennessean (Nashville, TN). 


  • History 1120, Survey World Civilization II
  • History 3080, Topics in Modern Middle East History
  • History 3010,  The Historian’s Craft
  • History 4440, The Middle East
  • Middle East 2100, Introduction to Middle East Studies


  • History 5440, Middle East History
  • History 6304, Middle East Historiography


“When a Colonial American Minister Put His Faith in the Power of Islam: Muslim Medicine, Reason, and Public Health in the Modern World,” Journal of History Studies 6, No. 3 (April 2014): 147-161.

 “When Collision Emerges As Unexpected Harmony: Saudi Responses to the Arab Spring,” Contemporary Review of Middle East 1, No. 1 (March 2014): 53-74.

 “When Life Imitates Art: The Arab Spring, the Middle East, and the Modern World,” Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations 12, No. 3, (Fall 2013): 32-46.

“Saudi Arabia, the Soviet Union, and Modern Islam,” Islam and Civilisational Renewal, Volume 4, No. 1, January 2013: 45-61.

“Re-Orientalizing the Gulf: The GCC and Southeast Asia,” Middle East Policy, Volume 19, No. 4, Winter 2012: 77-87.

The Arab Gulf States: Beyond Oil and Islam (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Press, 2010).


Fulbright Fellowship, Malaysia, September 2010-December 2011: The fellowship funded travel in Asia and research on the influence of Islamic Modernism on Southeast Asia between 1875 and the present.

Smith Richardson Foundation Junior Faculty Research Grant, 2007-2010: Grant funded the research and writing for the monograph The Arab Gulf States: Beyond Oil and Islam.


What's Past is Prologue: How Dialogue, Obligations and Reciprocity Frame Saudi Arabia's Success in the Contemporary World; In preparation.


"Post Election Violence in Egypt," al-Jazeera English Television, May 29, 2012.


Ph.D., Georgetown University, 2005.
M.A.,   Georgetown University, 2000.
B.A.,   University of California, Berkeley, 1996.

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