Hossein Ziai is the professor of Islamic and Iranian Studies, Inaugural holder of the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Chair in Iranian Studies and the director of Iranian Studies at UCLA, where he has taught since 1988. He received his B.S. in 1967 in Intensive Mathematics & Physics from Yale University, and his Ph.D. in Islamic Philosophy from Harvard University in 1976. Prior to his position at UCLA, Ziai has taught at Tehran University, Sharif University, Harvard University, Brown University, and Oberlin College.
Ziai has published several volumes and numerous articles on a range of topics that include: Islamic philosophy; the Iranian Illuminationist school of philosophy founded by the creative and charismatic Persian thinker, Sohravardī; and the impact of philosophy on Persian intellectual poetry where the concept “Persian Poetic Wisdom” is defined in relation to the epistemology of knowledge by presence. His books include: (1) Philosophy of Mathematics; (2) Anvāriyyeh (The Realm of Lights); (3) Knowledge and Illumination; (4) Shahrazūrī’s Sharḥ Ḥikmat al-Ishrāq, on Illuminationist Philosophy; (5) The Book of Radiance; (6) The Philosophy of Illumination; (7) The Ball and Polo Stick; (8) Ibn Kammūna’s Sharḥ al-Talwīḥāt, on Natural Philosophy and Psychology.
Ziai has contributed many chapters to edited volumes including: “Beyond Philosophy” in Myth and Philosophy; “The Source and Nature of Authority” in The Political Aspects of Islamic Philosophy; three chapters in The Routledge History of Islamic Philosophy; “Knowledge and Authority in Shī‘ī Philosophy” in The Shī‘īte Heritage: Essays on Classical and Modern Traditions; “Suhrawardī on Knowledge and the Experience of Light” in The Experience of Light: Divine Radiance an Religious Experience; “Islamic Philosophy” in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy; “Persian Poetic Wisdom and the Epistemology of Knowledge by Presence” in Science, Literature and Aesthetics, and others. He is also the author of many research articles on Iranian-Islamic philosophy and on Persian intellectual traditions. Ziai has offered numerous papers at national and international conferences. He serves on the editorial boards of many international academic journals, is an elected member of La Société internationle pour l’étude de la philosophie médiévale, and the elected Vice President of La Société internationale des sciences et de la philosophie arabes et islamiques, C.N.R.S. He has served as Chair, Committee on Academic Freedom, UCLA Senate, for two consecutive terms. He serves as referee for many academic journals, funding agencies, and foundations.
Professor Hossein Ziai has been elected as President of Société Internationale d’Histoire des Sciences et de la Philosophie Arabes et Islamiques (S.I.H.S.P.A.I.). SIHSPAI is the foremost international academic society that is firmly based on rationalist principles in the study of Persian and Arabic Islamic philosophical and scientific heritage and does not allow apologetic nor polemic views obscure academic research, publications and conferences.
Current Affiliations, Committees, Boards, and Editorial:
With my beautiful granddaughters Acacia and Malia