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Chase F. Robinson
Position: Distinguished Professor
President, The Graduate Center
Campus Affiliation: Graduate Center
Phone: 212-817-7100
Research Interests: Early Islam

Chase F. Robinson came to the Graduate Center in 2008 as provost and senior vice president, was appointed distinguished professor of history in 2009, and became the Graduate Center’s president in 2014. He is considered the leading expert of his generation on early Islamic history.

As president, Dr. Robinson is committed to deepening the Graduate Center's commitment to advanced learning and education for the public good. Under his leadership, the Graduate Center is emerging as a national model in doctoral education, pedagogy, and interdisciplinarity, and has attracted record levels of philanthropic support.

In 1992, he earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, where he was awarded a Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. In 1993 he joined the Faculty of Oriental Studies and Wolfson College, Oxford, where he taught until 2008. From 1999 to 2000 he was a member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and in 2005 he received a two-year British Academy Research Readership. From 2003 to 2005, he chaired Oxford University’s faculty of oriental studies, having first served as a professor of Islamic history at Oxford, beginning in 1993.
A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Robinson is the author or editor of 9 books and more than 40 articles. He also serves on a number of editorial and review boards, and his reviews and commentaries have appeared in the New York TimesThe Times Literary Supplement, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Inside Higher Education. Dr. Robinson’s newest book, Islamic Civilization in Thirty Lives (University of California/Thames & Hudson), has received wide critical acclaim, and has been translated to Arabic, Indonesian, and Portuguese.


Selected Publications





Islamic Civilization in Thirty Lives: The First 1,000 Years (University of California Press Books, November 2016) (ISBN: 9780520292987; Hardcover, 272 pages)

Islamic Civilization in Thirty Lives: The First 1,000 Years

In Islamic Civilization in Thirty Lives, the distinguished historian of Islam Chase F. Robinson draws on the long tradition in Muslim scholarship of commemorating in writing the biographies of notable figures, but he weaves these ambitious lives together to create a rich narrative of Islamic civilization, from the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century to the era of the world conquerer Timur and the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in the fifteenth.

Beginning in Islam’s heartland, Mecca, and ranging from North Africa and Iberia in the west to Central and East Asia, Robinson not only traces the rise and fall of Islamic states through the biographies of political and military leaders who worked to secure peace or expand their power, but also discusses those who developed Islamic law, scientific thought, and literature. What emerges is a fascinating portrait of rich and diverse Islamic societies. Alongside the famous characters who colored this landscape—including Muhammad’s cousin ’Ali; the Crusader-era hero Saladin; and the poet Rumi—are less well-known figures, such as Ibn Fadlan, whose travels in Eurasia brought fascinating first-hand accounts of the Volga Vikings to the Abbasid Caliph; the eleventh-century Karima al-Marwaziyya, a woman scholar of Prophetic traditions; and Abu al-Qasim Ramisht, a twelfth-century merchant millionaire.

'Abd al-Malik (Oneworld Press, 2005) (ISBN 1-85168-361-5; 139 pp. + xv)

Abd al-Malik

Reviews: International Journal of Middle East Studies 39 (2007); Bulletin Critique des Annales Islamologiques 23 (2007); Middle Studies Association Bulletin 41 (2007); The Times Literary Supplement (July 14, 2006).

Islamic Historiography  (Cambridge University Press, 2003) (ISBN 0-521-62081; 237 pp. + xxv)

Islamic Historiography (Themes in Islamic History)

Persian translation (Teheran, 2009; rev. forthcoming)

Reviews: Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 15 (2004); EurasianStudies 11 (2003); Middle East and South Asia Folklore Bulletin 20 (2004); al-Masaq 17 (2005); The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 21 (2004); Choice (July, 2003); Bulletin Critique des Annales Islamologiques 22 (2006); Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 49 (2006); Welt des Islams 47 (2007).

Empire and Elites after the Muslim Conquest: The Transformation of Northern Mesopotamia (Cambridge University Press, 2000) (ISBN 0-521-781159; 206 pp. + xv).

Empire and Elites after the Muslim Conquest

Reviews: The Historian 65 (2003); American Historical Review 108 (2003); Journal of Islamic Studies 13 (2002); Bulletin Critique des Annales Islamologiques 19 (2003); Journal of the American Oriental Society 123 (2003); Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-faith Studies 3 (2001); Le Moyen Age 3-4 (2002); Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 62 (2002); History 57 (2002); American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 20 (2003); Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 37 (2003); Bulletin Critique des Annales Islamologiques 19 (2003); Studies in Contemporary Islam 4 (2002).




The Oxford History of Historical Writing, general ed. D. Woolf, co-editor (with S. Foot) of Volume 2: Historical Writing, 600-1400 (Oxford, 2012) (ISBN 978-0-19-923642-8; 720 pp.)

The Oxford History of Historical Writing: Vol… (Hardcover)

The Formation of Islam, sixth to eleventh century, vol. 1 of the 6-volume New Cambridge History of Islam, general ed. M.A. Cook (Cambridge, 2010) (ISBN 978-0-521-83823-8; 852 pp. + xxxviii).

The New Cambridge History of Islam: Volume 1, The Formation of the Islamic World, Sixth to Eleventh Centuries


Winner of the Waldo G. Leland Prize awarded by the American Historical Association


Reviews: The Telegraph (November 10, 2011); Sehepunkte (2012).

Texts, Documents and Artefacts: Islamic Studies in Honour of D.S. Richards (E.J. Brill, 2003) (ISBN 0929-2403; 417 pp. + xiii).

Texts, Documents and Artefacts: Islamic Studies in Honour of D.S. Richards (Islamic History and Civilization)


Reviews: Middle East Studies Association Bulletin, 38 (2004); Journal of Oriental and African Studies 14 (2005); Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 15 (2005); Journal of Semitic Studies 51 (2006).

A Medieval Islamic City Reconsidered: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Samarra, Oxford Studies in Islamic Art (Oxford University Press, 2001) (ISBN 0-19-728024-2; 207 pp.).

A Medieval Islamic City Reconsidered: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Samarra


Reviews: Journal of Islamic Studies 15 (2004); MIT Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies 4 (2004).