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About Ali Riaz

Ali Riaz is a Distinguished Professor at the Department of Politics and Government. He is also a nonresident senior fellow of the Atlantic Council. He also held the inaugural Thomas E Eimermann Professorship​ (2018-2020). He was the Department Chair between August 2007 and June 2017. In recognition of his national and international reputation as an expert on South Asian politics and Political Islam, Riaz was designated “University Professor” at Illinois State University in 2012 and he held the designation until 2018. In 2013 he served as a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at Washington, D.C. He testified at the US Congress on Bangladesh in 2013 and in 2015, and at the US Commission on International Religious Freedom in 2008. 

Ali Riaz joined Illinois State University in 2002. Prior to joining Illinois State University he has taught at Claflin University in South Carolina, and the University of Lincoln in England.  He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh between 1993 and 1995, and a Lecturer between 1984 and 1987. Ali Riaz earned his PhD in Political Science from the University of Hawai’i in 1993 under the East West Center fellowship. He also has MS in Communication and MS in Political Science earned in 1989 and 1991, respectively. He was awarded the ‘East West Center Honor’ Award in 1990. Dr. Riaz was a Research Fellow of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore. His research topic was the role of telecommunication in economic growth of Malaysia and Singapore. Dr. Riaz has an extensive experience in journalism. 

He has worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Service for five years, as Producer and Senior Broadcast Journalist at London. His research interests include Political Islam, South Asian politics, Bangladeshi politics, Violent Extremism, state-society relationship, community development, and political economy of media.  

He has published in English and in Bengali. His publications in English include More than Meets the Eye (UPL, 2022); Religion and Politics in South Asia (Routledge, 2nd edition, 2021); Voting in Hybrid Regime: Explaining the 2018 Bangladeshi Election (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019); Political Violence in South Asia (Routledge, 2018); ‘Lived Islam and Islamism in Banglades​h’ (Prothoma, 2017); ‘Undying Issues: Critical Debates about Contemporary Challenges’ (Pathak Samabesh, 2018), Bangladesh: A Political History since Independence​ (IB Tauris, 2016), Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Bangladesh (2016) How Did We Arrive Here (Prothoma, 2015),  Islam and Identity Politics among British-Bangladeshis: A Leap of Faith (Manchester University Press, 2013), Inconvenient Truths About Bangladeshi Politics (Prothoma, 2012), Political Islam and Governance in Bangladesh (Routledge, 2010),  Religion and Politics in South Asia (Routledge, 2010); (Re)reading Taslima Nasrin: contexts, contents & constructions (Shraban Prokashoni, 2010); Faithful Education: Madrassahs in South Asia  (Rutgers University Press, 2008); Islamist Militancy in Bangladesh: A Complex Web  (Routledge, 2010); Paradise Lost? State Failure in Nepal (with Subho Basu, Lexington Books, 2007), Unfolding State: The Transformation of Bangladesh (de Sitter Publications, 2005),  God Willing: The Politics of Islamism in Bangladesh (Rowman and Littlefield, 2004), State, Class and Military Rule: Political Economy of Martial Law in Bangladesh (Nadi New Press, 1993). 

Professor Ali Riaz earned the College of Arts and Sciences first Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholarly Achievement 2004 and Outstanding College Researcher Award 2005. Riaz received Pi Sigma Alpha Excellence in Teaching Award in 2006. He received the Impact Award in 2020. Riaz regularly contributes to Bangladeshi and international media on South Asian politics. He appeared on CNNCNN​BBC, Al-Jazeera English, Canadian TV​CCTV America​,  LinkTV among other media. He served as consultant to various international agencies, and as the editor of the bi-annual journal,  Studies on Asia, between 2010 and 2015.

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