Kristian Petersen


Visiting Assistant Professor in Religion

Kristian Petersen is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Gustavus Adolphus College. His research interests include Theory and Methodology in the Academic Study of Religion, Critical Islamic Thought, Muslims in the West, Literary and Institutional Sufism, Chinese Religions, Human Rights, and Comparative Religions. He specializes on the development of Islam in China and Sino-Islamic intellectual history. His publications can be found in Philosophy East and WestJournal of Muslim Minority AffairsAmerican Journal of Islamic Social SciencesJournal of Oriental and African Studies, and Religious Studies Review. He is the host of New Books in Religion and New Books in Islamic Studies and a steering committee member for the Contemporary Islam Group at theAmerican Academy of Religion..

His current project, The Great Transformation: Pilgrimage, Scripture, and Language in the Sino-Islamic Intellectual Tradition, explores the development of the Han Kitab (17th–19th centuries), a Sino-Islamic body of literature. These texts were primarily written in Classical Chinese, using the vocabulary of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism to explain the tenets of Islam. Through the works of three of the foremost scholars within this tradition, Wang Daiyu 王岱輿 (1590-1658), Liu Zhi 劉智 (1670-1724), and Ma Dexin 馬德新 (1794-1874), he illustrates the transformations within this intellectual movement. He delineates the interconnections of Persian, Arabic and Chinese religious texts and the relationship between Islamic and Chinese principles through an investigation of the concepts of scripture, pilgrimage, and language within each authors’ works. Ultimately, he provides a comprehensive portrait of key developments in Chinese Muslim intellectual history and its relation to Islamic and Chinese thought.

For a more comprehensive profile check out my personal website.

Courses Taught


REL-115 (World Religions) and REL-255 (Islam)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
REL-115World Religions122013/FA, 2013/SP, 2012/FA, 2012/SP, and 2011/FA
REL-111Religion & Film32014/JN, 2013/JN, and 2012/JN
REL-255Islam32013/SP, 2012/FA, and 2011/FA