Juan E. Campo

Associate Professor
Chair, Department of Religious Studies

Ph.D., The University of Chicago
History of Religions (Islam), Arabic
HSSB 3044 & 3083
Office Hours:
T/R, 11-12pm
Time Period: Fall 2023


Juan E. Campo is chair of Department of Religious Studies Department and an Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and the History of Religions at the University of California in Santa Barbara.  He specializes in the comparative study of Islam and religious spatialities, particularly in the Middle East and South Asia.  He holds a BA (magna cum laude) in History from the University of Southern California and an MA and PhD from the University of Chicago’s History of Religions Program.  From 2010 to 2023, he served as Director of the UCSB campus office of the UC Education Abroad Program.  He has also served as Co-Director of the UCSB Center for Middle East Studies and faculty advisor for the graduate program of the UCSB Department of Religious Studies.  His research has taken him to Egypt, where he has lived for more than five years, including two years as the Director of the UC Education Abroad Program study center at American University in Cairo, and to India, where he served as director of the UC Education Abroad Program’s study centers in Delhi and Hyderabad from 1998 to 2001.  The Comoros Islands, Israel, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Turkey, Singapore, and Thailand are other countries where he has conducted research.  Professor Campo’s book, The Other Sides of Paradise:  Explorations in the Religious Meanings of Domestic Space in Islam, won the American Academy of Religion’s Award for Excellence in 1991.  His book, The Encyclopedia of Islam (Facts on File, 2009, 2d ed. 2016), a one-volume reference work for students and the reading public, received a “Best of Reference” award from the New York Public Library in 2010. He is currently engaged in documenting, translating, and studying the East African/Indian Ocean contexts of Arabic inscriptions and painted ceilings of the Ujumbé Palace in Mutsamudu, Comoros Islands.  He is also working on a comparative project entitled Pilgrimages in Modernity—a comparative study of Muslim, Hindu, and Christian mass pilgrimages in the modern world.


  • Book:  Encyclopedia of Islam (2d edition, 2016). Written for students and the general public, this encyclopedic guide explores in some 600 A to Z articles the terms, concepts, personalities, historical events, and institutions that helped shape the history of this religion and the way it is practiced today. Includes an informative introduction that provides readers with an overview of Islam, and maps, a chronology, a detailed bibliography, an index, and approximately 80 black-and-white photographs.
  • Book: The Other Sides of Paradise: Explorations into the Religious Meanings of Domestic Space in Islam (1991). Winner of the AAR best book award in 1993, history category. A comparative study of Muslim discourses about the religious significance of the home as expressed in sacred texts and in Egyptian ethnographic contexts.
  • Editorial Work: Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions (articles on Islam and Bahai religion), 1999.


  • Authority, Ritual, and Spatial Order in Islam:  The Pilgrimage to Mecca,” Journal of Ritual Studies, 14, no. 1 (Winter 1990):  65-91.
  • Orientalist Representations of Muslim Domestic Space in Egypt,” Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review, International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments, 3 (1991): 29-42.
  • “The Ends of Islamic Fundamentalism: Hegemonic Discourse and the Islamic Question in Egypt.” Contention, 4 (1995): 167-94. A critique of the use of the concept “fundamentalism” as deployed by the Fundamentalism Project and in the works of other western and Middle Eastern authors to characterize modern Islamic ideologies, strategies, and practices.
  • “Islam in California: Views from the Minaret,” Muslim World 86 (1996): 294- 312. An analysis of self-representations of Islam as expressed in a periodical published for over ten years by a leading Islamic organization in southern California.
  • Chapter: “Food and Cuisine,” with Magda Campo.  In Cambridge Companion to Modern Arab Culture, pp. 269-92, 321-22. Edited by Dwight Reynolds (Cambridge U.P., 2014)
  • Chapter: “Visualizing the Hajj:  Image and Pilgrimage.” In Hajj: Pilgrimage in Islam, pp. 269-87, 327-29. Edited by Shawkat Toorawa and Eric Tagliacozzo (Cambridge U.P., 2014)
  • “Religious Pilgrimages in the United States,” in Encyclopedia of Religion in America, pp. 36-55. Edited by John Corrigan (Oxford U.P., 2017).  Portrays the variety of pilgrimage traditions and practices in the United States in local and global perspectives.
  • Chapter:  “Between the Prescribed and the Performed:  Muslim Ways of Death and Mortality.”  In Death and Religion in a Changing World, 2d ed., pp. 123-52.  Edited by Kathleen Garces-Foley (Routledge, 2022)
  • Chapter:  “‘This Blessed Place’:  The Talismanic Significance of House Inscriptions in Ottoman Cairo.” In Amulets and Talismans of the Middle East and North Africa in Context, pp. 126-61.  Edited by M.A.G Probert and P.M. Sijpesteijn (Brill, 2022)
  • Chapter:  “Conceptualizing Space and Place:  Genealogies of Change in the Study of Religion.”  In The Oxford Handbook of Religious Space, pp. 25-43.  Edited by Jeanne H. Kilde (Oxford, 2022)

Courses Taught:

  • RS 1: Introduction to the Study of Religion
  • RS 140A: Islamic Traditions
  • RS 140B: Religion, Society, & Politics in the Persian Gulf
  • RS 140C: Islamic Mysticism & Religious Thought
  • RS 140D: Islam in South Asia
  • RS 140F: Modern Islamic Movements
  • RS 185: Food, Religion and Culture in the Middle East
  • RS 209: Seminar on Hindus and Muslims in South Asia
  • RS 210: Guided Readings in Arabic Religious Texts
  • RS 215: Proseminar in Islamic Studies