A Human History
Reza Aslan is an internationally-renowned writer, commentator, professor, and religious scholar, whose NYT bestselling books and packed lectures have propelled him to the frontlines in the fight against white nationalism. Aslan argues that it is fear—organized and well-funded—that perpetuates bigotry and victimizes us all. Only united will we have the power to fight it.
“[Aslan’s] literary talent is as essential to the effect of Zealot as are his scholarly and journalistic chops. ...A vivid, persuasive portrait.”— Salon
Fear has been a driving force in American society for more than a century. Though the targets shift—Catholics in the 1900s, African Americans in the 1950s and 60s, the LGBT community in the 80s, and now Muslims—the DNA is the same: Americans are led to believe they’re under siege from “an enemy within” and this creates victims of bigots and targets alike. Fear can be fought, but it requires us to come together as a people: “education alone doesn’t change minds,” says Aslan in his viral TED talk, “relationships change minds; forming the relationships that help you see beyond the symbols that separate us; that ultimately, we’re all the same.”
Aslan’s books, including his #1 New York Times Bestseller Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, have been translated into dozens of languages around the world and optioned for a film. His latest book, God: A Human History—another New York Times bestseller—investigates how we have historically understood the divine by assigning it human traits and emotions. “Driven by Aslan's grace and curiosity, God helps us pan out from our troubled times,” says the Seattle Times.
“Aslan [is] known for the elegant smoothness with which he toggles between the postures of spokesperson for his own faith and detached scholar of other traditions.”— Elias Muhanna, The New Yorker
In addition to his role as a Consulting Producer on the acclaimed HBO series The Leftovers, Aslan is the host and Executive Producer of two other original television programs: Rough Draft with Reza Aslan, and the Emmy and Peapody Award-nominated Vox web series, The Secret Life of Muslims. Aslan also co-founded BoomGen Studios—the premiere entertainment brand for creative content from and about the Middle East—which has provided an array of targeted services ranging from strategic messaging to grassroots marketing to publicity and social media outreach, to producers, studios, and filmmakers, including Jon Stewart’s Rosewater, Netflix’s The Square, Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway, Discovery and TLC’s All American Muslim and National Geographic’s Amreeka.
Aslan’s degrees include a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard University, a PhD in the Sociology of Religions from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa, where he was named the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction. He’s a tenured Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California and serves on the board of trustees for the Chicago Theological Seminary and The Yale Humanist Community, which supports atheists, agnostics, and humanists at home and abroad.
“Reza’s session at the World Affairs conference last Friday was a complete success. Reza has the unique ability to challenge his audience to think differently, while also making them laugh. It was such a treat for us to host him at this year’s conference. We hope to see him again soon at World Affairs.”World Affairs Council