Elizabeth Urban is Associate Professor of History at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where she specializes in the first two centuries of Islamic history. She particularly seeks to understand how Islam transformed from a small and relatively egalitarian Arabian piety movement into the official doctrine of a hierarchical Near Eastern empire. Her first book, Conquered Populations in Early Islam (Edinburgh UP, 2020) analyzes how Muslims of slave origins joined the Islamic community and articulated their identities within it. The book posits that enslaved and freed persons provide a fruitful window onto early Islamic history because, as liminal figures, they sparked debates about the political, social, and religious boundaries of the expanding Islamic community.

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