Middle East Studies
Christopher Anzalone


  • Ph.D. Islamic, Middle Eastern, & African Studies, 2019, McGill University
  • M.A. Near Eastern Studies, 2010, Indiana University - Bloomington
  • B.A. History and Religious Studies, 2006, George Mason University


Dr. Christopher Anzalone is Research Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies (MES) at the Krulak Center and an Adjunct Professor at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government and Department of History and Art History.  Previously he was a Research Fellow with the International Security Program at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a Postdoctoral Scholar at George Mason University’s Center for Global Islamic Studies.  Dr. Anzalone has a Ph.D. in Islamic, Middle Eastern, and African studies from McGill University, an M.A. in Near Eastern studies from Indiana University-Bloomington, and a B.A. in history and religious studies from George Mason University.  He has taught courses and published articles and book chapters on Middle Eastern and African history and politics, Islamic history and Islamic political thought, revolutionary thought in Islam, Shi’ite Islam and Islamist movements, the media operations and strategic communications of non-state armed groups, Somalia and East Africa, the Levant, Iraq, and Iran, and the history and contestation of the concepts of “jihad” and “martyrdom” in the Islamic world.  At MCU, Dr. Anzalone is also the Editor of MES Insights, the bi-monthly publication of MES (

Selected Publications

  • Islamizing Rebel Governance: Jihadi Insurgencies and Symbolic Power (current book project)
  • Framing Insurgency and the Rebel Proto-State: Al-Shabaab’s Media and Information Operations,” The Journal of the Middle East and Africa (2021).
  • In the Shadow of the Islamic State: Shiʿi Responses to Sunni Jihadist Narratives in a Turbulent Middle East,” in Jihadism Transformed: Al-Qaeda and Islamic State’s Global Battle of Ideas, edited by Simon Staffell and Akil Awan (Oxford University Press, 2016).
  • From Dirʿiyya to Riyadh: The History and Global Impact of Saudi Religious Propagation and Education,” in Wahhabism and the World: Understanding Saudi Arabia’s Global Influence on Islam, edited by Peter Mandaville (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2022).
  • Women and Jihadism: Between the Battlefield and the Home-front,” Agenda (2017), pp. 1-7.
  • Addressing the Enemy: Al-Shabaab’s PSYOPS Media Warfare,” CTC Sentinel (March 2020).
  • The Saga of Mukhtar Robow and Somalia’s Fractious Politics,” War on the Rocks (January 30, 2019).
  • Refighting the Past in the Present: Modern Conflicts and the Mobilizing and Contesting of Sacred History,” The Maydan (November 17, 2016).
  • Continuity and Change: The Evolution and Resilience of Al-Shabab’s Media Insurgency, 2006-2016, Hate Speech International (November 2016).
  • Zaynab’s Guardians: The Emergence of Shi’a Militias in Syria,” CTC Sentinel, vol. 6, issue 7 (July 2013).
  • Al-Shabab in Somalia: The Resilience of al-Qaeda’s East African Affiliate,” in How Al-Qaeda Survived Drones, Uprisings, and the Islamic State: The Nature of the Current Threat, edited by Aaron Y. Zelin (The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2017).
  • Canadian Foreign Fighters in Iraq and Syria,” CTC Sentinel, vol. 8, no. 4 (April 2015).
  • The Rise and Decline of al-Shabab in Somalia,” Turkish Review, vol. 4, no. 4 (2014).
  • The Multiple Faces of Jabhat al-Nusra/Jabhat Fath al-Sham in Syria’s Civil War,” Insight Turkey, vol. 18, no. 2 (2016).
  • Grand Ayatollah Husayn ‘Ali Muntaziri,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Law, edited by Jonathan A. C. Brown (Oxford University Press).
  • “Propaganda,” in The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, edited by Gerhard Bowering, Patricia Crone, Wadad Kadi, Devin J. Stewart, Muhammad Qasim Zaman, and Mahan Mirza (Princeton University Press, 2012).
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