Dr. Aaron Y. Zelin’s experiences researching and working in the academic and policy world provides him with a unique ability to bridge the gap between academically rigorous research and providing a practical way of understanding complex and nuanced issues as it relates to the Middle East and North Africa.

Currently, he is the Richard Borrow Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a Visiting Research Scholar at Brandeis University. Zelin is the author of the forthcoming book Your Sons Are At Your Service: Tunisia’s Missionaries of Jihad (Columbia University Press). He is also the founder of the widely acclaimed and cited website Jihadology and its podcast, JihadPod.

Zelin’s research focuses on Sunni Arab jihadi groups in North Africa and Syria as well as the trend of foreign fighting, online jihadism, and jihadi governance. He is the author of a number of influential studies:

Zelin received his PhD in War Studies from King’s College London in December 2017. There, he wrote his dissertation on the history of the Tunisian jihadi movement, which was nominated for the King’s College London Graduate School Prize for Outstanding PhD Thesis. As part of the PhD program, he was the Sami David Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence from 2013-2015. In 2014, he was also a Gingko Library Scholar.

Previously, Zelin was a research associate for Dr. Jytte Klausen’s Western Jihadism Project at Brandeis University. He received his M.A. in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Brandeis University in May 2010. His master’s thesis was on the intellectual origins of al-Qaeda’s ideology. In the three summers of 2009-2011 he studied Arabic in Egypt at the American University in Cairo, in Morocco at the Arabic Language Institute in Fez, and at Middlebury College’s Sunderland Language Center. Zelin also received his B.A. in Political Science and Near Eastern Languages and Culture at Indiana University-Bloomington in May 2008. He was a member of the Political Science honors society Pi Sigma Alpha.


E-mail: azelin [at] jihadology [dot] net

Twitter: http://twitter.com/azelin