Azim Nanji joined the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies in 2008 at Stanford University, where he also lectures on Islam in the Department of Religious Studies. He was previously Director of the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London from 1998 to 2008, and before that was Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Florida. He also served as Head of Humanities and was Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Center for Global Studies during his tenure at Oklahoma State University. Born in Kenya, he studied at Makerere University in Uganda and completed his graduate studies at McGill University in Canada.
Professor Nanji has authored, co-authored, and edited several books, including: The Nizari Ismaili Tradition (1976), the Muslim Almanac (1996), Mapping Islamic Studies (1997) and The Historical Atlas of Islam (2004) with M. Ruthven, and The Dictionary of Islam (2008) with Razia Nanji. In addition, he has contributed numerous articles on religion, Islam, and Shiism in journals and collective volumes, including The Encyclopedia of Islam, Encyclopaedia Iranica, Oxford Encyclopaedia of the Modern Islamic World, and A Companion to Ethics. He was the Associate Editor for the revised Second Edition of The Encylopedia of Religion. He has served as a visiting Professor at Haverford College and at Stanford University, where he had also given the Baccalaureate Address in 1995. He has also lectured widely at international conferences all over the world, and in 2004 gave the annual Birks Lecture at McGill University.
Professor Nanji has served as Co-Chair of the Islam section at the American Academy of Religion and on the Editorial Board of the Academy's Journal. He has also been a member of the Philanthropy Committee of the Council on Foundation, and served on various panels for the Canada Council, the National Endowment for Humanities, and the Carnegie Corporation.