Nathan Lean

Nathan Lean

Nathan Lean

Adjunct Faculty

Islam, Christianity, Muslim-Christian relations, anti-Muslim prejudice, religious studies methodology, religion and art, religion and music

Nathan Lean is an author and scholar of religion, specializing in Islam and Christianity, anti-Muslim prejudice, and religion and American culture.

He earned his PhD in Theology and Religious Studies from Georgetown University, where his dissertation focused on American jazz musicians who converted to Islam in the 1940s and 1950s.

He is the author of The Islamophobia Industry (2012) and Understanding Islam and the West (2018). He is the co-editor of The Moral Psychology of Terrorism (2013) and the co-author of Iran, Israel, and the United States (2011).

With a commitment to fostering religious literacy, he has served as a consultant for a variety of organizations aimed at growing awareness of religious diversity within the public square. He is a regular public speaker and has delivered guest lectures and talks all around the world, and in various news media settings. Previously, Nathan served as the the Director of Research at Georgetown University's Bridge Initiative.

Nathan's writings have appeared in a variety of academic publications and in popular outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Daily News, the Washington Post, the San Francisco Examiner, CNN, Salon, The New Republic, and more.

He lives in North Carolina with his wife and daughter.

Selected Publications

The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Hatred of Muslims (Pluto Press, 2012); Second edition, 2020.

Understanding Islam and the West: Critical Skills for Students (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018).

The Moral Psychology of Terrorism, co-editor (Cambridge Scholars, 2013).

Iran, Israel, and the United States, co-author (Praeger, 2011).


PhD, Theology and Religious Studies, Georgetown University (May 2023)

MA, Theology and Religious Studies, Georgetown University (May 2020)

MA, Arab Studies, Georgetown University (August 2013)

MA, International Studies, East Carolina University (December 2010)

BA, Piano Performance, East Carolina University (May 2007)

In the Media

PBSThe Great Muslim American Roadtrip, consultant, July 12, 2022

Buzzfeed, interview, April 25, 2018.

Buzzfeed, interview, September 27, 2016.

Salon, various articles. 

Rumi Forum, February 23, 2016

Christian Science Monitor, interview, January 7, 2016

The Agenda with Steve Paikin, TVO, May 27, 2015, op-ed, February 17, 2015

New Republic writings, various. 

The Atlanticquoted, October 25, 2014.

Washington Postop-ed, March 26, 2013.

Los Angeles Times, op-ed, August 26, 2012.