Ali Riaz

Ali Riaz
Distinguished Professor,
The Department of Politics and Government,
Illinois State University, USA.

Ali Riaz is a Distinguished Professor at the Department of Politics and Government at Illinois State University, USA. He is also a nonresident senior fellow of the Atlantic Council. He is the President of the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies.

He held the inaugural Thomas E Eimermann Professorship​ (2018-2020), was an “University Professor” at Illinois State University between 2012 and 2018. Dr. Riaz was the Department Chair between August 2007 and June 2017. In 2013 he served as a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at Washington, D.C.

Dr. Riaz has an extensive experience in journalism. He has worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Service for five years, as a Broadcast Journalist at London.

His research interests include Democratization, Violent Extremism, Political Islam, South Asian politics, and Bangladeshi politics. His has published on state-society relationship and political economy of media.

Dr. Riaz joined Illinois State University in 2002. Prior to joining Illinois State University, he has taught at Claflin University in South Carolina, and the University of Lincoln in England. He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh between 1993 and 1995, and a Lecturer between 1984 and 1987. Ali Riaz earned his PhD in Political Science from the University of Hawai’i in 1993 under the East West Center fellowship. He also has MS in Communication and MS in Political Science earned in 1989 and 1991, respectively from the University of Hawaii. He was awarded the ‘East West Center Honor’ Award in 1990. Dr. Riaz was a Research Fellow of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore in 1994. His research topic was the role of telecommunication in economic growth of Malaysia and Singapore.

He testified at the US Congress on Bangladesh in 2013 and in 2015, and at the US Commission on International Religious Freedom in 2008.

Professor Riaz has published in English and in Bengali. His publications in English include  More than Meets the Eye (UPL, 2022);  Voting in Hybrid Regime: Explaining the 2018 Bangladeshi Election (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019); ‘Lived Islam and Islamism in Banglades​h’ (Prothoma, 2017); ‘Undying Issues: Critical Debates about Contemporary Challenges’ (Pathak Samabesh, 2018), Bangladesh: A Political History since Independence​ (IB Tauris, 2016), How Did We Arrive Here (Prothoma, 2015), Islam and Identity Politics among British-Bangladeshis: A Leap of Faith (Manchester University Press, 2013), Inconvenient Truths About Bangladeshi Politics (Prothoma, 2012), (Faithful Education: Madrassahs in South Asia (Rutgers University Press, 2008); Islamist Militancy in Bangladesh: A Complex Web (Routledge, 2010); Paradise Lost? State Failure in Nepal (with Subho Basu, Lexington Books, 2007), Unfolding State: The Transformation of Bangladesh (de Sitter Publications, 2005), God Willing: The Politics of Islamism in Bangladesh (Rowman and Littlefield, 2004), State, Class and Military Rule: Political Economy of Martial Law in Bangladesh (Nadi New Press, 1993).

He has several edited and coedited volume to his credit. These include: Political Violence in South Asia (Routledge, 2019); Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Bangladesh (Routledge, 2016); Political Islam and Governance in Bangladesh (Routledge, 2010), Religion and Politics in South Asia (Routledge, , 2010; second edition 2021), and (Re)reading Taslima Nasrin: contexts, contents & constructions (Shraban Prokashoni, 2010).

Among his Bengali publications Bhoyer Sangskriti (The Culture of Fear, 2014, revised edition 2021) has drawn significant attention. He has three Bengali poetry books to his credit.

Dr. Riaz earned the College of Arts and Sciences first Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholarly Achievement 2004 and Outstanding College Researcher Award 2005. He received Pi Sigma Alpha Excellence in Teaching Award in 2006, and the Impact Award in 2020. Riaz regularly contributes to Bangladeshi and international media on South Asian politics. He appeared on CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera English, Canadian TV​, CCTV America​, LinkTV among other media. Besides, he is frequently interviewed by the BBC Bengali service and the VOA Bengali service.

Professor Riaz served as consultant to various international agencies including the UNDP. He was the editor of the bi-annual journal, Studies on Asia, between 2010 and 2015. He is currently a member of editorial board of Populism, and the Journal of Governance, Security and Development.