David Sander


David Sander studies world history through the history of religions.  He is interested in how “history” both shapes and is formed by religious experience, thought and expression.  This approach connects him both to specialized study in Islamic traditions and to global questions in world history.  He explores how mystical thought and methodology have been expressed and interpreted in different historical contexts, and, in turn, mainstreamed or marginalized by dominant structures in society.  His research focuses on ways in which popular culture has carried or otherwise responded to mystical thought.  He seeks and evaluates historical evidence for symbolic language that can communicate across cultural and religious divides.

Related interests include comparative views of literacy and poetics, cultural imagination of the landscape, the life and work of William Blake, the films of Andrei Tarkovsky, and the history of Blues music.  His work has been published in a number of academic journals related to the study of religion.  His latest writing has included a study of mysticism and Islamic reform in contemporary film.


  • B.A. University of Colorado
  • M.A.University of Colorado
  • Ph.D. University of Colorado

Courses Taught

  • World History I
  • World History II
  • History of the Modern Middle East (World History Seminar)
  • History of the Islamic World I
  • History of the Islamic World II
  • Shamans, Prophets and Saints: Mystics in World History
  • The Ancient Dead: Mummies and Other Ancestors