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Sarra Tlili

Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures


Phone: 352.392.8678

Office Location: 354 Pugh Hall

Areas of specialization: Animals in Islam, Deep Ecology, Islam and the environment, Environmental ethics, Stylistics of the Qur’an, Arabic literature, Tunisian literature

Sarra Tlili teaches Arabic literature and culture at the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. She received her Ph.D. in 2009 from the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Her primary research area is animals in Islam. Her book, Animals in the Qur’an, offers a non-anthropocentric reading of the Islamic scripture and proposes new ways of thinking about animals. In other publications, she explores environmental and animal ethics in a variety of Islamic texts and historical periods. Her other research interests include the stylistics of the Qur’an and modern Arabic, particularly Tunisian, literature.

Tlili taught Arabic language, literature, and culture in several institutions, including the Foreign Service Institute, University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Florida. Among the courses she teaches are The Qur’an as Literature, Arab Woman, Animals in Arabic Literature, humor in Arabic Literature, and Sustainability in Arabic Texts.

Selected Publications:


  • Sarra Tlili, 2012. Animals in the Qur’an. (New York: Cambridge University Press).

Articles and book chapters:

  • Sarra Tlili, 2015 (in press). “Animals Would Follow Shafiʿism. Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence Against Animals in Islamic Medieval Texts” in Violence in Islamic Thought from the Qur’an to the Mongols. Edited by Robert Gleave and Istvan Kristo-Nagy. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press).
  • Sarra Tlili, 2014. “All Animals Are Equal, or Are They? The Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ’s Animal Epistle and its Unhappy End” Journal of Qur’anic Studies 16, pp. 42-88.
  • Sarra Tlili, with Christopher Degeling, Rob Irvine, Ian Kerridge et al,  2013. “Faith-Based Perspectives on the Use of Chimeric Organisms for Medical research”. Transgenic Research. Nov 30
  • Sarra Tlili, 2012. “Innocence, Maturation, and Liberation: The Maturation Process in al-Mīdānī b. Ṣāliḥ’s Work”, Arabica, 59, pp. 552-598.
  • Sarra Tlili, 2010. “The Meaning of the Qur’anic Word ‘dābba’: ‘Animals’ or ‘Nonhuman Animals’?” Journal of Qur’anic Studies 12 (2010) 167-187.
  • “Retelling al-Maqāma al-maḍīriyya: Intertextuality between a modern short story and a classical maqāmaJournal of Arabic Literature 40 (2009) 319-334.
  • “Animals in Islamic Law and Muslim Culture” in Oxford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Science, and Technology in Islam (OEPSTI). Ibrahim Kalin, editor in chief. Vol.1, 28-33. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • ” Wives ” in Mohammed in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God. Coeli Fitzpatrick and Adam Walker, editors. Vol. 2, 690-4. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2014.
  • “Animals” in Mohammed in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God. Coeli Fitzpatrick and Adam Walker, editors. Vol. 1, 24-29.Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2014.