Manuela Ceballos was born and raised in Medellín, Colombia. In the 2014-2015 academic year, she joined the faculty in the department of Religious Studies as an Islamic Studies specialist. Manuela comes to the University of Tennessee from Emory University's Graduate Division of Religion via the American Southwest, where she has spent the last few years while writing her dissertation. She has also lived abroad in Morocco and France. During the Fall of 2014, Manuela has been teaching a course entitled "Classical Islam" and a seminar on Sufism (Islamic mysticism). In the Spring semester, she will teach a class on Jewish-Muslim-Christian interactions in Medieval and Early Modern Iberia, and another course on modern Islam.
Manuela's research brings together literary sources in Arabic and Spanish from the Early Modern period that deal with Muslim-Christian encounters in the shifting geographical and communal boundaries that eventually led to the contemporary notions of nationhood and nationality in the Morocco and Spain. Her current project, 'The Favor of Good Companions:' Violence and the Formation of Religious Communities in Early Modern Iberia and North Africa, focuses on the role of violence in the formation of religious and political communities as represented in Islamic and Christian mystical texts from the Western Mediterranean. She is also engaged in further research on Islamic notions asylum and hospitality in the context of the mass forced migration that resulted from the so-called Reconquista in the Iberian Peninsula. Her article on the writings of the fifteenth-century Sufi reformer and fighter Muhammad ibn Yaggabsh al-Tāzī is forthcoming in the Journal of Religion and Violence. She plans to return to North Africa to continue her research. In December, she will be presenting her work in Alexandria, Egypt.
Manuela is happy to be back in the Southeast and to live close to the mountains. In her free time, she practices Arabic calligraphy and enjoys the company of her family and friends, as well as that of her two very patient cats and lively border-collie mix.