Dr. Nicholas Boylston studies Islamic intellectual history, Persian literature and Shi‘i Islam through the lenses of religious, intellectual and literary pluralism. He is particularly interested in the way 12th century Persian authors created texts that are discursively pluralistic - drawing on multiple sources and espousing multiple intellectual and ethical perspectives - whilst also maintaining both narrative and intellectual consistency. He also researches the role of literature as a means of negotiating multiple religious identities in late Qajar Iran, focusing on the versified commentary and translation of the Quran by the Shi'i-Sufi, Safi ‘Ali-Shah. These projects are part of a wider concern for understanding how Muslim authors have come to terms with the diversity of their own tradition and understood the religious other in differing cultural contexts. He is currently working on a book manuscript entitled The Kaleidoscope of Reality: Perspectivism and the Integration of Diversity in 12th Century Persian Metaphysical Literature, and is continuing his work on the complex relationships between Shi'ism and Sufism through history.
In the Committee on the Study of Religion he is currently teaching courses on Shi‘i Islam and Islam and Religious Diversity.