Omar H. Ali is a historian and ethnographer of the African Diaspora who specializes in independent black politics and third party movements, Islam in the Indian Ocean World, abolitionism in the Americas, and Black Populism in the New South.
A graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science, Professor Ali studied social anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies before receiving his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University. He is the author of two books, In the Lion's Mouth: Black Populism in the New South, 1886-1900 (University Press of Mississippi, 2010) and In the Balance of Power (Ohio University Press, 2008), named "a landmark work" by the National Political Science Review.
Professor Ali has served as an editor for Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, and has published over half a dozen scholarly chapters, articles, and essays, including "Islam, Trade, and Empire," in Africa and the Wider World (Boston: Pearson, 2010), and "Lenora Branch Fulani: Challenging the Rules of the Game," in African Americans and the Presidency: The Road to the White House (New York: Routledge, 2010).
Of East Indian and South American descent, Professor Ali has been a Fulbright professor of history and anthropology at Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, a visiting professor in the Program in African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University, and a Library Scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University.
He currently serves on both the College Board's History Academic Advisory Committee and the Teaching Prize Committee of the World History Association. He has also been a CNN contributor, offering analysis on the growing movement of independent voters in the United States and has appeared on PBS, Al Jazeera, Telemundo, and a number of local television and radio stations to offer historical commentary.
Professor Ali's next book-length project is entitled Bilal's Song: A History of Muslim Africans in the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Worlds.
- Independent black politics and third party movements in the United States
- Islam and the African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World
- Black Populism in the New South
- Slave Resistance, Maroon Societies, and Abolitionism in the Atlantic World