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Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow in Sociology, Columbia University

Musa al-Gharbi is a Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow in Sociology at Columbia University. Broadly, his research explores how people think about, talk about, and produce knowledge about social phenomena including race, inequality, social movements, extremism, policing, national security, foreign policy and domestic U.S. political contests.

Al-Gharbi’s research has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, New Republic, The Nation, and many other outlets across the political spectrum. He is regularly called upon by the media to contextualize current events, including spots with NPR, Wall Street Journal, CNN, USA Today, Voice of America and beyond.

His first book, 'We Have Never Been Woke: Social Justice Discourse, Inequality and the Rise of a New Elite' is forthcoming with Princeton University Press.


  • 2021–present
    Senior Fellow, Criminal Justice, Niskanen Center
  • 2016–present
    Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow in Sociology, Columbia University
  • 2021–present
    Visiting Fellow, SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins
  • 2016–present
    Managing Editor, Heterodox Academy
  • 2012–2016
    Managing Editor, Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle East Conflicts (SISMEC)
  • 2014–2015
    Adjunct Instructor, Government & Public Service, University of Arizona (South)
  • 2011–2013
    Teaching Assistant, Philosophy, University of Arizona


  • 2022 
    Columbia University, PhD / Sociology
  • 2020 
    Columbia University, M.Phil/ Sociology
  • 2017 
    Columbia University, MA/ Sociology
  • 2013 
    University of Arizona, MA/ Philosophy
  • 2012 
    University of Arizona, BA/ Philosophy
  • 2012 
    University of Arizona, BA/ Near Eastern Studies
  • 2009 
    Cochise College, AA/ Philosophy


  • 2023
    We Have Never Been Woke: Social Justice Discourse, Inequality and the Rise of a New Elite, Princeton University Press
  • 2021
    People of the Book: Empire and Social Science in the Islamic Commonwealth Period, Socius
  • 2021
    Prevalence of Prejudice-Denoting Words in News Media Discourse: A Chronological Analysis, Social Science Computer Review
  • 2021
    Using Word Embeddings to Probe Sentiment Associations of Politically-Loaded Terms in News and Opinion Articles from News Outlets, Journal of Computational Social Science
  • 2020
    Do You Know Your Enemy? The Role of Known Actors as Framing Devices in News Media, International Journal of Communication
  • 2019
    Resistance as Sacrifice: Towards an Ascetic Antiracism, Sociological Forum
  • 2018
    Discourses on Countering Violent Extremism: The Strategic Interplay Between Fear and Security After 9/11, Critical Studies on Terrorism
  • 2018
    Race and the Race for the White House: On Social Research in the Age of Trump, The American Sociologist
  • 2016
    From Political Liberalism to Para-Liberalism: Epistemological Pluralism, Cognitive Liberalism & Authentic Choice, Comparative Philosophy
  • 2013
    Syria Contextualized: The Numbers Game, Middle East Policy

Professional Memberships

  • American Sociological Association (ASA)
  • Middle East Studies Association (MESA)
  • National Communication Association (NCA)
  • Scholars Strategy Network (SSN)