AIA Lecturer/Host: Ronald A. Messier
Professor Emeritus of History at Middle Tennessee State University
Archaeological Institute of America lecturer and host Ronald A. Messier’s teaching and research focus on Islam and the history and archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa. He is Professor Emeritus of History at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), where he taught from 1972 to 2004. From 1992 to 2004, he was adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University, and full time Senior Lecturer from 2004 to 2008. Professor Messier received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan, and is the current president of the Southeast Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Seminar (SERMEISS). He has published over two dozen articles, and co-edited a book entitled Jihad and its Times. In 2010, he published two books: The Almoravids and the Meanings of Jihad and Jesus: One Man, Two Faiths: A dialogue between Christians and Muslims. Professor Messier has won several teaching awards, including the CASE Tennessee Professor of the Year Award for 1993.
From 1987 to 1998, he directed the excavation of the ancient city of Sijilmasa in Morocco, famous for its gold trade and its contacts with Timbuktu. In recognition of that work, Professor Messier received MTSU's prestigious Outstanding Research Award in 1997. He is currently directing an archaeology project at Aghmat, near Marrakech, Morocco. Since 1992, he has been a lecturer on more than twenty study tours including nine tours to Morocco, three to Spain, and others to Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Oman, Israel, and Mali. Since 2010 he has lectured for the AIA on two previous voyages along the coasts of Spain and Morocco.