Joel Walker

Associate Professor
Joel Walker


History; Late Antiquity, pre-Islamic Near East; Syriac Christianity; Jerusalem.

Joel Walker is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Washington, Seattle. As a historian of late antiquity, he is interested in the diverse cultures of western Eurasia from prehistory to the early Islamic caliphate.  The rubric of late antiquity has allowed him to integrate some of his most abiding interests: the history and archaeology of the Classical world; early Christianity; and religion and society in the pre-Islamic and early Islamic Middle East.  At the undergraduate level, he offers lecture courses on the Ancient World (“Cavemen to Constantine”), the World of Late Antiquity, and the Byzantine Empire, as well as seminars on Jerusalem, the Empires of Ancient Iran, and animal-human relations in world history (“the cow course”).  His graduate seminars have explored these same general areas.  In addition to his position in the History Department since 1997, Professor Walker has been an active member of the University of Washington’s Comparative Religion Program and its Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization.  Between 2012 and 2015, he served as the director of the University of Washington’s Program in Persian and Iranian Studies. His scholarship centers on the religious and cultural communities of the premodern Middle East, especially the Christian community known as the Church of the East or the “Nestorians.”


  • Princeton University, Ph.D., 1998