April 7, 2005  

Carnegie Corporation Announces 2005 Carnegie Scholars

Carnegie Scholars Program Begins Focus on Islamic Scholarship

Today, Carnegie Corporation of New York announced sixteen Carnegie Scholars, all of whom will study themes focusing on Islam and the modern world.

The goal of the Corporation's new emphasis on Islam is to encourage the development and expansion of the study of Islam within the United States and to stimulate research on which to help build a body of thoughtful and original scholarship. In past years, scholars focused on the four program areas of the Corporation. This year's scholars were selected from the largest number of nominations to date. They represent an array of U.S. universities and institutions, indicating that Islam is an area of study that has wide interest. The Corporation is concentrating the Carnegie Scholars program on Islam over the next few years to make the field more central to American research and instruction, significantly expanding the breadth of knowledge necessary to build leadership and guide national and foreign policy.

"The Corporation has decided to focus the Carnegie Scholars Program on one specific area of vital importance: Islam," says Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation. "Our overall aim is to expand the range of scholarship in order to promote knowledge and understanding about Islam as a religion and about the cultures and communities of Muslim societies both in the United States and abroad."

Carnegie Scholars receive up to $100,000 over a two-year period to pursue research. The 2005 class of scholars reflects a diversity of professional, ethnic and geographical backgrounds. Notably, half the class are young, having received a doctorate in or after 1994; one-third are women; and several have lived in Muslim societies around the world. The range of their professional fields includes Islamic studies, law, religion, history, international relations, politics, anthropology and English and comparative literature.

The sixteen Carnegie Scholars for 2005, their institutions and research titles are:

Khaled M. Abou El Fadl, University of California, Los Angeles
Reconstituting Jihad: From Making War to Constructing Peace

Asma Afsaruddin, University of Notre Dame
Striving in the Path of God: Discursive Traditions on Jihad and the Cult of Martyrdom

John R. Bowen, Washington University of St. Louis
Shaping French Islam

Brian T. Edwards, Northwestern University
After the American Century: Globalization and the Circulation of
"American Civilization" in North Africa and the Middle East

Noah R. Feldman, New York University
Constitutional Change in the Islamic World

Michael M. J. Fischer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Emergent Forms of Life, Deep Play, and Ethical Plateaus in the Social and
Technoscientific Infrastructures: Shaping Muslim Democratic Futures

Sohail H. Hashmi, Mount Holyoke College
Islamic International Law and Public International Law: Convergence or Dissonance?

Bernard Haykel, New York University
Saudi Arabia and the Global Salafi Movement

Ayesha Jalal, Tufts University
Partisans of Allah: Meaning of Jihad in South Asia

Amaney A. Jamal, Princeton University
Citizenship, Political Agency, and Democracy in the Arab World: The Mediating Effects of Islam

Adeeb Khalid, Carleton College
Understanding Soviet Islam: The Roots of Contemporary Central Asia

Ebrahim E. I. Moosa, Duke University
Inside the Madrasas: The ’Ulama Search for Authenticity

Lawrence Rosen, Princeton University
Everyday Muslim Thought and Its Encounters

Abdulaziz Sachedina, University of Virginia
Islam and Human Rights: A Clash of Universalisms

Elizabeth F. Thompson, University of Virginia
Seeking Justice in the Modern Middle East

Muhammad Qasim Zamen, Brown University
Internal Criticism and Religious Authority in Modern Islam

Carnegie Corporation launched the Carnegie Scholars Program in 1999 to support innovative and path-breaking scholarship on issues related to Corporation program areas. Candidates for the fellowships are first identified by a distinguished group of nominators, then are evaluated and selected in a competitive process by a committee of Carnegie Corporation program leaders and external advisors. This year's class joins a group of 67 Carnegie Scholars who have been selected annually since 2000.

“The selection of the Carnegie Scholars is highly competitive,” says Neil Grabois, vice president and director for strategic planning and program coordination for Carnegie Corporation. “Inasmuch as we want to encourage the study of Islam across the country, we look for intellectual risk-takers who will play a leading role in accomplishing this goal.”

“We’re particularly pleased at the number of younger scholars in this year’s class," commented Patricia L. Rosenfield, chair of the Carnegie Scholars Program. "They are well-positioned to provide leadership in promoting scholarship on Islam for years to come.”

Carnegie Corporation of New York was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote “the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding.” As a grantmaking foundation, the Corporation seeks to carry out Carnegie’s vision of philanthropy, which he said should aim “to do real and permanent good in this world.” The Corporation’s capital fund, originally donated at a value of about $135 million, had a market value of $1.9 billon on September 30, 2004. The Corporation awards grants totaling approximately $80 million a year in the areas of education, international peace and security, international development and strengthening U.S. democracy.

Details on each Scholar's project follow:

Khaled M. Abou El Fadl

Professor of Law
University of California, Los Angeles

Title: Reconstituting Jihad: From Making War to Constructing Peace

Abou El Fadl's project is the first systematic study of the theology and jurisprudence of I. He will trace the evolving debates regarding the meanings and functions of jihad from the pre-modern to the modern periods, exploring, in particular, the tension between certain meanings of jihad and the Qur'anic mandate requiring human beings not only to know each other, but also to cooperate and co-mingle. A respected expert on Islamic and Middle Eastern law, Abou El Fadl presents a normative argument for reconstructing the theology of jihad, i.e., human beings reaching out to fulfill the unrealized potential placed by God in existence, and using this reconstituted theology as an ideology of state building and as an ethic supporting the constituting of pluralist societies within a nation state. The book resulting from this project is expected to become a comprehensive reference source for students of Islam, comparative religions, international law and policymakers.

Asma Afsaruddin

Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies
University of Notre Dame

Title: Striving in the Path of God: Discursive Traditions on Jihad and the Cult of Martyrdom

Afsaruddin proposes to uncover the semantic content of the term jihad from its earliest Qur'anic reference as a spiritual struggle over the carnal self and verbal and physical resistance to injustice to its current meaning of religiously mandated combat. She will accomplish this by tracing the historical and political evolution of the term and exploring how jihad came to be inextricably associated with shahid (martyr) and shahada (martyrdom). Using primary sources, including the Qur'an, early hadith compilations and selected fada-il literature, Afsaruddin will examine the trajectory of meanings assigned to the term over time and link the narrowing of its definition to specific socio-political circumstances along the way. The research aims to offer scrupulous and significant challenges to assertions that political belligerence and militancy is divinely sanctioned. Afsaruddin's research will be published as a monograph; it will also result in a series of related articles.

John R. Bowen

Dunbar-Van Cleve Professor in Arts & Sciences
Washington University of St. Louis

Title: Shaping French Islam

Muslims living in non-majority Muslim countries are challenged to adapt their religious institutions and practices to secular laws and traditions. Bowen's project will examine how French Muslims strive to build a base for their religious lives in a society that views these practices as incompatible with national values. Focusing on Muslim public reasoning and the activities of Muslim public intellectuals in France, Bowen will analyze the arguments and justifications that French Muslims use when discussing Islamic issues, e.g., marriage, divorce and dress prohibitions. Bowen asserts that these discourses, addressing the question of how to be at once a good Muslim and a French citizen, reveal how Islam is being adapted within Western culture. Bowen's book complements earlier research of French support for laws against displaying religious signs, which was published in a book, called In Preparation: Why the French Don't Like Headscarves. His current work is expected to make an important contribution to understanding how Middle Eastern Islamic values, particularly in respect to gender equality, are transformed by secular ideology and jurisprudence, offering fresh insight into Islam's future in Europe and the West.

Brian T. Edwards

Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies
Northwestern University

Title: After the American Century: Globalization and the Circulation of "American Civilization" in North Africa and the Middle East

Edwards is involved in a firsthand examination of ideas about America in North Africa and the Middle East and the means by which they are circulated, e.g., media, cyberculture, material culture and education. Edwards, who has worked extensively in this region, focuses on four sites—Fez, Cairo, Beirut and Tehran—to investigate cultural aspects of global confrontation. Recognizing that circuits of communication have changed dramatically within the globalization of media and economies, Edwards concentrates on communications venues used by the young (the most populous age group in the area), such as cybercafes, campuses and social centers. Arguing that cultural understanding is the foundation of long-term international peace and security, Edwards' goal is to understand how and where American culture circulates and what meanings Arabs and Iranians make of American "civilization" in the supposedly de-politicized realm of culture. Results of this research will be published in a book.

Noah R. Feldman

Professor of Law
New York University

Title: Constitutional Change in the Islamic World

Feldman's project will examine recurring themes and features that appear in constitutional initiatives underway in highly diverse majority-Muslim countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Bahrain and Nigeria. The study is expected to chart the contours of constitutional change in the contemporary Islamic world by studying the complex interplay of liberal and Islamic constitutional ideas and players. It also promises to provide historical context by examining the classical Islamic tradition of constitutional thought, which Feldman asserts is pragmatic about engagement with non-Muslims and open to assimilation of outside legal norms. Careful consideration will be given to the development of Islamic constitutional ideas under the conditions of Western imperial expansion, both as a product of concessions demanded by western powers who held governments, e.g., the Ottomans, in debt as well as domestic movements instigated by foreign-educated elite from within. By showing that Islamic constitutional thought has historically encountered and synthesized foreign constitutional ideas, Feldman intends to show how contemporary processes of constitutional change may be conceived as the latest sites of ongoing engagement, rather than battles in a clash of civilizations.

Michael M.J. Fischer

Professor of Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Title: Emergent Forms of Life, Deep Play, and Ethical Plateaus in the Social and Technoscientific Infrastrctures Shaping Muslim Democratic Futures

Despite two centuries of scholarly research on the Muslim world and a half century of focused "area studies" research, little attention has been given to the contemporary technological infrastructures and technoscientific capacities that support the Muslim society. Fischer's research will involve ethnographic forays into four focal areas of the Muslim world—the Middle East and North Africa, Persian and Turkish-speaking societies, India-Pakistan and the area encompassing Indonesia, Maylasia and the Philippines—to examine scientific technologies that are reshaping the possibilities for deliberative democracy, expanded legitimacy of governance and education. Noting a lack of contemporary scholarship on technological infrastructures in the Islamic world, Fischer's examination goes beyond demographic and statistical abstractions to explore technoscientific institutions and the network of scientists and engineers who cross political divisions to maintain the technological framework and the educational system. The book resulting from Fischer's current research will be of interest to educators, policymakers and the broader public.

Sohail H. Hashmi

Associate Professor of International Relations
Mount Holyoke College

Title: Islamic International Law and Public International Law: Convergence or Dissonance?

Hashmi's research explores the current status of Islamic international law in light of the formal accession of Muslim states to public international law. Classical Islamic civilization developed a rich body of laws intended to govern the Islamic state's relations with Muslims and non-Muslims. The theory behind these laws was based on two opposing spheres: dar al-Islam, practiced in Islamic states and grounded in interpretations of Islamic texts and precedents, and dar al-harb, which included non-Muslim legal systems from states and political entities that were conjoined to the Islamic empire as it expanded. Today, these aspects are debated by those who argue that Muslim states should abide by Islamic principles, in effect, a Muslim alliance formed as a subset within the broader global community. Others, the majority, generally accept prevailing international norms in theory and practice. Hashmi proposes that Islamic values provide a normative framework that informs Muslim political culture and shapes domestic and international politics, and that Islam's fundamental moralistic principles may be invoked for the consolidation and support of positive international law rules with the goal of achieving justice and promoting humanity throughout the world. By analyzing how the universal precepts of international law correlate to Muslim concepts and values, Hashmi is expected to break new ground in understanding parallels between Islamic international law and public international law.

Bernard Haykel

Associate Professor, Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
New York University

Title: Saudi Arabia and the Global Salafi Movement

Haykel's project is a study of the Salafi (aka the Wahhabiyya) movement from the 1960s to the present. By focusing on a network of scholars and activists in Saudi Arabia and other countries where Salafis have established a strong foothold, he will trace how and why the Salafis, under Saudi Arabia's patronage, have become one of the most influential intellectual and political groups in the Islamic world. Saudi Salafis are proselytizers who preach a literalist interpretation of Islamic sources of revelation, e.g., the Qur'an, claiming the path of Salafis is a certain path of God because their teachings are the most faithful to the pure Islam of the Prophet's time. A particular focus of this project will be the examination of Salafi devotion, devoid of emotional and affective expression—in Haykel's words: "punctilious adherence to the teachings and examples of the Prophet guarantees salvation." Without knowledge of whether Salafism is monolithic or multi-factioned, with conflicting sects and ranges of opinion, it is difficult to understand how effectual its role is within the Islamic world. Because Osama bin Laden is a member of a radical fringe of the Salafi movement, Salafism/Wahhabism has been generally vilified. The book resulting from Haykel's work will make an important contribution to the very limited English-language scholarship available on Salafism.

Ayesha Jalal

Professor of History
Tufts University

Title: Partisans of Allah: Meanings of Jihad in South Asia

Jalal's project explores the ethical connotations of jihad over the course of time by examining political battles within the Muslim community as well as imperatives of conquest by secular rulers in the name of Islam. Today, jihad, which actually means "to strive for a worthy and ennobling cause," is commonly thought of as "holy war" against non-Muslims. By injecting historical dimension and restoring the analytical distinction between the temporal and sacred, Jalal places the concept of jihad within the framework of Islamic ethics from the earliest Muslim period forward. Spatial and temporal contours of the analysis focus on the Muslim presence in South Asia before, during and after the Raj. The region, home to one out of three of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world, is an excellent backdrop for studying a millennium of both intra- and extra-Muslim relationships. Jalal's scholarship aims to provide fresh insights into political and intellectual developments within Islam, and more importantly, place the notion of jihad into historical context, making a misunderstood, yet crucial concept intelligible at a time when international attention is riveted by terrorism in the name of jihad. Jalal's research and the resulting book should stand as an example of the ways in which historical scholarship can contribute to normative political theory and contemporary public policy.

Amaney A. Jamal

Assistant Professor of Politics
Princeton University

Title: Citizenship, Political Agency and Democracy in the Arab World: The Mediating Effects of Islam

To understand when political institutions are successful, it is imperative to understand when and under what conditions citizens begin to believe that formal institutions take on broader political significance. Jamal's project centers on the current debate about the compatibility of Islam and democracy. However, instead of emphasizing aspects of Islam that limit meaningful linkages to formal political institutions, Jamal focuses on the mechanisms by which Islam mediates patterns of citizenship at the individual level, e.g., the type of "political agency" Islam produces among ordinary citizens in the Arab world. Examining ways in which the multiple frames of Islam shape levels of civic and political engagement, Jamal proposes that different frames of Islam, observance, political Islam and involvement in Islamic social service organizations shape levels of civic engagement among Arab citizens according to their socioeconomic status. The goal of Jamal's research, which will culminate in a book publication, is to enhance global understanding about the Islamic influence on views held by Arab citizens about government and democratic institutions, and to broaden knowledge about which types of formal political institutions are best equipped to meet the demands of citizens within the Arab world.

Adeeb Khalid

Associate Professor of History
Carleton College

Title: Understanding Soviet Islam: The Roots of Contemporary Central Asia

Khalid, a leading expert on Central Asia, is engaged in a sustained historical study of the transformation of Islam and Islamic knowledge within Central Asia during the Soviet era. His work focuses on both the Soviet destruction of Islamic institutions in the region between 1927 and 1938 and the modern-day consequences resulting from it. Situating Central Asia at the intersection of Islamic and Soviet history, he proposes to bring disparate literatures in history, anthropology and religious studies to bear on materials from various sources, including the Russian State Archives for Sociopolitical History and the State Archives of the Russian Federation in Moscow. The strategic importance of post-Soviet Central Asia can scarcely be exaggerated. Lying astride the boundaries of the Middle East, China and Russia, the region plays a critical role in the "war on terror." Khalid's research will expand knowledge of contemporary Islam in Central Asia, a region largely unknown to experts in Islamic studies. Results of the project will be disseminated through a book and academic articles.

Ebrahim E.I. Moosa

Associate Research Professor of Religion
Duke University

Title: Inside Madrasas: The 'Ulama Search for Authenticity

Since the September 11 attacks, much has been written about the influence of the 'ulama, traditional Islamic scholars, and madrasas, the educational institutions where they preside. Most of this literature presents the 'ulama and madrasas stereotypically as a bane of contemporary Islam, an image that prevails not only in the West, but among Muslim elite as well. Moosa, who attended madrasas in India during his youth, will use his vantage point as an insider to develop a comprehensive and nuanced analysis of the 'ulama and their institutions that is at once scholarly and autobiographical. To gain a broader perspective, he will return to the madrasas in India at which he studied, then visit their equivalents elsewhere: a pesantran in Indonesia, a hawziya in Iran and other 'ulama centers in Africa. By describing the range of 'ulama institutions and practices, he expects to demonstrate that the 'ulama
retain and transmit a rich and complex intellectual tradition, imbued with moral authority, at the same time the traditions and practices they pursue are being transformed by modernity. The book resulting from Moosa's cultural translation will offer a rare view of a world hidden from public gaze and emphasize the critical need for a deeper understanding of this important Islamic tradition.

Lawrence Rosen

William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Anthropology
Princeton University

Title: Everyday Muslim Thought and Its Encounters

Rosen's distinguished career bridges his specializations in anthropology, law and Middle Eastern studies, including nearly four decades of extensive research and fieldwork in Morocco and North Africa. His project focuses on the importance of understanding the contrast between Western democratic values and systems and Islamic cultural concepts, and the critical need for Westerners to understand the significance of interpersonal relationships and obligations in the Muslim world, especially when policy decisions affecting the region are being made. Rosen's research will culminate in the publication of two books. The first, Drawn from Memory: Arab Lives Unremembered, will present the intellectual lives of four knowledgeable Moroccan men whose assumptions, experiences and actions are rooted in cultural associations built on interpersonal relationships and obligations. The second publication, Re-Presenting Islam: Western Encounters with Muslim Experience, will analyze specific Islamic issues that Westerners frequently find puzzling but are necessary to understanding the Muslim world.

Abdulaziz Sachedina

Francis Ball Professor of Religious Studies
University of Virginia

Title: Islam and Human Rights: A Clash of Universalisms

Sachedina asserts that human rights discourse in the Muslim world is faced with an internal crisis resulting from the refusal of some Muslim factions to recognize the religious validity of the secular document known as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), a keystone of the United Nations that sets minimum international standards for the protections of the rights and freedoms of the individual. While the universal claim has been opposed, both as a Western hegemonic imposition on Muslim peoples and an affront to the religiously derived claim to independent universality, Sachedina argues there is a universal character to human rights that can be globally embraced. His goal is to initiate a substantial theoretical discussion of an inclusive foundational conception of human rights that will appeal to the traditional authorities in the Muslim world, and to propose a foundational theory of human rights based on some of the pluralistic features of Islam and its culture. Sachedina's new work, which is expected to be published in book form, expands on earlier research that resulted in the publication of The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism.

Elizabeth F. Thompson

Associate Professor, Department of History
University of Virginia

Title: Seeking Justice in the Modern Middle East

Thompson argues that all Middle Eastern social movements since the beginning of the 20th century have drawn upon a common repertoire of Islamic values and text that have been shaped by transnational influences and anti-colonial revolutionary ideologies. Her aim is to wed two methodologies—cultural analysis and social science—to examine how contemporary Islamist groups are heirs to the struggles for justice waged decades earlier by common people who acted against social and political injustice. Framed around the life stories of these people, Thompson's work focuses on former Ottoman territories that became the nation-states of Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Israel and Egypt as well as Iran, and encompasses the critical roles played by America, Europe and the Soviet Union in supporting or undermining the political movements toward justice. Thompson carefully refrains from equating "democracy" with "justice" to avoid the European dichotomy of the West being "modern" and the East/Islam as "backward." Instead, she prefers to examine how particular individuals come to formulate notions of justice through feelings of grievance, misfortune or violation. This original interpretation will result in a book for students, specialists and the general public.

Muhammad Qasim Zaman

Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Brown University

Title: Internal Criticism and Religious Authority in Modern Islam

Discussions of social, political and religious "reform" in the Muslim world are seldom guided by a sophisticated understanding of how Muslim scholars and activists have themselves argued about reform. Zaman proposes to examine particular conceptions of the Islamic tradition that are at stake in these arguments and how religious authority is challenged and reconfigured through them. He'll do this by focusing on modes of internal criticism among the 'ulama, traditionally educated religious Islamic scholars, of the Middle East and South Asia from the late 19th century to the present and by comparing the 'ulama's reactions to external critics, particularly the modernists and Islamists, but also from the non-Islamic world. Zaman's study aims to provide a deeper understanding of key debates among Muslims on reform and religious authority and a context for understanding issues relating to religious and political change for the global community. The book resulting from this research succeeds an earlier study and publication by Zaman called 'Ulama in Contemporary Islam, which focuses on modern Islamic religious scholars.