Keynote Speakers
Conference Biography PDF

John R. Bowen is the Dunbar-Van Cleve Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. His books include Blaming Islam (MIT Press 2012), Can Islam Be French? Pluralism and Pragmatism in a Secularist State (Princeton UP 2009), Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves (Princeton UP 2007), and Islam, Law and Equality in Indonesia (Cambridge UP 2003).  Dr. Bowen’s current research focuses on comparative social studies of Islam across the world. His own ethnographic studies take place in Indonesia, France, and England, but he works with students and colleagues with field sites across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Dr. Bowen’s work analyses how Muslims (judges and scholars, public figures, ordinary people) work across plural sources of norms and values, including diverse interpretations of the Islamic tradition, law codes and decisions, and local social norms.

Dr. Peter Mandaville is Director of the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies and Associate at George Mason University. He is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution. From 2011-12 he served in government as a member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State. Previous affiliations include the Pew Research Center, the Center for Strategic & International Studies, and the University of Kent at Canterbury. He has testified before congress on political Islam and consulted widely on contemporary Muslim world affairs for the government, nonprofits, and media. He is the author of Global Political Islam (Routledge, 2007) and Reimagining the Umma: Transnational Muslim Politics (Routledge, 2001) as well as the co-editor of several volumes of essays–most recently Politics From Afar: Transnational Diasporas & Networks (Columbia University Press, 2012). His research has been supported by the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Pew Research.  His interests include the political economy of Islamic activism, the role of emerging powers in the developing world, and post-Western international relations.

Paper Presenters, Panel Chairs, and Respondents: A-K

Conference Biography PDF

Zaid Adhami

Zaid Adhami is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Religion at Duke University, with a concentration in Religion & Modernity and Islamic Studies. His research focuses on the complex and fluid epistemological negotiations within American Muslim religious discourses, and the role of such discursive negotiation in the formation of ethical subjectivities among American Muslim communities. In particular, his work currently focuses on such questions in the context of African American Muslim history and experience. He has published a report with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding titled “Los Angeles Mosques Institutionalize Charity and Service” (2010), and is an ISPU research fellow on Islam in America. Zaid received an MA in Sociology and a BA in Philosophy & Religious Studies from Stanford University.

Vida Bajc

Vida Bajc is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Her research is focused on Christians in Jerusalem; pilgrimage and holy cities; surveillance, security and privacy in collective public life; and global public events. Her book manuscript, Christian Pilgrimage in Jerusalem: Performing Social Realities, under advance contract with the University of Chicago Press, is based on years of on-going ethnographic fieldwork in Jerusalem. She has also started a new research project on conflict and boundaries among Christians in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Her first book, Security and Everyday Life (2011, co-edited with Willem de Lint) was published by Routledge. She is currently completing Surveillance and Security in the Olympic Games, forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan. She is editor of three journal special issues: “Watching Out: Surveillance, Security, and Mobility” for the American Behavioral Scientist (2007, with John Torpey); “(Dis)Placing the Center: Pilgrimage in a Mobile World” for Mobilities (2007, with Simon Coleman and John Eade); and “Collective Memory and Tourism” for Journeys: The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing (2006).

Mettursun Beydulla

Mettursun Beydulla was born in Xinjiang, China, went to Uyghur schools, studied intensive Chinese and graduated from university preparation courses at the Central Nationalities University in Beijing. He received a BA in History from Shaanxi Normal University in Xi’an and an MA in History and a PhD in Social Anthropology from Ankara University, Turkey. He researched and taught Uyghur at the American University in Cairo in 2006. He came to Harvard in 2007 as a visiting scholar and, since September 2008, has been conducting research and teaching Uyghur language, literature, and culture at Harvard and MIT. His interests include the following:  national identity, social and identity change among the Uyghurs; Chinese socio-cultural practices in Xinjiang; Uyghur Diasporas; relations between Xinjiang and Central Asia; the social, linguistic, cultural, religious, political, institutional history of the Uyghurs and Xinjiang; and pan-Turkic culture. He is author of “Rural Economy, Environmental Degradation and Economic Disparity: A Case Study in Deryabuyi, Xinjiang, China,” Central Asian Survey (forthcoming 2012); “Uyghur Religious and Secular Education and its Interaction with Islam” (1878-2011) in The Turks and Islam (forthcoming, Indiana University Press); “Islam and Identity among Uyghurs,” Sociology of Islam and Muslim Society 6 (2011);  “The Uyghur Village of Deryabuyi in the Center of the Takla Makan Desert: Uyghur Tradition, Culture and Identity” (Ankara, Turkey: SFN, 2005); “Cultural Change in Deryabuyi,” Folklore and Literature (in Turkish, 2006); “The Influence of Uyghur Culture on the Turkic People,” Kökbulaq 3 (in Uyghur, 2005).

Michaelle Browers

Michaelle Browers is associate professor of political science and director of the Middle East and South Asia Studies program at Wake Forest University.  She is author of Democracy and Civil Society in Arab Political Thought: Transcultural Possibilities (Syracuse University Press, 2006) and Political Ideology in the Arab World: Accommodation and Transformation (Cambridge University Press, 2009) and has edited (with Charles Kurzman) a book, entitled An Islamic Reformation? (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003).  Her articles have appeared in International Journal of Middle East Studies, Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, Journal of Political Ideologies, Critical Review of Social and Political Philosophy, Theory and Event, and Third World Quarterly.  In 2010-11 she received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in support of her work on “Arab Shi‘i Political Thought after 1958: A Generation’s Politicization.”

Tristan Brown

Tristan Brown is a doctoral student in the History Department of Columbia University focusing on Chinese History. He received his BA from Harvard in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and East Asian Languages and Civilizations and his MA from Columbia University in History. His research interests include the history of Islam in China, merchant networks in Chinese history, the social history of Chinese borderlands, as well as commerce, prices, and contracts in late imperial China. His current research focuses on Muslim trading networks in Chinese borderlands in the late imperial period. His publications have appeared in the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Journal of Chinese Studies and Tsinghua University’s Journal of Chinese Studies

Ahmad Najib Burhani

Ahmad Najib Burhani is PhD Candidate in Religious Studies at the University of California- Santa Barbara. Among his publications are “Lakum dīnukum wa-liya dīni: The Muhammadiyah’s stance towards interfaith relations,” in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 22:3 ( 2011), Muhammadiyah Jawa (2010), “Revealing the Neglected Missions: Some Comments on the Javanese Elements of Muhammadiyah Reformism,” in Studia Islamika (2005), Urban sufism (2001), Dynamic Islam (2001), “Defining Indonesian Islam: An Examination of the Construction of National Islamic Identity of Traditionalist and Modernist Muslims” in Is Indonesian Islam Different? Islam in Indonesia in a Comparative International Perspective (Amsterdam University Press, forthcoming), and “Liberal and Conservative Discourses in the Muhammadiyah: The Struggle for the Face of Reformist Islam in Indonesia” in The “Conservative Turn” in Indonesian Islam (ISEAS, forthcoming).

Dr. Michelle Byng

Dr. Michelle Byng is an associate professor of sociology at Temple University.  Dr. Byng’s current research focuses on identity construction among immigrant and second generation Muslim Americans.  She is preparing a book manuscript titled: Muslim Americans and Identity Negotiations: Caught in the Crosshairs of Terrorism, Policies, and the Media. Her articles have appeared in Critical Sociology, American Behavioral Scientist, the Journal of Ecological and Social Boundaries, Social Problems, Sociological Inquiry, Race and Society, and Sociological Forum. She has presented her research at national and regional professional conferences.

Sherri Lawson Clark

Sherri Lawson Clark is a Teacher-Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow at Wake Forest University, where she teaches in the American Ethnic Studies Program and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.  Dr. Clark received her B.S. with Honors from Pennsylvania State University, her M.A. in applied anthropology from American University, and her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from American University. Her dissertation is titled, “Policies, Perceptions, and Place: An Ethnography of the Complexities of Implementing a Federal Housing Program.” Sherri has extensive research experience in ethnographic study and grant writing, and her publications include “Where the Poor Live: How Federal Housing Policy Shapes Residential Communities” (2002), “Separate and Unequal: Housing Policy in Action on the Periphery of Our Nation’s Capital” (2006), and policy reports.

Elvire Corboz

Elvire Corboz is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. She obtained a D.Phil in Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford in 2010. Her dissertation, entitled “Negotiating loyalty across the Shi‘i world: the transnational authority of the al-Hakim and al-Khu’i families”, earned her (jointly) the 2011 BRISMES Leigh Douglas Memorial Prize for the best dissertation on a Middle Eastern topic in the Social Sciences or Humanities. She contributed chapters in Lloyd Ridgeon (ed.), Shi‘i Islam and Identity: Religion, Politics and Change in the Global Muslim Community (London: I.B Tauris, 2012, forthcoming) and Ricardo Bocco, Hamit Bozarslan, Peter Sluglett, and Jordi Tejel (eds), Writing the History of Iraq: Historiographical and Political Challenges (London: World Scientific and Imperial College Press, 2012, forthcoming). Her new research project examines Iran-sponsored religious and transnationalism among Muslim communities in the West. At Princeton, she also teaches on Shi’ism and politics.

Neil DeVotta

Neil DeVotta is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Wake Forest University.  His research interests include South Asian security and politics, ethnicity and nationalism, ethnic conflict resolution, and democratic transition and consolidation.  He is the author of Blowback: Linguistic Nationalism, Institutional Decay, and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004).  In addition to coauthoring and editing books on Sri Lanka and India, respectively, his publications have appeared in Nations and Nationalism, Journal of Democracy, Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, Pacific Affairs, Asian Survey, Civil Wars, Journal of International Affairs, and Contemporary South Asia.  His current research examines the links between nationalist ideologies and communal violence in South Asia.

Dereje Feyissa

Dereje Feyissa obtained his Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the Martin Luther University, Germany in 2003. He has been a post-doctoral fellow at Osaka University in Japan (2003-2005) and at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany (2005-2008). Currently Dereje is a recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced researchers based at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. He has published on a wide variety of topics – from ethnicity, social inequality, borders, the political economy of development to Islam in contemporary Ethiopia. His latest publications include: “Ethiopian Muslims Struggling For Recognition in Contemporary Ethiopia,” in Terje Ostebo and Patrick Desplat, Muslim Ethiopia (Palgrave, forthcoming); “Aid Negotiation: The Fragile Partnership between the EPRDF and the Donors,” Journal of Eastern African Studies 5:4 (2012); “The Transnational Politics of the Ethiopian Muslim Diaspora,” Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies (2011), Playing Different Games: The Paradox of Anywaa and Nuer Identification Strategies in the Gambella Region, Ethiopia (Berghahn Books, 2011);  “The Political Economy of Salt Mining in the Afar Region, Ethiopia,” Journal of African Political Economy 38:127 (March 2011); State Borders and Borderlands as Resources in the Horn of Africa, coedited with Markus Hohene (2010); “Setting a Social Reform Agenda: The Peacebuilding Dimension of the Rights Movement of the Ethiopian Muslims Diaspora,” Diaspeace (Working Paper 9, 2011); and “The Cultural Construction of State Borders: The View from Gambella,” Journal of East African Studies 4:2 (2010).

Chiara Formichi

Chiara Formichi is Assistant Professor of Asian and International Studies at City University of Hong Kong. She has a PhD in History of Southeast Asia (SOAS, London), and her background is in Arabic language and Islamic Studies (BA Hons., University of Rome “La Sapienza”), and Southeast Asian Studies (MA, SOAS). Her monograph, titled Islam and the making of the nation: Kartosuwiryo and Political Islam in 20th century Indonesia, will be published in 2012 by KITLV and University of Hawai’i Press. Current research has focused on the transfer and impact of Mustafa Kemal’s secularization reforms to Indonesia, as well as on ‘Alid piety and Shi‘ism in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Her co-edited volume Shi’ism and Beyond: Alid Piety in Muslim Southeast Asia (Formichi and Feener, eds) is to be published in 2012 by I.B. Tauris. Her research interests are modern Islamic political thought, contemporary expressions of Islam, and transnational connections between Muslim Southeast Asia and the greater Middle Eastern region. Chiara teaches undergraduate and postgraduate modules on Religion and Society in Asia, History of Asia, Transnational Islam, and State and Society in the Middle East.

Dr. Allen Fromherz

Dr. Allen Fromherz is an Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean History at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He has written three books: The Almohads: The Rise of an Islamic Empire (IB Tauris); Ibn Khaldun, Life and Times (Edinburgh University Press) and Qatar, a Modern History (Georgetown University Press). He received a Gerda Henkel research fellowship from 2011-2012 to examine the role of nationalism and history in the Middle East.

Annalise Glauz-Todrank

Annalise Glauz-Todrank joined the Department of Religion at Wake Forest University in 2012 as assistant professor. Dr. Glauz-Todrank received her B.A. in Religion and Human Rights from Hampshire College before going on to obtain both her M.A. and Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her scholarship focuses on the relationships between Jewish identities and categories of religion and race, particularly as they intersect with legal and civil rights issues. She is currently working on a manuscript that is tentatively entitled Jewish Identity between ‘Religion’ and ‘Race’ in Shaare Tefila Congregation v. Cobb.  

Dr. Konstantinos Gogos

Dr. Konstantinos Gogos is Lecturer in Turkish Studies at the Department of Turkish and Modern Asian Studies, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. He joined the Department in 2006 and teaches courses on Turkish politics, state and society in Turkey, ideology and politics in the late Ottoman Empire, Turkish Diaspora and Islam in Europe, Turkish language and culture. In the academic year 2010-11 he was a visiting Assistant Professor in the M.A. program in Middle East and Islamic Studies at the American University of Paris, France. His research interests include: Islam and Islamic organizations in Europe, the Islamic movement in Turkey and the Middle East, contemporary Islamic political thought, ideology and politics in Turkey, geopolitics of the Middle East. His current research focuses on the role and the writings of contemporary Turkish Muslim public intellectuals. Konstantinos Gogos is the author of Turkish Political Islam and Islamist Networks in Germany: A Geopolitical Analysis (Athens: Livanis Publications, 2011, in Greek). He speaks English, German, Turkish, French, Greek.

Sandya Hewamanne

Sandya Hewamanne is an assistant professor of Anthropology at Wake Forest University. She received her BA in Sociology from University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, and her MA and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include globalization, identity, cultural politics and feminist and post-colonial theory. She has previously taught at University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Hartwick College, New York and at Drake University.  She is author of Stitching Identities in a Free Trade Zone: Gender and Politics in Sri Lanka (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008). 

Russell Hopley

Russell Hopley is a lecturer in Arabic studies at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.  His research interests focus on Islam in the western Mediterranean during the 12th and 13th centuries.  He has published articles on the plague in medieval North Africa and Islamic Spain, the practice of hostage-taking and ransoming in medieval Iberia, and most recently, trade and commerce in the western Mediterranean during the Almoravid and Almohad periods.  He is currently preparing a study of the Arabic poetry of Islamic Sicily.

Rola el-Husseini

Rola el-Husseini holds a Ph. D. (2003) from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, in Paris, France, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Politics at Texas A&M University.  Prior to joining the Texas A&M University faculty, she was a postdoctoral associate at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies and a lecturer in the sociology department at Yale University.  Her work has appeared in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, The Middle East Journal and Third World Quarterly.  Her first book titled Pax Syriana: Elite Politics in Postwar Lebanon is forthcoming in fall 2012 with Syracuse University Press. She is now working on a second book manuscript on the impact of Iran on Arab Shi`i political thought.

Simeon Ilesanmi

Simeon Ilesanmi received his PhD from Southern Methodist University and his JD from Wake Forest University School of Law. He teaches courses in comparative ethics, international human rights, religion and law, ethics of war and peace, and African religions. He is the author of Religious Pluralism and the Nigerian State (Ohio University Press, 1997) and numerous articles and book chapters on African religion, ethics, war and politics. He is an Associate Editor of Journal of Religious Ethics and serves on the editorial boards of several other learned journals. His current and ongoing research interests focus on human rights, ethics of war, and religion, law and politics in Africa.

Raimonda Iškauskaitė

Raimonda Iškauskaitė obtained her BA in History from Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania, and MA in War and Peace Studies program (with English as a language of instruction) from Institute of the International Relations and Political Science of Vilnius University, Lithuania. Her research interests include Islamic revivalism, ethnic and religious factors in politics and conflicts, and conflict resolution. She has published an article, entitled “The Complexity of the Concept of Islamic Revivalism and Revivalists’ Understanding of a Proper Model of State,” in the major Lithuanian political science journal Politologija; chapters on “Kidnapping Business and Penalties for Kidnapping as a Part of Niger Delta Conflict” and “Role of the Media in Nigerian Propaganda Machine during Biafra War,” forthcoming fall 2012 in Securing Africa: Local Crises and Foreign Intervention, ed. Toyin Falola and Charles Thomas (Routledge); and a book, entitled Lithuanian Nigeria: Between Facts and Personal Experience (2010), based on her experiences while volunteering in Nigeria in 2007-2008 and containing a prologue written by professor Egdunas Racius, head of the department of regional studies at Vytautas Magnus University. She currently works at the International Relations and Political Science of Vilnius University and is engaged in activities of an NGO related to third countries citizens in Lithuania.

Hank Kennedy

Hank Kennedy is Professor of Political Science at Wake Forest University.  He has written about South Asian political and governmental systems since 1975 and has conducted extensive field research in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India.  He served as the Director of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies from 1988-2001; and was the institute’s Secretary from 1982-1988.  He has written or edited numerous books and other scholarly publications, which deal with South Asia.  His most recent include: Government and Politics in South Asia (Westview Press, 2009), Pakistan: 2005 (Oxford University Press, 2006), and Pakistan at the Millennium (Oxford University Press, 2003).

Eugenia Kermeli

Eugenia Kermeli is Lecturer in the Department of History, Bilkent University, Turkey.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of Manchester in 1997 in the Department of Middle  Eastern Studies. Dr. Kermeli’s primary fields of research are the transition from late Byzantine to early Ottoman institutions and the position of zimmis in the Ottoman Empire. In addition, she is interested in Ottoman Law and the participation of zimmis in the kadi courts. She is currently completing a book on The Confiscation of Monastic Properties by Selim   II, 1568-1570 and is working on a monograph on the land system introduced in Crete by the Ottomans after 1669.

Dr. Akram Khater

Dr. Akram Khater is Professor of History at North Carolina State University, Director of Middle East Studies Program and Director of the Khayrallah Program for Lebanese-American Studies. A native of Lebanon, he earned a B.S. degree in Electronics Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, and holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and University of California, Berkeley, respectively. His books include Inventing Home: Emigration, Gender and the Making of a Lebanese Middle Class, 1861-1921, and A History of the Middle East: A Sourcebook for the History of the Middle East and North Africa, and Embracing the Divine: Passion and Politics in the Christian Middle East. He has published a substantial number of articles and reviews, and has made conference presentations throughout the United States and internationally. He has delivered over 300 talks in the past 10 years on topics relating to the Middle East and recently he has been speaking widely about the Arab Spring. Professor Khater has been awarded a number of teaching accolades (Outstanding Teacher, Outstanding Junior Faculty, Outstanding Extension Faculty, and Alumni Distinguished University Professor) and grants during his tenure at N.C. State, and has also obtained fellowships from the National Humanities Center, American Philosophical Society, National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright Foundation, Council of American Overseas Research Centers. His professional affiliations include the Middle East Studies Association, American Academy of Religion, and the American Historical Association. He also sits on the editorial boards of several journals, including the International Journal of Middle East Studies, and book series on immigration studies.

Paper Presenters, Panel Chairs, and Respondents: L-Z

Conference Biography PDF

Bruce Lawrence

Bruce Lawrence is a critical comparativist specializing in heroes and movements that define Islamic spirituality from West Africa to Southeast Asia. His 15 books have won several prizes, while also sparking debates in and beyond the academy. They include: Shahrastani on the Indian Religions, (1976); Ibn Khaldun and Islamic Ideology (1984), Defenders of God:  The Fundamentalist Revolt Against the Modern Age (1989), Morals for the Heart (Conversations with Shaykh Nizam ad-din Awliya, d. 1325 AD), by Amir Hasan Sijzi.  Translated from the Persian text, Fawa’id al-fu’ad (1992), Shattering the Myth: Islam Beyond Violence (1998), Beyond Turk and Hindu: Rethinking Religious Identities in Islamicate South Asia, co-edited with David Gilmartin (2000), Sufi Martyrs to Love: The Chishti Brotherhood in South Asia & Beyond, co-authored with Carl Ernst (2002); New Faiths, Old Fears: Muslims & Other Asian Immigrants in American Religious Life (2002), Muslim Networks from Hajj to Hip Hop, co-edited with miriam cooke (2005); Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama Bin Laden (2005), The Qur’an – A Biography (2006/7), On Violence – an Anthology co-edited with Aisha Karim (2007). A graduate of Princeton (AB 1962) and Yale (PhD 1972), he has been a tenured faculty member at Duke University since 1973, and in 2000 he became the Marcus Family Professor of Humanities. Also a professor in Islamic Studies, he served as inaugural director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center from 2005-2010. Now Professor of Islamic Studies Emeritus at Duke, he will be Adjunct Professor at Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakif University in Istanbul from Fall 2012.

Kim Lecoyer

Kim Lecoyer is a Doctoral Candidate in Law at the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University, Belgium. Her current research focuses on unofficial family dispute resolution in families with a migrant background living in Belgium. This empirical legal anthropology research includes a human rights analysis of the issues at stake. The title of her doctoral work is “Non-state family dispute processing among Muslim families in Belgium: an analysis in the light of human rights and Islamic legal theory” and namely explores how Islamic legal theory relates to family dispute resolution among Muslim minorities. Prior to her current assignment, she earned a Master in Social Psychology, a Master in Arabic and Islamic studies and a Master in World Religions, Interreligious Dialogue and the Study of Religion, as well as a BA in Law, at different Belgian universities. Her latest master thesis, in world religions, was titled “Women’s call for reform in today’s world religions: Judaism and Islam”. This was an analysis of writings of contemporary female scholars advocating women’s rights and gender equality under Islamic and Jewish law.

Wei-chin Lee

Wei-chin Lee has published several books, including the forthcoming edited volume onTaiwan’s Politics in the 21st Century (2010). His articles have appeared in various scholarly journals, such as Asian Affairs, Asian Security, Asian Survey, Journal of Asian and African Studies, Journal of Chinese Political Science, Journal of Contemporary China, Journal of Comparative Communism, Journal of Economics and International Relations, Journal of Northeast Asian Studies, Nonproliferation Review, Pacific Focus, and World Affairs.  His teaching and research interests are foreign policy and domestic politics of China and Taiwan, US policy toward East Asia, international security, and international institutions.

Mara Leichtman

Mara Leichtman is assistant professor of Anthropology and Muslim Studies at Michigan State University. Her book manuscript in progress, Shi‘i Cosmopolitanisms in Africa: Lebanese Migration and Religious Conversion in Senegal, investigates the location of Shi‘i Islam in national and international religious networks, the tension between Lebanese and Iranian religious authorities in West Africa, and the making of a vernacular Shi‘i Islam in Senegal. The book provides an account of the everyday lives of the predominantly Shi‘i Lebanese community in Senegal, focusing on changing religious, ethnic and national identities. These identities are placed in the context of the politics of globalization, post-colonialism in Africa and conflict in the Middle East. Additionally, in the past few decades, Senegalese began to “convert” from Sunni to Shi‘i Islam, but their Shi‘i identity was linked to an intellectual and textual tradition of reformist Islam. Shi‘i Islam for Senegalese was a means to bypass the authority and power of Sufi leaders and create their own agency and following. The book explores how these two Shi‘i minority communities strategically use cosmopolitan ethics, knowledge and networks to claim inclusion in the Senegalese nation. Dr. Leichtman has edited (with Dorothea Schulz) a special journal issue of City and Society on Muslim Cosmopolitanism: Movement, Identity, and Contemporary Reconfigurations (forthcoming 2012) and (with Mamadou Diouf) the book New Perspectives on Islam in Senegal: Conversion, Migration, Wealth, Power, and Femininity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). Her articles have appeared in Anthropological Quarterly, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Journal of Religion in Africa, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Shi’a Affairs Journal, Journal of North African Studies and Identities. She was interviewed by The Economist and PBS’ The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and her research was featured in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Dr. Leichtman was a visiting fellow at the Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin, Germany and the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World in Leiden, the Netherlands. Currently she is collaborating on a multi-year and multi-country research project entitled “Religion and the Private Sphere: Religious Dynamics, Everyday Experiences and the Individual in West Africa,” funded by the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche.

Loren D. Lybarger

Loren D. Lybarger serves as Associate Professor of Classics and World Religions at Ohio University, Athens, where he teaches a range of courses on Islam, theories of religion, religion and violence, and American religions.  His research explores how religious institutions shape individual identities within communities, such as the Palestinians, which have experienced chronic social and political destabilization and division. His monograph, Identity and Religion in Palestine: The Struggle between Islamism and Secularism in the Occupied Territories (Princeton, 2007), draws on extensive field research to analyze the impact of the splintering of the Palestinian political field between Islamists and secular-nationalists during the first intifada (uprising).  The research examined how individuals situated across class, religious, and factional continua negotiated the split by creatively appropriating, integrating, and revising the narratives, symbols, and ethos of the two sociopolitical milieus.  Lybarger is currently at work on a new ethnographic project provisionally titled, Enduring Exile: Identity and Religion among Palestinians in Chicago. Funded partly by the National Endowment for the Humanities, this project draws on life history interviews and field observations to explore the dynamics of religious return and diaspora existence among Muslim and Christian Palestinians living in Chicago’s southwest side neighborhoods and in the adjoining southwest suburbs. Lybarger’s work has appeared or will appear in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Journal of Religion, Social Compass, Numen, and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. Lybarger developed his teaching and research interests while living in the West Bank (1986-1989); Cairo (1989-1991); and the Gaza Strip (1991-1993). He returned with a Fulbright grant to carry out field research in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during 1999-2000.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago’s Divinity School in 2002. He previously directed the Middle East Studies Program at California State University, Chico from 2003 until 2006. He currently serves as a member of the board of directors of the Palestinian American Research Center based in Ramallah, Palestine and Washington, D.C.

Raisur Rahman

Raisur Rahman is Assistant Professor of South Asian history at Wake Forest University. He received his PhD from The University of Texas at Austin and M.A. and M.Phil from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His research interests include modern South Asian Islam, Muslim minorities, local history, and Islam and modernity. He is currently completing a book manuscript titled Qasbah: Locale, Islam and Modernity in Colonial India which charts out the history of qasbahs or small towns – perceived provincial by many – as pivotal to Muslim social and intellectual life in colonial India.

Dr. Uriya Shavit

Dr. Uriya Shavit teaches at the Departments for Arabic and Islam Studies, the Religious Studies Program, the Department for Middle Eastern and African Studies and the International Programs at Tel Aviv University. He specializes in the study of democratic discourses in the Arab world and the study of Muslim minorities in the West, and authored five books and 20 articles on these issues; his articles were published in Islamic Law and Society, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Middle Eastern Studies, Middle East Quarterly, The New East, Zmanim and Azure. He currently heads an Israel Science Foundation research project on the religious law of Muslim minorities; a Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research project on Islamist and Liberal discourses on Israel; and a Van-Leer Institute study group on “Theology and Migration Between Tradition, Modernity and Post-Modernity.”

Penny Sinanoglou

Penny Sinanoglou is Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in History at Wake Forest University. She received her Ph.D. in History from Harvard University, and her B.A. in History and Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University. She has published on twentieth-century British policy-making in the Middle East, and works more broadly on questions of empire, nationalism, ethnic identity, and decolonization.

Nathan Spannaus

Nathan Spannaus is a doctoral candidate at McGill University’s Institute of Islamic Studies. His research into both Islamic law and theology focuses on the intellectual history of the Muslim communities of the Russian Empire, in particular how their socio-historical context affected the contours of the Islamic scholarly tradition as part of these communities’ transition into modernity. His doctoral dissertation, entitled Islamic Thought and Revivalism in the Russian Empire: an Intellectual Biography of Abu Nasr Qursawi (1776-1812), addresses a particular instance of the adaptation of the scholarly tradition in response to shifting social circumstances. His work has appeared in The International Journal of the Humanities and Ab Imperio, and he has contributions forthcoming in Islamic Law and Society, as well as the volumes Islam and the Turks and The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Theology. He currently works as a manuscript specialist for the Yemeni Manuscript Digitization Project at Princeton University.

Nelly van Doorn-Harder

Nelly van Doorn-Harderis Professor of Religion at Wake Forest University.  She was born and raised in the Netherlands were she earned her PhD on the topic of women in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam. Before moving to the USA she was director of a refugee program in Cairo, Egypt, and taught Islamic Studies at universities in the Netherlands (Leiden) and Indonesia (Yogyakarta). Among others, she is the author of The Emergence of the Modern Coptic Papacy.The Egyptian Church and its Leadership from the Ottoman Period to the Present. Part III, The Modern Coptic Papacy (1798-2010). Co-authored with Magdi Guirguis. (Cairo, AUC Press, 2011),  “Indonesian Women Activists and Islamist Spiritual Callings” in: Zayn R. Kassam, Women and Islam. (Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2010) 245-262,  Attitudes to Human Rights and Freedom of Religion of Belief in Indonesia. Voices of Islamic Religious Leaders in East Java Syamsul Arifin, Nelly van Doorn-Harder, Tore Lindholm & Nicola Cobran, (Yogyakarta: Kanisius Publishers, 2010), Coping with Evil in Religion and Culture: Case Studies. Edited with Lourens Minnema. (Amsterdam, & New York: Rodopi, 2007), and Women Shaping Islam. Indonesian Muslim Women Reading the Qur’an.  (Champaign-Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2006).

Mark S. Wagner

Mark S. Wagner is Assistant Professor of Arabic and David J. Kriskovich Distinguished Professor at Louisiana State University.  He studied medieval Arabic literature at New York University, where he received his PhD from the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies.  He has published on Arabic and Jewish literatures and on Islamic law in Die Welt des Islams, Middle Eastern Literatures, and the Journal of Semitic Studies.  His first book, Like Joseph in Beauty: Yemeni Vernacular Poetry and Arab-Jewish Symbiosis, was published in 2009 in the Brill Studies in Middle Eastern Literatures series.  He is currently working on a book about Jews’ interactions with Yemen’s shari’ah courts in the first half of the twentieth century, to be published by Indiana University Press.

David Warren

David Warren is a doctoral candidate at the University of Manchester, funded by the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World (CASAW).  He has studied Arabic at the University of Damascus and in Sana‘a, along with Maliki fiqh in Mauritania at the Madrasa of Muhammad Salim al-‘Adud, whilst also conducting fieldwork as a participant observer with the Jama‘at al-Tabligh in Nouakchott.  He has recently returned from fieldwork at the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, which included a series of interviews with al-Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, whose efforts and legacy in the renewal of Islamic Jurisprudence are the subject of his doctoral thesis.

Jarrod L. Whitaker

Jarrod L. Whitaker is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religion at Wake Forest University, where he teaches courses relating to Asian Religions, especially Hinduism and Buddhism, and also theory and method courses on religion, ritual, and gender. He holds a M.A. with First Class Honors in Religious Studies from The University of Canterbury, New Zealand (1998), and a Ph.D. in Asian Cultures and Languages from The University of Texas at Austin (2005). He is author of Strong Arms and Drinking Strength: Masculinity, Violence, and the Body in Ancient India (Oxford University Press, 2011).

Charles Wilkins

Charles Wilkins is Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern history. He is the author of Forging Urban Solidarities: Ottoman Aleppo, 1640-1700. His research is concerned with the social history of the Ottoman Empire in the Early Modern Period (1500-1800).  His specific research interests include Ottoman empire-building in the Arab provinces, war and society, the family, and Islamic legal practices.  He is currently working on a book project entitled, “Early Modern Empires and the Ottoman Incorporation of Syria, 1516-1760.”

Noor Zaidi

Noor Zaidi is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania. Zaidi’s primary research focus is on Shi’ism, pilgrimage, and material culture. She is currently working on a dissertation entitled “The Prophet’s Other Messengers: Bibi Pak Daman, the Zainabiyya, and the Construction of Shiite Sacred Geography.” This dissertation presents a comparative study of two shrines – the Zainabiyya in Damascus and Bibi Pak Daman in Lahore. These shrines house the graves of Zainab and Ruqayyah, respectively, who are credited by Shiites with spreading their father Ali’s early message of Shi’ism through the lands that would become Syria and Pakistan. It explores the critical dimension that material and bazaar cultures have played in the construction of sacred geography. Through these sites, the dissertation will focus on the way that ritual, gender, politics, and faith function in tumultuous, multi-denominational societies where the balance between religious legitimacy and national politics necessitates a constantly-evolving policy towards communal practices. Zaidi is completing fieldwork in both Syria and Pakistan as part of the research for this project and hopes to complete writing within the next year.