As an anthropological historian of Islam in the modern Middle East, I am interested in how new conceptions of ‘religion’ have transformed the institutional structures of Islam. I currently hold a Marie Curie Research Fellowship awarded for a project on “Genealogies of Islamic Religious Leadership in Post-Ottoman States”, tracing the rise of Grand Muftis as a new model of religious leadership that has come to define religion in Muslim societies. My field research takes me to Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. In association with this project, I run an interdisciplinary research network on “Categories of Religion and the Secular in Islam” (CRSI).
I came to Oxford as a Departmental Lecturer in Islam and the Study of Religion in 2016, following a four-year stint in the US where I held research fellowships at Harvard and Georgetown Universities. I have also taught at Qatar University and the Middlebury Summer Arabic Program. I studied at the Universities of Manchester, Edinburgh, Durham and Damascus.
Study of Religions
Modern Islam; Middle East; religious leadership; sectarianism and religious conflict; religion and politics.
Beyond Sunni and Shia: The Roots of Sectarianism in a Changing Middle East
This collection seeks to advance our understanding of intra-Islamic identity conflict during a period of upheaval in the Middle East.
Religious Nationalism in the Official Culture of Multi-Confessional Lebanon
The Struggle to Define a Nation: Rethinking Religious Nationalism in the Contemporary Islamic World
The present volume analyses the relation between religion and nationalism within the wider context of the so-called Islamic World; from the first half of twentieth century until the most recent events of the Arab Spring.
Islam and politics, Nationalism
Between Sect and State in Lebanon: Religious Leaders at the Interface
Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies
Remaking the Mosaic: Religious Leaders and Secular Borders in the Colonial Levant
Religion and Society
Islam as a Challenge to the Ideology of Religious Studies: Failures of Religious Studies in the Middle East
Why has Religious Studies failed to gain ground in Middle Eastern universities? This article aims to move beyond a lens of under-development to think about the significance of Muslim opposition to the discipline. When we suppose that studying religion and religions is an obvious thing to do, we risk casting those who deliberately avoid it as somehow irrationally refusing to see what is in front of them. But what if their objections reveal something troubling about the received terms through which we talk about cultures around the world? By taking seriously a certain Islamic perspective on the terms of Western scholarship, this article highlights ways in which it supports Timothy Fitzgerald’s critique in The Ideology of Religious Studies (2000). It poses a challenge to the idea of value-free study of religion, religions and the religious as conducted through any discipline. This author’s hope is that a focus on Muslim voices may bring these concerns home in particular to the fields of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, where the terms of comparative Religious Studies have been embraced as an escape from Orientalism.
Religious Studies, Islam, Middle East, Jordan, universities, Timothy Fitzgerald
Religion and State in Lebanon: Religious Leadership, Sectarianism and Civil War