Blasphemy and the Dialectics of Mediation: A Proposed Study of Courts, Conflict, and the Media in Contemporary Pakistan
Muslim Modernities and Rule of Law Projects in Afghanistan: The Nizamnama Codes of Shah Amanullah and the Indo-Turkish Juridical Nexus, 1919-1929
The limited historiography on Afghanistan conventionally tributes Shah Amanullah (1919-1929) for laying the foundations of a modern Afghan state though his promulgation of the 1923 Constitution and subsequent Nizamnama law codes. A cursory glance at these reforms has led many observers to describe Amanullah with such labels as “progressive,” “secular”, “ahead of his time”, or even “pro-Western modernizer.” What these readings elide, however, was the reformist king’s resolve that Afghanistan’s constitution and the totality of his reforms fully comply with sacred Islamic law, the Sharia. The premium Amanullah placed on promoting a simultaneously modern and Islamic identity for the Afghan state is evident in the composition of the Nizamnama drafting commission—an eclectic group of Muslim jurists and politicians that included liberal bureaucrats from the palace administration, conservative ulama linked to Deobandi madrasas in India, Pashtun tribal notables, and Turkish legal advisors. The latter included Badri Bey, a former Istanbul police chief who served as the Nizamnama commission’s director. Through archival research in Turkey and India, including declassified government papers on Afghan affairs, private writings of commission members, student records, and newspapers from the popular presses of both countries, this project examines the contours of Young Turk and Indian Muslim influence in the Nizamnama drafting process, and how Turkish officials such as Badri Bey negotiated reforms with traditional ulama and the burgeoning intelligentsia of Kabul. Focusing on emerging legal debates and transformations rather than Amanullah’s “failure” to build a strong state in Afghanistan, a social-intellectual history of the Nizamnama commission presents a rare, non-colonial glimpse into the shared struggles of Turks, Afghans, and Indian Muslims from diverse social and ideological backgrounds to build home-grown (and heterogeneous) visions of the rule of law on their own terms.
Towards Building a Consensus in a Democratic Society - Policy-making to Support Disaster Survivors in the Context of Nuclear Uncertainty
Local Community Participation in Forest Conservation in the Mount Elgon National Park
Citizen journalism, a catalyst for conflict transformation in Africa: A case of Ushahidi Crowd-Sourcing Platform in Kenya
RELIGIOSITY AS DEPOLITICIZATION: PENTECOSTALISM, YOUTH AND STRUCTURAL VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA
STRUCTURAL VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA : HOW RELIGION DEPOLITICIZES YOUNG PEOPLE AND SILENCES THEIR VOICE.
Military-Police Relations: assessing specialisation and interactive dynamics of female security forces in the UN peacekeeping missions in Africa
A Historical Analysis of Nigerian Women Peacekeepers in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in Africa
Human Rights Modernities: Practices of the Luo Council of Elders in Contemporary Western Kenya
Children at Risk: Economic Motivations of Child Fostering in Burkina Faso
Forms for Our Time: Modern Art and the Problem of the Human in Baghdad, 1940s-1960s
This project is a study of the emergence of modern art in Baghdad, in between World War II and the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Rather than focus on the specific difference between Iraqi modern art and European modern art, I ask how modern art might have contributed to the formation of the socialist-secular modernity of Ba'thist Iraq by producing a concrete image of "the human" [al-insaan] as a suffering being – one both quite different from the abstract ideal of "the human" constituted by the European discourse of rights and yet descendant from the same genealogy, coming to Iraq by way of communist cells established in the late Ottoman Empire. I inquiry into how modern art constituted such an image of the human, and how the problem of the human constituted a particular practice of modern art in Iraq. Specifically I argue that modern art's search for forms that would be "of the time" [mu'asira] converged with a contemporaneous search for forms that could think "the human" as an epistemology for suffering; by giving concrete forms to the abstract "human", modern art then gave intelligible form to life in Baghdad. This research will demonstrate that modernity involved not only political and economic transformations but also the elaboration of entire creative projects to generate new means of expression capable of articulating the vicissitudes of life, and death.
Cosmopolitan Terror: Secular Imaginaries, Transnational Governance, and the Security State in Urban Kenya
My research explores the ethical and political subjectivities of Kenyan Muslims as they grapple with their nation's entanglement in the 'war on terror.' Working in a range of leadership capacities (parliament, NGOs, media) urban middle class Kenyan Muslims are torn between daring to challenge controversial state practices of counter-terrorism on the one hand, and invoking the very discourses of security that reinforce state-sanctioned violence on the other. Deploying an ethnographic lens to cosmopolitan spaces of politics and public engagement in the cities of Nairobi and Mombasa, I will examine how socially invoked categories of 'moderate' and 'radical' Islam emerge in relation to contemporary forms of state-craft, historical memory, and transnational governance to shape new understandings of religion, politics, and violence.
Regional Institutions and International Security
Long-Term Development in Post-Disaster Communities
Traditional Bodies: Sufism, Knowledge Practices and the Making of the Modern Public
This project explores the conditions that enable a Sufi tradition with its spiritual legacy and original institutional form rooted in pre-modern societies, to thrive in modernizing urban settings. It attempts to address such a challenge by examining the Ba'alawi sayyids; a group of migrants in Indonesia from the Hadramaut valley of South Yemen, who has been acknowledged as descendants of Prophet Muhammad. It tries to understand how Ba’alawi scholars reconfigure their Sufi tradition, the Tariqa ‘Alawiyya through their interaction with Indonesian nationhood and Islamic reformism, which necessitated the observation of embodied practices involving Ba'alawi scholars and their students in the transmission of knowledge through time. The aim of this project is therefore (1) to understand how textual knowledge that makes up a religious tradition becomes embodied; and (2) to observe how the embodied knowledge enters into the larger public through other ways of interaction, such as various Sufi rituals that engage broader public. This requires an ethnographic approach that looks at different forms of knowledge practices as sites where the discursive tradition is transmitted, negotiated, transformed, manipulated through the interaction between scholars and students on one side and between them and the broader public on the other.
Locating Non-Violence: An Ethnographic Research of the Contemporary Palestinian Political Culture
Afro-Brazil: The Meanings and Uses of Africa in Brazilian Public Life, 1930-1988
The Role of Civil Society in Post-Disaster Recovery
Storm Clouds over China: Typhoons, State, and Society in Coastal Guangdong, 1660s-1960s
My dissertation seeks to reconstruct typhoon events, their societal impacts, and responses in coastal Guangdong, China's richest and most populous province, from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. It shows when, where, how often, in what intensity, and in what patterns did typhoons strike Guangdong and argues that their seasonal regularity made them play a constructive and not just destructive role in the governance, economy, society, and culture of this rich coastal province. Continuities and changes occurred between the Qing empire, Nationalist regime, and People's Republic of China as centuries-old ways of understanding typhoons interacted with new modes of meteorology, disaster relief, and social and political organization. The Qing, Nationalist, and Communist states all took typhoons into consideration when planning for the province and even learned to use these storms to advance their own agendas. The people of Guangdong too planned their lives around typhoons and learned to cope with them through the formation of various religious and social organizations that eventually shaped life on the coast. With most of China's long coastline, not just Guangdong, vulnerable to typhoons and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicting stronger typhoons in a warmer-world scenario, being able to draw from its own rich history with typhoons is important to China as it heads into the future. As an interdisciplinary climate history that draws on historical climatology, anthropological fieldwork, disaster studies, and environmental history, this project contributes to the growing interest in understanding climate's role in our past, present, and future. It also bolsters the field of Chinese climate history, where very few studies exist that explicitly take climate not only into consideration but also as the focus of examination.
UN Security Council-Regional Organization Relations: Did ECOWAS Intervention in Liberia and Sierra Leone Introduce a New Paradigm in International Law?
Property & Politics in Transition: Land in the South African Political Imagination
Analyzing the Links Between the Economic and Political Relations of the United States and Japan Using Objective and Comprehensive Events Data
When Citizenship and Kinship Intersect: Comparing Japanese and American Responses to Transnational Child Custody Disputes
The Emergence of the Legal Profession in East Asia: Globalization and Justice