U-M has extraordinary depth in scholarship and instruction dealing with Islam as a world religion and the study of Muslim peoples and societies. Over 50 faculty members from across a wide range of departments and professional schools are working on these topics.

    The recently launched Islamic Studies Initiative (ISI) will mobilize this outstanding faculty to contribute to instruction, research, and public affairs programming. The initiative is designed to establish the University of Michigan as a national leader in the field of Islamic Studies, benefiting undergraduate and graduate students and faculty. The ISI will be housed in the International Institute and directed by Islamic Studies specialists Alexander Knysh and Andrew Shryock. A steering committee has been established which includes Michael Bonner, Juan Cole, Joshua Cole, Barbara Metcalf, Nancy Florida, Raji Rammuny, Sherman Jackson, and Mark Tessler.

    The ISI will fund research projects and courses on subjects related to Islam, Islamic societies, and Muslim diasporas in the West. In particular, it will encourage collaborative, interdisciplinary approaches to the study of Islamic beliefs, societies, and communities in the Muslim world and in global perspective. Individual and joint applications for funding are welcome and will be considered by the ISI Steering Committee. Four proposals to enhance existing courses that deal with Islam have already been awarded funds.

    For more information on funding opportunities, please contact alknysh@umich.edu, or ashryock@umich.edu.


    Alexander Knysh is professor of Islamic studies and former chair at the Department of Near Eastern Studies at U-M. He is co-director of the Program on Studies in Religion, and president of the Central Eurasian Studies Society of North America.

    Andrew Shryock is associate professor of anthropology at U-M. He has done ethnographic fieldwork in Yemen, Jordan, and among Arab immigrant and ethnic communities in Detroit. Professor Shryock has been active in public cultural work, especially documentary films, museum exhibitions, and collaborative, community-based research and writing projects.