Category: News

Announcing MIZAN – Digital Scholarship Platform for Muslim Studies

October 7th, 2015 in News

The Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies & Civilizations is pleased to announce the launch of Mizan, a new digital scholarship platform fostering public scholarship and supporting research on Muslim societies across the world. The initiative is headed by Dr. Michael Pregill, with contributions by scholars from Boston University and many other esteemed academic institutions.

Mizan is made possible through the generous support of the ILEX Foundation. Please visit the site to learn more about this exciting initiative.



Muslim Youth Conference Report Published

October 6th, 2015 in News

The Pardee School of Global Studies‘ inaugural international conference,  Youth in the Contemporary Muslim World, brought together scholars, activists, artists, film-makers, and NGO practitioners to explore the multiple ways that Muslim youth are dealing with political challenges, neoliberal and structural changes in their lives, the means by which they are negotiating new and continuing religious and moral conflicts, and how they are using art and culture to express identities that often oppose government policies but just as often address cross-cultural exchanges throughout the Muslim world.

The conference was sponsored in part by the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies & Civilizations. This report captures the panels and discussions as expressed on April 8-9, 2015.

Inaugural Event: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the “Islamic State”

March 19th, 2015 in Events, News

This panel seeks to transcend the focus on political and strategic concerns that has often dominated the treatment of the rise of IS/ISIS/ISIL in the media and bring some critical nuance and historical context to the way this phenomenon is generally discussed. Four scholars from Boston University will present (Kecia Ali, Michael Pregill, Tom Barfield, and Noora Lori) and four scholars from other institutions in the Boston area will respond (Jessica Stern, Franck Salameh, Mia Bloom, and Ken Garden).

This is the inaugural event associated with Mizan, the new digital scholarship initiative headed by Michael Pregill, Interlocutor of the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations. We hope that those of you in the Boston area will be able to join us for what is sure to be an informative and stimulating conversation!

When: Thursday, April 23, 2015 @ 4:00 to 6:30 PM

Where: Pardee School of Global Studies, 121 Bay State Road, First Floor

This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to


Global Fridays Film Series

February 5th, 2015 in News

Film Series Spring 2015





















The Pardee School of Global Studies is proud to introduce its Global Fridays Film Series for the Spring 2015 semester. This semester’s theme is “Food and Farming” with a list of films that aim to shed light on the global food system and trace the origins of the food we eat. This initiative is sponsored in part by the Center for the Study of Asia, the Center for the Study of Europe, the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations, the Latin American Studies Program, and the Gastronomy Program.

Wednesday’s Event Cancelled

January 27th, 2015 in News

Due to the weather, Rohullah Amin’s talk: Dehumanizing Stereotypes of the “other” in Afghan Ethnic Relations. We’re sorry for the inconvenience and look forward to seeing you at future events.

Prof. Fetvaci wins Ottoman Book Award

January 20th, 2015 in News

SMSC faculty associate Professor Emine Fetvaci was awarded the 2014 M. Fuat Köprülü  Book Prize by the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Foundation for her book Picturing History at the Ottoman Court (Indiana University Press, 2013).

Learn more about Professor Fetvaci’s wonderful award here.

Audio Recording from ISIL Panel

November 17th, 2014 in News

On November 11, the Institute hosted a panel discussion featuring five BU professors in conjunction with the Arabic Society entitled ”ISIL: How Did We Get Here? Where Are We Headed?”. The professors reflected on ISIL’s rise to prominence in the Middle East and what may be the future for the militant group. If you were unable to attend, the audio from the event is now available on our new SoundCloud page. Click on the link to listen to the audio file on the external website.

Call for Proposals: Merlin Swartz Award in Islam and Muslim Studies

October 27th, 2014 in News, Uncategorized

The Merlin Swartz Award in Islam and Muslim Studies was established in 2014 to recognize a Boston University faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching and research on Islam or Muslim Studies, broadly understood, by providing support to advance his/her teaching or scholarship to support a specific project.

The award is open to all faculty ranks at BU, including lecturers and tenure-track and tenured professors, and to faculty in any discipline from any BU school or college.  Tenured and tenure-track faculty are eligible to propose support for a research, pedagogical, or curricular project; faculty on the lecturer track are eligible to apply for a pedagogical or curricular project. The funds may be used to support all appropriate expenses to advance the project. All funds must be expended within 12 months of receipt. For the 2014/15 competition, proposals of up to $5,000 will be considered.

The Dean of CAS will select the recipient(s) through a competitive process in consultation with the Director of the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations.

The annual recipient(s) will be chosen through a competitive process. A complete proposal includes:

An up-to-date C.V
• A brief (3pp. max) project proposal outlining the nature of the project, its significance, how it relates to   the proposer’s previous work, and what work will be completed during the funded period. Research proposals should touch on how the proposed project might have an impact on the proposer’s teaching.
• A budget statement that indicates the amount of the request, how the funds will be used, and that lists what other funds, if any, are to be used for the project.
• In the case of teaching projects — course development, pedagogy projects, or other curricular projects, the proposal requires a statement from the relevant chair or director (or, in non-departmentalized colleges, dean) indicating the importance of the proposed project for the teaching mission and plans of the unit and how the project will be implemented and sustained (for example, how often the course will be taught). The chair/director/dean should also approve the budget and verify that the proposer is the appropriate person to undertake the project.

Proposals should be submitted electronically to the Dean of CAS at no later than February 2, 2015.  The recipient(s) will be announced by March 6, 2015. Please label each attachment with your last name and the portion of the proposal (e.g. CV, Budget, Proposal,  Teaching). There may be multiple recipients as long as the total budget of all projects together does not exceed $5,000.

Professor Merlin Swartz is a renowned scholar of Islamic Studies who inspired, taught and mentored generations of students at Boston University between 1973 and his retirement in 2008. He authored 5 books, 28 papers, 94 book reviews and 13 articles related to the Intellectual History of Medieval Islam, and was the winner of five grants including the Fulbright Research Grant in Islamic Civilization. Professor Swartz attended Eastern Mennonite University (BA, 1955), Goshen College (BD, 1960), and Harvard University (PhD, 1967). Besides teaching at Boston University, Professor Swartz has taught at the American University in Beirut, Harvard Center for Middle Eastern Studies and University of Singapore.  The Merlin Swartz Award was established in 2014 to honor Merlin Swartz for his scholarly achievements and his mentorship of students.  Anyone who would like to help support the future of this award should contact Steve Kean (

Academic Year 2014-15 Theme: CROSSING BORDERS

September 30th, 2014 in News

SMSC 2014 theme

In focusing on Crossing Borders this academic year, the Muslim Studies Institute means to explore the many literal and figurative ways that people and ideas have crossed and continue to cross over the borders of the Muslim World.  With the military success of ISIS in just the last few months, many analysts are predicting that the borders of the modern Middle East may be disintegrating after standing in place for almost 100 years.  Syrian and Iraqi refugees have poured over those same borders over the last decade, often living lives on both sides.  On the other hand, Palestinian refugees watch their Arab brethren cross over to new countries while they face increased border restrictions.  The Arab Spring of 2010 and 2011 brought state borders down in virtual ways but also proved how strong the nation-state structures have become inside of each of the Arab borders.  Turkish soap operas are a hit across the whole swath of the Middle East; American events around Occupy Wall Street and Ferguson, Missouri resonate with the peoples in the Muslim world fighting against similar authoritarian figures. The program of Crossing Borders, as a result, is an examination of the historical and the contemporary ways that peoples in the Muslim World and abroad have identified and experienced the borders framing but not necessarily limiting their lives. 

BCARS Conference Report Published: Understanding Today’s Middle East

September 18th, 2014 in News

The Boston Consortium for Arab Region Studies (BCARS), a partner of the Institute, has published the report from its First Graduate Student Conference, Understanding Today’s Middle East: Peoples and Places of the Arab Spring. This conference aimed to illuminate the important and evolving impacts of the Arab Spring on today’s Middle East by exploring the following questions: Why did the “Arab Spring” or “Uprisings” happen where and when they did? Why did revolts and revolutions affect certain Arab states, leave others alone, and come and go in still others? What external actors are “meddling” in the internal affairs of various Arab states and why? In the seeming cacophony of the “Arab Street,” whose voices are being drowned out?

To read the report, please click here.