The School of Historical Studies has received a three-year, $500,000 grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York to explore and elevate the understanding of Shii studies. The grant will support two research positions in the School of Historical Studies and create a themed annual conference and workshop aimed at leading scholars in the field, which will be led by Sabine Schmidtke, Professor in the School. The long term goal of the project funded by Carnegie Corporation is to build a collaborative research and teaching structure focused on Shii Islam with a partner institution, to be identified, in the United States. Of the project, Schmidtke said, “Unlike other ‘mainstream’ fields of Islamic studies, the scholarly exploration of Shiism began late and evolved slowly, an observation that applies, with some variations, to all three major subdivisions of Shiism—Zaydism, Ismailism and Twelver Shiism. There has been, up until now, little institutional support for Shii Studies within the academic landscape of North America or Europe. In addition, there are significant differences between the scholarly traditions of the three subdivisions of Shiism, a fact not unrelated to the wider geopolitical situation in the Middle East and beyond. These differences, too, have impacted the academic study of Shiism and continue to do so. The goal of the Shii Studies Research Project is to help remedy this imbalance by expanding the field and bringing balance to the study of Islam in North America.” Additional funding will be sought for this purpose during the three-year period of the Carnegie Corporation grant.
Source: The Institute for Advanced Study