Omid Safi
Omid Safi

Omid Safi, (pictured) a prominent Islamic studies professor and scholar, joined the faculty of Duke this month as director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center (DISC).

As the new William and Bettye Martin Musham Director for Islamic Studies, Safi will oversee DISC, the university’s hub of teaching, learning and research about Islam and Muslim communities.

Bettye Musham, whose $3 million gift supported the creation of the directorship, is also a founding member of the DISC advisory board. (For more information about the gift, click here.) Continue reading

compiled by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, TIRN on JULY 21, 2014:  

Here’s some more summer reading . If you have published an article, book, or other publication in the field and would like to share it please email 

Continue reading

by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, TIRN & ISLAMiCommentary on MAY 30, 2014: 

tirn_logo_web[1]Happy Academic Summer!  And thanks for reading our web site. We will be on a limited posting schedule during the Summer 2014 term, but if you subscribe (it’s free!) you WILL get updates in your email when there are new posts.


1) Please take some time to acquaint yourself with our searchable Directory of Scholars and Experts on Islam and Muslim communities. The primary purpose of this database is to provide a way for other scholars, policymakers and journalists to locate university-based scholars and researchers. We do recognize that not all experts have university affiliations, and therefore we do consider applications from experts outside the academy.

2) AND — Interested in submitting a working paper or a paper you’ve already presented at a conference or workshop that you would like to have published on this TIRN website? Send me an email at

3) OR, have a new book or publication coming out and want to submit a short summary and submit hook cover image and publish it on this website ? Essays or excerpts from publications are also welcome at our partner site ISLAMiCommentary. Send me an email at if you are interested in these opportunities.

4) ISLAMiCommentary will be continuously updated throughout the summer, so go over and check out it’s original commentaries, featured videos, our new By the Book Q & As and Comics & Dialogue columns, our American Muslims page,  and aggregated analyses based on the news themes of the day.





via WORLD BULLETIN on MAY 14, 2014: 

A Turkish cultural institute is holding exhibition of over two thousand manuscripts from the Ottoman Empire
A Turkish cultural institute is holding exhibition of over two thousand manuscripts from the Ottoman Empire

A sixteenth century Persian manuscript detailing the life of Turko-Mongol ruler Tamerlane and a copy of the Muslim holy book of Quran in Persian from the fifteenth century are the two of the highlights of an exhibition of manuscripts from the Islamic world on show in at the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts in Zagreb.

Organised by representatives from the Yunus Emre Institute and the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts in Zagreb, the exhibition opened Monday and will run till May 31.

The over two thousand manuscripts are from the Ottoman Turkey and were collections stored for centuries in family libraries in various Balkan countries; mainly Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia, said Tatiana Paicvukic, an oriental history scholar in charge of the manuscripts at the Croatian Academy. They have been in Croatian Academy archives since 1927.



bookcoverColumn » By the Book

by JOSEPH RICHARD PREVILLE for ISLAMiCommentary on MAY 12, 2014:

How much do we know about Turkey’s minority community of Alevi Muslims? What are their struggles and aspirations – past and present? And, how do they figure in Turkey’s vigorous debates about history, identity, citizenship, and pluralism? Kabir Tambar takes a close look at the Turkish Alevis in his impressive new book, The Reckoning of Pluralism: Political Belonging and the Demands of History in Turkey (Stanford University Press, 2014).

Kabir Tambar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. After earning his Ph.D. in 2009 from the University of Chicago, Tambar taught in the Department of Religion at the University of Vermont. He also served as a member in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey from 2011-2012. His scholarly work has appeared in History of the Present: A Journal of Critical History, American Ethnologist, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, and Public Culture.

Kabir Tambar discusses his new book in this exclusive interview.

Who are the Turkish Alevis and why are they struggling to get government recognition?

Kabir Tambar
Kabir Tambar

Alevis are a sizable religious minority in Turkey (reportedly about 15%), with deep historical connections to Shi‘i Islamic communities and the Bektaşi Sufi order. Since the 1990s, Alevi groups have collectively asserted themselves in Turkey’s urban centers, performing their communal rituals in public and making demands on the state for access to governmental resources from which they have long been systematically excluded. In my book, I suggest that the question is not whether Alevis should be recognized, but how they have been recognized. What are the categories that the state uses to classify different populations and render them intelligible to governmental rationalities? What sorts of aesthetic contexts are supported by the state, and how does this official support work to privilege certain expressions of collective belonging at the expense of others? In short, how do state authorities mobilize forms of knowledge, aesthetics, and emotion to define and cultivate acceptable expressions of religious difference? Continue reading