Asma Afsaruddin
Asma Afsaruddin

Unknown-1As the title of the monograph suggests, Contemporary Issues in Islam (Edinburgh University Press, 2015) by Asma Afsaruddin, guides the reader through an organized and compelling narrative of reflections on hot-button topics in the modern world. The monograph offers a provocative balance of historical contextualization, close reading of texts, review of key scholars, and political analysis. Given its treatment of topics such as Islamic law, gender, international relations, and interfaith dialogue, the book should prove useful in a graduate or undergraduate context–either as a whole or as individual chapters–particularly as a conversation starter, given the depths to which each chapter points. Although the scope of the book may appear ambitious, Professor Afsaruddin is well-equipped to manage the breadth of her study into a concise, lucid, and well written text. Given her research background in jihad and violence as well as Quranic hermeneutics, moreover, Contemporary Issues in Islam is a mature work that reflects decades of careful research and intellectual synthesis with ample attention to both primary and secondary literature. The monograph will likely appeal not only to scholars and students in religious studies and Islamic studies, but also political science and history as well as journalists.


In September 2014 the Duke Islamic Studies Center (which manages the Transcultural Islam Project of which TIRN is a part), announced its official institutional affiliation with New Books in Islamic Studies — a bi-weekly audio podcast featuring hour long conversations with authors of exciting new research. For an archive see HERE.


A working group on “international relations and religion,” convened by Michael Desch and Daniel Philpott, has recently released a detailed report:

Over the past decade-and-a-half, the academic study of religion and international relations has sprouted from a sparse scattering of works into a vibrant body of scholarship. The Working Group on International Relations and Religion, funded by a grant from the Mellon Foundation to the University of Notre Dame, met four times over two-and-a-half years to assess this trend, asking how far scholarship on religion and international relations has come and where it might go. The group’s task, though, was not merely to explore the existing literature but also to engage broad questions: What is religion and how has it shaped the international system of states and international relations theory? And, how is religion most importantly manifested in contemporary international relations? 

The resulting report offers insights for all who are interested in research on religion and international relations, whether they are scholars, students, practitioners, or general readers. The report’s center of gravity lies in political science, with ten of its thirteen contributors hailing from this field, but also manifests disciplinary breadth.  Continue reading

Via BRITISH VOICES USA, April 24, 2013

The British Council is pleased to announce the launch of Bridging Voices, a grants program aimed at promoting improved understanding of the role religion plays in public life and international affairs through a series of transatlantic academic and policy dialogues and outreach activities. Continue reading


Conference: 8th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, September 18 -21, 2013, Warsaw, Poland

Section Title: “Critical Relations of International Relations and Islam”
Organizers: The European International Studies Association, Institute of International Relations (University of Warsaw), and the Polish Association for International Studies
Chairs: Nassef Manabilang Adiong and Dr. Adis Duderija (University of Malaya)
Deadline: February 8, 2013

For a very long time, the Muslim world was regarded as an outsider from the cultural and normative pretext and state relations of the West. Even during the reign of the Ottoman Empire, scholars of International Relations (IR) excluded her as a subordinated stealth ally or non-ally of major European powers.

The shift from Bush to Obama in their foreign policies toward the Muslim world, Imam Khamenei’s position about nuclear weapons, transitional political elites such as Egypt’s Pres. Morsi (Muslim Brotherhood) and Tunisia’s PM Jebali (Ennahda Movement), and Malaysia and Indonesia’s rising Salafi (political) movements are few examples that it is now apparent that there is an imperative motivation why Islamic discourses gradually dominate contemporary international relations, and how it affects the West in a theory-praxis spectrum.

Continue reading