University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carnegie Fellowships in Support of Arab Region Social Science

September 15th, 2014

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill invites applications from early-career social scientists affiliated with universities in the Arab world for semester-long fellowships in Fall 2015.

With support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the fellowship offers advanced doctoral candidates or post-doctoral scholars within five years of their Ph.D. an opportunity to work with a faculty mentor at UNC-Chapel Hill, participate in ongoing research groups, and, if they desire, audit graduate seminars. The program is intended to provide an intensive intellectual experience, including advanced methodological training, for Arab social scientists at a formative stage of their career. The selected fellows must be physically based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for the full semester of their fellowship. Fellows will participate in the scholarly activities of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations, including the presentation of their research at the Center’s colloquium series.

While any research subject will be considered, applicants working on issues related to food and food security, broadly conceived, may also be considered for a fellowship at UNC’s Global Research Institute and awarded additional privileges at the university, including access to research clusters.

Applications for Fall 2015 fellowships are due on December 15, 2014. Application materials should be sent by e-mail to mideast@unc.edu. Applicants are asked to identify one or more faculty mentors at UNC-Chapel Hill, propose a research and training agenda for the fellowship period, and supply two letters of recommendation. Applications will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary committee of scholars at UNC-Chapel Hill. All fellows must be affiliated with an Arab university and must be currently engaged in research in any social science discipline, or social-scientific work in information science, law, public health, and other fields. Individuals primarily employed by think tanks or other non-university entities cannot be considered. The program anticipates offering three fellowships in Fall 2015, with a salary of $30,000 each, plus benefits including health insurance, and support for travel to the annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association of North America.

Application Procedures:

Applicants should send the following materials as e-mail attachments to mideast@unc.edu by December 15, 2014:

1. Letter indicating your academic background, research focus, a research and training agenda for the fellowship period, and one or more faculty mentors at UNC (in English).
2. Curriculum vitae (in English).
3. Sample(s) of scholarly social-scientific writing (in any language).
4. Two letters of recommendation (in English; should be sent directly by recommenders to mideast@unc.edu).

Applicants are encouraged to contact potential mentors on the faculty at UNC well in advance of the application deadline, so as to inform them of your interest in the fellowship and inquire about their willingness to serve as a mentor.

Dispatches from India: The Practice, Performance, and Politics of Sufi Shrines in South Asia and Beyond

September 1st, 2014

Carl Ernst

Carl Ernst

UNC-Chapel Hill Islamic Studies Professor Carl Ernst was in India this summer as principal academic organizer of an international workshop on “Practice, Performance, and Politics of Sufi Shrines in South Asia and Beyond,” held August 1-4, 2014 in Ellora-Khuldabad, Maharashtra State.

Dr. Ernst shared with the Transcultural Islam Project’s Transcultural Islam Research Network (TIRN) a write-up on this workshop by Prof. Philip Lutgendorf  (President of the American Institute of Indian Studies), as well as details on a series of lectures Ernst delivered at Indian universities subsequent to the workshop.


Kadivar Earns Keohane Distinguished Professorship

August 29th, 2014

Mohsen Kadivar

Mohsen Kadivar

Since he began working at Duke, Mohsen Kadivar has worked closely with faculty and students both on campus and down the road a bit at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Both campuses boast small but well-regarded religious studies departments. When Kadivar joined Duke as a visiting professor in 2009, he was quickly recruited by UNC-Chapel Hill to give an occasional guest lecture, and since then he has taught and mentored students at both universities.

Now, the relationship has become more formal. This fall, Kadivar will hold the Nannerl Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professorship, an appointment spanning both schools. The Islamic philosophy scholar will spend the semester teaching “Religion and Culture in Iran, 1500-Present,” a course he has not taught previously, on UNC’s campus. It is open to undergraduate and graduate students from both universities.


Building Up Medical Education in Baghdad

August 20th, 2014

Kurt Gilliland, assistant dean of curriculum for the UNC School of Medicine, leads a tour of doctors from Iraq visiting UNC as part of a collaboration between UNC and the University of Baghdad’s College of Medicine to enhance its curriculum. Photo by Mark Derewicz.

Kurt Gilliland, assistant dean of curriculum for the UNC School of Medicine, leads a tour of doctors from Iraq visiting UNC as part of a collaboration between UNC and the University of Baghdad’s College of Medicine to enhance its curriculum. Photo by Mark Derewicz.

This week, as first-year students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine engage in a new and different curriculum, a delegation of doctors from Iraq’s University of Baghdad is on campus meeting professors, doctors, administrators and students to learn how UNC is teaching the next generation of doctors.

The collaboration, funded through the International Medical Corps (IMC), aims to enhance the curricula in the 23 medical schools throughout Iraq, starting with the University of Baghdad College of Medicine. Iraq’s education system has already moved to a six-year education model common to European universities, where students begin their medical education at age 18. But Iraqi medical educators turned to UNC to learn how a top American medical school revamped its curriculum to improve an already top-tier institution.

The Iraqi delegation is visiting classrooms to observe UNC’s new curriculum in action, including how UNC professors integrate basic science with real-life examples of disease states that students will see in the clinic.



Student Awarded Roshan Institute Fellowship to Pursue Persian Studies in Iran Reflects on Experiences

August 19th, 2014

Candace Mixon

Candace Mixon

By Candace Mixon

From May 23, 2014 until July 12, 2014, I travelled to Istanbul, Turkey and from there to Iran to study visual and material culture related to modern religious practices and the Ahl al-bayt, or the Family of the Prophet Muhammad. My research was supported by the Roshan Institute Fellowship for Excellence in Persian Studies, the Carolina Center for Middle East and Muslim Civilizations, and the American Institute of Iranian Studies.

During my time in Iran, I visited Tehran, Mashhad, Qom, Esfahan, and Shiraz, and carried out a variety of activities from visiting museums, universities, libraries, and cultural centers to city exploration and photography.



Facing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in Washington

May 5th, 2014

PWAD-670-in-front-of-White-House“Students in Shai Tamari’s PWAD 670 course, Challenges to Peace-Making in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, have grappled throughout the spring semester with some of the complex, intractable issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Discussions have ranged from the importance of narrative and identity in evaluating political options to the more concrete aspects of the conflict, such as settlements, lobby groups and Israeli and Palestinian internal politics… The trip to Washington, D.C., served as our opportunity to engage with the different groups responsible for pushing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process forward. We met with them with the confidence and tools that we have developed through our coursework, and we were prepared, if necessary, to be able to challenge their perspectives.”



UNC Professor Zeynep Tufekci on the Protest Spurred by Social Media in Istanbul

March 20th, 2014

zeynepnytIn a New York Times op-ed, UNC Professor Zeynep Tufekci analyzes the dynamics of large-scale protests spurred by social media, such as the mass funeral held last week in Istanbul, Turkey. Tufekci argues that “Protests like this one, fueled by social media and erupting into spectacular mass events, look like powerful statements of opposition against a regime. … Yet often these huge mobilizations of citizens inexplicably wither away without the impact on policy you might expect from their scale.” Tufekci proposes that “Digital tools make it much easier to build up movements quickly, and they greatly lower coordination costs. This seems like a good thing at first, but it often results in an unanticipated weakness: Before the Internet, the tedious work of organizing that was required to circumvent censorship or to organize a protest also helped build infrastructure for decision making and strategies for sustaining momentum. Now movements can rush past that step, often to their own detriment.”


Small Threat of Terrorism, Yet Rising Negative Attitudes Towards Muslims in US

February 28th, 2014

news_charles-kurzmanIn a report issued this month by the Triangle Institute on Terrorism and Homeland Security, UNC Professor of Sociology Charles Kurzman traces the upward trend of negative feelings towards Muslims in the US despite the small number of Muslim suspects and perpetrators of terrorist acts.  Read the report, “Muslim-American Terrorism in 2013,” here.  An article by Kurzman on the data, published on IslamiCommentary is available here.

New Library Guide to Middle East Studies

November 19th, 2013


Middle Eastern Librarian Mohamed Abou El Seoud recently introduced the Center’s faculty and graduate students to a new online resource, the Middle East Studies Guide. Part of the UNC University Libraries site, the guide provides links to collections of films, music, art, books and journals, and maps and data for Middle East studies. It also includes information about library support for scholarly communication and digital repository services, as well as funding opportunities. For more information about this new resource, go to our Library Resources page.

Underground Music and the Arab Uprisings

November 4th, 2013


On September 17, 2013, Dr. Zeina G. Halabi (Department of Asian Studies at UNC-CH) appeared on the Global Music Show on WXYC 89.3FM. The show explored contemporary indie and underground bands in the context of the Arab uprisings. Different in both genre and content, the songs selected by Dr. Halabi were by pop, hip-hop, and rock bands from Egypt (Thawrageya; Youssra el Hawary; Massar Egbari), Lebanon (Mashrou3 Leila; El-Rass), Syria (Al-Sayyid Darwish), Palestine (Boikutt), Morocco (Soultana) and Jordan (El-Morabba3). Whereas some of the artists above are more established and more politically explicit than others, they all engage the intense political and social upheavals that the Arab world is witnessing today.