Tufts University Middle East expert named 2008 Carnegie Scholar

Professor Leila Fawaz will examine Muslim soldiers' experience with WWI as they fought with a colonial power against the Ottoman Empire
April 16, 2008

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MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. -- Tufts University Professor Leila Fawaz was named a 2008 Carnegie Scholar by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and will receive a two-year grant of up to $100,000 for her research on "The Experience of War: Muslims in the Middle East and South Asia, 1914-1920."

"My plan is for my research to be a book that will help to give people a deeper understanding of the complex issues of power and identity that continue to affect the Muslim world today," says Fawaz.

Fawaz was among 20 new Carnegie Scholars selected this year for their compelling ideas and commitment to enriching the quality of the public dialogue on Islam. The Corporation provides funding, with two-year grants of up to $100,000, and intellectual support to well-established and promising young thinkers, analysts and writers. The 2008 awardees are the fourth consecutive annual class to focus on Islam, bringing to 91 the number of Carnegie Scholars devoted to the topic since the program began in 2000.

Fawaz is the Issam M. Fares Professor of Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean Studies and director of the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies. She holds a joint appointment at Tufts as professor of history in the School of Arts and Sciences and as professor of diplomacy at The Fletcher School. She is also an overseer at Harvard University, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the Comité Scientifique of the Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme at the Université de Provence.
 
A social historian, Fawaz's research will focus on connections between the Middle East and South Asia and the influence World War I had on Islamic identities. About one million South Asian soldiers fought on the side of their British colonial power, some in the Ottoman-controlled Middle East -- the largest Muslim territorial empire of the time. Fawaz's research will examine the complex relationship this caused for the Muslim and Hindu soldiers, especially the Muslim soldiers who sided with non-Muslims against their own religious leaders.
 
Born in the Sudan and raised in Lebanon, Fawaz attended the American University of Beirut and later received her doctorate from Harvard University. She joined the Tufts faculty in 1979 as an assistant professor, was promoted to the rank of professor in 1994, served as chair of the history department from 1994 to1996, and as dean for humanities and arts from 1996 to 2001. Fawaz has written and co-edited three books, including "Modernity and Culture: from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean" (Columbia University Press, 2002), as well as articles and reviews.
 
Established by Vartan Gregorian in 1999, the Carnegie Scholars program provides financial and intellectual support to writers, analysts and thinkers addressing some of the most critical research questions of our time. Scholars are selected not only for their originality and proven intellectual capacity, but for their demonstrated ability to communicate their ideas in ways that can catalyze public discourse as well as guiding more focused and pragmatic policy discussions. Since 2005, the program has supported scholars whose work seeks to promote American understanding of Islam as a religion, the characteristics of Muslim societies, in general, and those of American Muslim communities, in particular.
 
About Tufts University
Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.
 

About Carnegie Corporation of New York Carnegie Corporation of New York was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote "the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding." For more than 95 years the Corporation has carried out Carnegie's vision of philanthropy by building on his two major concerns: international peace and advancing education and knowledge. As a private grantmaking foundation, the Corporation will invest more than $100 million this year in nonprofits to fulfill Mr. Carnegie's mission, "to do real and permanent good in this world." The Corporation's capital fund, originally donated at a value of about $135 million, had a market value of $3.07 billion on September 30, 2007.