Since 1997, The Institute of Ismaili Studies has made available PhD Scholarships for suitable candidates whose work complements the research perspectives and mandate of the IIS. This year’s recipients are Zouhal Avzalchoeva, Rafiq Rahim Ajani, Sabrina Datoo and Aly Kassam-Remtulla.

Zouhal (Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities - GPISH - class of 2005) will research “The Treatment of Gender-Based Violence in the Justice System of Tajikistan” at the Department of Law, Sussex University. Her study will focus on law, ethics and gender issues in Central Asia. Rafiq’s (GPISH class of 2006) doctoral studies will examine “Implications of the Ethics of Eternal Presence on the Life of a Religious Community” at the University of Exeter’s Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies. Rafiq’s work will bridge approaches and concepts within Western Continental philosophy and medieval Muslim philosophical traditions and focus on religious and ethical discourse in the writings of Nasir al-Din Tusi (d. 1274 CE).

Sharaf Oshurbekov, a recipient of the PhD scholarship in 2006, has completed a one-year internship in Tajikistan with the IIS’ Central Asian Studies Project and will now commence his Doctoral Studies in Middle East and Central Asian Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London on the topic of “Ismaili Muslim Shrines in Badakhshan: Their History, Character and Significance”.

In addition to the above, this year the IIS is also offering two partial scholarships. Sabrina Datoo (GPISH class of 2004) will investigate “The Representation of the Body in the Discourse of Muslim Nationalism in Colonial India: The Case of the Modernisation of Unani Medicine” at the Department of History, University of Chicago. Sabrina will examine a hitherto-neglected facet of Muslim civilisations in academia: traditional or indigenous medical practices and issues involving bodily regulation in Muslim institutions.

The second partial scholarship candidate is Aly Kassam-Remtulla, a graduate from Stanford University and a former Rhodes Scholar, who will be reading his DPhil at Oxford University’s Department of Education. Aly will tackle the topic of “Islamophobia, Secularism and Authenticity: An Ethnographic Study of Ismaili Muslim Youth in London”. Using ethnographic and historical approaches to the topic, Aly hopes to gain a nuanced understanding of the Ismaili experience in the UK, and provide useful data and insights for other immigrant Muslim communities and others, hoping to encourage balancing community identity with immigrant inclusion.

Mohammadreza Jalaeipour also received partial assistance for completing his PhD doctoral studies; he is based at University of Oxford. A doctoral candidate in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at the Faculty of Oriental Studies, Mohammadreza’s research on the “Transformation of Religiosity under Religious Politics in Shi‘i Iran since 1979” will bring together important material in the subject areas of the sociology of Islam, Shi‘i Studies and Iranian Studies.

For more information on the Doctoral Scholarships offered by the IIS and its previous recipients, please visit the Doctoral Scholarship Programme page of the website.