The Institute of Ismaili Studies has awarded its doctoral scholarships for the fifteenth year.

The two recipients of the 2011 cycle of the scholarship programme are Zarangez Karimova from Tajikistan and Ula Zeir from Syria. Zarangez Karimova completed the Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities (GPISH) at the IIS in 2009.

Whilst studying at the IIS, she conducted field work in Cairo, Egypt, on how ‘traditional’ communities are responding to the initiatives of the change introduced by external agencies in Cairo’s historic district of al-Darb al-Ahmar. She holds an MA in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE) with a focus on the Anthropology of Religion. Having worked as a Research Assistant at the IIS, she is now finalising a report on the history of the settlement of the Ismaili community in Penang, Malaysia. She has also been assisting the Department of Curriculum Studies with conducting library research for the forthcoming Secondary Curriculum module entitled Muslim Societies and Civilisations.

Prior to her work with the IIS, Zarangez has held faculty positions in Tajikistan, including on teacher training programmes and at the undergraduate level in the fields of arts, humanities and languages. Zarangez will be studying towards a PhD at the Department of Arab and Islamic Studies of Exeter University under the supervision of Professor Robert Gleave. Her thesis will examine the societal function of hadith literature during the Safavid period.

Ula Zeir, who is currently studying the Turkish language at Istanbul University’s Language Centre, is also an alumna of the GPISH programme having graduated in 2008. She holds an MSc in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Edinburgh. Ula has worked as a Website Editorial Assistant at the IIS and as a Researcher for the Department of Community Relations.

The scholarship will enable her to undertake doctoral studies at the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Edinburgh.

She will be working on the history of the Syrian Nizari Ismailis of Salamiyya during the Ottoman rule (1846-1918 CE) under the supervision of Dr Anthony Gorman and Dr Andrew Newman. The Institute of Ismaili Studies has been awarding doctoral scholarships since 1997 to suitable candidates whose work contributes to the academic mandate of the IIS. For more information regarding scholarships offered, past recipients and the application process for next year, please visit the Doctoral Scholarship Programme page of the website where the application form for the 2012 Doctoral Scholarship Cycle will be available in January 2012.