The Institute of Ismaili Studies is pleased to announce that it has awarded the 2012 Doctoral Scholarship to Zulfiqar Khimani from Pakistan.

Zulfiqar is currently pursuing his PhD in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. Following an interdisciplinary approach, he plans to investigate the phenomenon of transnationalism (the networks and affiliations connecting communities across borders) within the context of Muslim communities, with particular attention to the Nizari Ismaili and related communities. Zulfiqar’s broader academic interests include critical social theory, contemporary Muslim communities, media studies and philosophy.

On receiving the scholarship, Zulfiqar Khimani said:

"I am deeply honoured and thankful to receive the IIS doctoral scholarship. The Institute’s contribution will make a positive difference in the academic study of Muslim communities and will certainly advance my study of Islam and Muslim societies. The interdisciplinary examination of issues facing contemporary Muslim communities has become crucial. The Institute acknowledge this need and offers support to aspiring scholars pursuing doctoral studies in Islamic Studies from interdisciplinary perspectives. I am grateful to the IIS for helping me pursue my most cherished dream."

Originally from Karachi, Zulfiqar Khimani has an MPhil from the University of Cambridge in Modern Society and Global Transformations with a focus on critical social theory and media studies. He studied in the Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities (GPISH) at the IIS from 2006 – 2009. Prior to this, he obtained his undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering and a postgraduate degree in social sciences from Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology. He has also been a recipient of an Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship (2011 - 2012).

Before starting his PhD at the University of Cambridge, Zulfiqar worked with the Aga Khan Development Network as Survey Coordinator for the Quality of Life Assessment Programme. Zulfiqar has also worked as a research consultant for Sindh Education Foundation, one of the premier educational organisations in Sindh, Pakistan.

Dr Omar Ali-de-Unzaga, Academic Coordinator of the Qur’anic Studies Unit at the IIS, was part of the panel that awarded the scholarship. Commenting on why Zulfiqar’s proposal was chosen, he said:

“We were very impressed with Zulfiqar’s doctoral project proposal. The reason behind its success is threefold. First of all, it analyses religious belonging vis-a-vis concepts such as transnationalism and diaspora. So, it will contribute to the development of conceptual tools necessary for a rigorous analysis of communities defined on religious rather than ethnic terms. Second, by integrating the theoretical approaches of social theory with the field of Islamic Studies, it contributes towards interdisciplinary perspectives on the study of Islam. Third, this study contributes to Ismaili Studies by exploring the contemporary landscape of Nizari Ismailis.”

The Institute of Ismaili Studies has been awarding doctoral scholarships since 1997 to 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. The application form for the 2013 Doctoral Scholarship Cycle will be available in January 2013.

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