I am a PhD candidate in History at Yale University, working on the histories of environment, law, and capitalism in late Ottoman Iraq. My dissertation, “Empire on Edge: Land, Law, and Capital in Gilded Age Basra, 1884-1914,” uses microhistory to explore how individual capitalists shaped the emergence of capitalism and modern state practice by manipulating novel state vocabularies and bureaucratic instruments.
I am Ilyse R. Morgenstein Fuerst and, yes, that whole bit after the R. is my surname. I’m an assistant professor of religion and the current director of Middle East studies at the University of Vermont. I’m also the co-chair of the Study of Islam Unit at the American Academy of Religion, the editor of the Islam section for Religion Compass, and on various editorial and advisory boards for Islamic studies journals and projects. Generally speaking, my published work addresses South Asian Islam, theories and history of religion, and the racialization of Islam. My first book, Indian Muslim Minorities and the 1857 Rebellion, was published by I.B. Tauris in 2017. I’m working on other projects, mostly around boundaries of the study of Islam, memorialization of Islamic history in South Asia, and histories of Islamophobia and the racialization of Muslims.
My research engages in the history of art, architecture, and visual culture of South Asia from the late eighteenth century to the present. I am particularly interested in the tensions and struggles that emerge within visual culture at moments that present themselves as transitional (but usually do not constitute a true “break”)—the early British presence on the subcontinent, the anti-colonial movement of the early twentieth century, the decades after India’s independence in 1947, and the economic and political machinations of the long 1980s. I’ve written on urban space, architecture, cemeteries, amateur lithographs, popular painting, photography, modernist painting and sculpture, film, television, and museum display. Throughout my work I am attentive to the interplay between space and the activities it shapes and enables, as well as the temporality of movement, performance, and duration as embodied by textiles, photographs, paintings, and people. At the core of each of these engagements lies an attentive commitment to visual culture in its materiality, its instability, its active role for history, and its reconstitution in different epistemes under changing political demands.
I’m currently working on my dissertation, tentatively titled “Collateral Development Cultures and the Literature of Precarious States.” My research deals with literary engagements with the policies, practices, and social transformations of neoliberal development institutions. Focusing mainly on form and aesthetic disruption, I explore development as a mode of hegemonic, normative reason that imposes epistemologies and ontologies onto “developing” subjects. My dissertation argues that writers, particularly those within the “global Anglophone” tradition, have adopted new techniques to disrupt or “decolonize” the governing rationality of neoliberal development policies.
Areas: Contemporary Hinduism and Islam Research interests: Nationalism, Religion and Media, Religion in Popular Culture, Secularism, Gender
Specializes in mass market romance fiction and mainstream Indian cinema. Co-Vice President of the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance.
Historian of religion and law in South and Southeast Asia, using Sanskrit texts and inscriptions in Prakrit, Sanskrit, Old Javanese, and Classical Tamil. I study the formation and spread of Brahmanical ideals and institutions in the ancient and early medieval periods. National Endowment for the Humanities fellow, 2020–21 American Council for Learned Societies fellow, 2020–21
Hussein Rashid, PhD, is founder of islamicate, L3C, a consultancy focusing on religious literacy and cultural competency. He works with a variety of NGOs, foundations, non-profits, and governmental agencies for content expertise on religion broadly, with a specialization on Islam. His work includes exploring theology, the interaction between culture and religion, and the role of the arts in conflict mediation. Hussein has a BA in Middle Eastern Studies from Columbia University, a Masters in Theological Studies focusing on Islam, and an MA and PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, focusing on South and Central Asia from Harvard University. He is a contingent faculty member and has taught at Hofstra University, Fordham University, Iona College, Virginia Theological Seminary, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, SUNY Old Westbury, Barnard College, Columbia University, and The New School. His research focuses on Muslims and American popular culture. He writes and speaks about music, comics, movies, and the blogistan. He also has a background in South and Central Asian studies, with a deep interest in Shi’i justice theology. He has published academic works on Muslims and American Popular Culture, Malcolm X, qawwali, intra-Muslim racism, teaching Shi’ism, Islam and comics, free speech, Sikhs and Islamophobia, Muslims in film, and American Muslim spaces of worship. His current project focuses on the role of technology in teaching religion. He is a fellow with The Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship in Social Entrepreneurship, the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, and the Truman National Security Project. He was a fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, and a term member on the Council of Foreign Relations. He is on the advisory boards of The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art (Building Bridges Program), Sacred Matters, Anikaya Dance Theater, the Tanenbaum Center, and Al-Rawiya. He served on the advisory board of Project Interfaith, Everplans, Intersections International, Deily, and the British Council’s Our Shared Future Program. He is currently working with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan as a content expert. He was on the editorial boards of Religion Dispatches, The Islamic Monthly, and Cyber Orient, in addition to being an emeritus scholar at State of Formation. Hussein appears on mainstream media, including CNN, Channel 4 (UK), Al-Jazeera America, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and has published at On Faith (Washington Post), Belief Blog (CNN), On Being (NPR), The Revealer, and as a contributor to Religion News Service.
Cultural Studies. Poetry. South Asia