Experts

Muslimsubjects.org brings together leading experts in government and academia from all over the world who provide the highest quality research, policy recommendations and analysis on a range of issues related to Islam and Muslims.  Their biographies are listed below.


Mohammed Ayoob
University Distinguished Professor of International Relations, he holds a joint appointment in James  Madison College and the Department of Political Science (Ph.D, Political Science, University of Hawaii). He  is also the Coordinator of the Muslim Studies Program housed in International Studies and Programs and  Coordinator of the Muslim Studies Specialization administered by James Madison College. He has held faculty  appointments at the Australian National University and Jawaharlal Nehru University in India, and visiting  appointments at Columbia, Sydney, Princeton, Oxford, and Brown Universities and at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey.  A specialist on conflict and security in the Third World, his publications on the subject have included conceptual essays as well as case studies dealing with South Asia, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, and Southeast Asia. He has also researched, taught and published on the intersection of religion and politics in the Muslim world. He has received numerous awarded fellowships and research grants from the Ford, Rockefeller, MacArthur, and MSU Foundations, the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, and the East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii and has served as a consultant to the UN. He has authored, co-authored, or edited 12 books and published approximately 90 research papers and scholarly articles in leading journals such as World Politics, International Studies Quarterly, International Studies Review, Foreign Policy, and International Affairs. His books include The Third World Security Predicament: State Making, Regional Conflict, and the International System (Lynne Rienner, 1995), India and Southeast Asia: Indian Perceptions and Policies (Routledge, 1990), The Politics of Islamic Reassertion (St. Martins, 1981) and The Many Faces of Political Islam (University of Michigan Press, 2008).


Safoi Babana-Hampton
 Assistant Professor at Michigan State University, she teaches 20th and 21st century French and Francophone  literatures (PhD in Modern French Studies from University of Maryland College Park). She is a core faculty  member of Global Studies, Muslim Studies, African Studies and an affiliate faculty of Jewish Studies. Her current  research project is a comparative study of images of multicultural citizenship in literary and filmic productions in  the Maghreb and the Maghrebi diaspora in France. She is the author of Reflexions littéraires sur l’espace public  marocain dans l’oeuvre d’Abdellatif Laâbi (Summa Publications, 2008).  She has also authored articles focusing  on conceptions of multiculturalism, citizenship, interfaith relations, interart dialogue and artistic hybridity in Francophone literary and filmic narratives.  Her previous research focused on the works of Moroccan filmmakers Laila Marrakchi and Nabil Ayouch and Quebecois filmmaker Robert Lepage; her most recent studies also include the literary work of Moroccans Gracia Cohen, Rita El Khayat and Fatéma Mernissi, Franco-Canadian Nancy Huston, Franco-Czech Milan Kundera and Haitian-Canadian writer Gérard Étienne.  She is a recipient of a Fulbright scholarship and an American Institute for Maghrib Studies research grant.


 Sue Carter
 Professor of Journalism, she has more than thirty-five years experience as both a reporter/anchor for radio and  television and as a professor of journalism. Her expertise in the field of journalism is augmented by her education  as a lawyer, with relevant training in intellectual property issues, particularly in the areas of free press, free speech,  and religious freedoms. Unique to these credentials is her status as an ordained clergywoman. She received a M.Div  from The General Theological Seminary in May 2009.  Among her previous positions she served as the Press  Secretary to Michigan Governor James Blanchard and as the Secretary of the Michigan State University Board of  Trustees. As a court-appointed civil mediator, she works to build consensus out of conflict.


Beth Drexler
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of Peace and Justice Studies, her research projects in Aceh, Indonesia, and East Timor explore how societies address the legacies of political violence, emphasizing the relationships among institutions, transnational interventions, historical narratives, and contested memories in establishing the rule of law and reconstructing social and political life—or failing to do so. Her recent ethnography, Aceh, Indonesia: Securing the Insecure State (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008, awarded the Cecil B. Currey Book Award), critiques models of ethnic separatism and civil war that are based on false separations between the state and its opponents as well as false condensations of opposition movements into a unified armed independence group.  Her ongoing research considers the implementation of Islamic law in Aceh in relation to redressing past violence and political reconstruction.  As a Fulbright New Century Scholar (2003-04), Drexler initiated a research project in East Timor and Indonesia examining how institutional forms such as tribunals and truth commissions shape individual and collective narratives about past violence and how these narratives contribute to the processes by which institutions of governance become socially and politically legitimate. Her forthcoming coedited volume, After Violence (University of Pennsylvania Press) examines the relationship between memory and justice in comparative context. In addition, she is working on a project examining the problem of knowing and unknowing after mass violence through fiction and film.


 Emine Evered
 Assistant Professor of modern Middle Eastern history (PhD., History, University of Arizona, 2005), she specializes in  the history of the Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic. As an historian of the Middle East and North Africa, Emine  Ö. Evered specializes in analyzing late Ottoman and early nationalist accounts of education and public health as a  means to understanding themes in modernization, nation-building, and ethno-religious particularization. Her  research interests are educational politics, women and  gender in Islam, minorities, national and religious identity,  ethno-national identities, and secularism. She is  currently working on a book manuscript titled Lessons in Empire:  Ottoman Educational Policies and the Politics of  Ethno-Religious Pluralism, 1850-1918. She is a recipient of National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation  fellowship.


 Eric Freedman
 Associate Professor of Journalism and Assistant Dean of International Studies & Programs, he is a winner of the  Pulitzer Prize for reporting and a former Fulbright scholar in Uzbekistan. He earned a bachelor’s degree in  government from Cornell University, a master’s degree in resource development at MSU and a law degree from  New York University. His research interests include press systems, journalism education and professional  practices in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and Western press coverage of Central Asia. At MSU, he is  on the core faculty of the Muslim Studies Program, Center for European and Russian/Eurasian Studies, Asian  Studies Center and Center for Advanced Study of International Development. In addition, he is co-editor of the forthcoming After the Czars and Commissars: The Press in Post-Soviet Authoritarian Central Asia (MSU Press).


 Salah D. Hassan
 Associate Professor in the Department of English at Michigan State University and core faculty in Muslim  Studies Program (PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Texas-Austin, 1997), he is co-director  of the IMAJE project. His areas of expertise include postcolonial literature and theory, mid-20th century  anticolonial intellectual movements, literatures of empire, and Arab North American studies. His current  research project focuses on references to Palestine in contemporary cultural theory. He has published articles  on Palestinian cultural politics in Social Text, New Formations and Journal X. He has written about the racialization of Arabs since 9/11. (See his “Arabs, Race and the Post September 11 Security State” [MER 224 Fall 2002]). He also works on projects of Arab and Muslim self-representation. He is the co-organizer of Rashid & Rosetta an international online art exhibit on the theme of the Rosetta Stone that includes works by Egyptian and Canadian artists. He co-edited with Marcy Newman a special of MELUS (Winter 2006) on Arab American literature. He has edited and co-edited relevant special issues for CR: The New Centennial Review under the following titles: “Terror Wars,” “Cultures of Occupation” and “The Palestine Issue.”


 Mara Leichtman
 Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Muslim Studies at Michigan State University, she is a core faculty member of  the African Studies Center. During the 2007-2008 academic year, she was a visiting fellow at the Zentrum Moderner  Orient/Centre for Modern Oriental Studies in Berlin, Germany, and the International Institute for the Study of Islam in  the Modern World (ISIM) in Leiden, the Netherlands. Her research highlights the interconnections among religion,  migration and politics, and conversion to Shi’i Islam, through examining Muslim institutions and the communities they serve. She has been conducting research in Senegal since 2000. Her research is multi-sited, including fieldwork in Lebanon, France and England examining ties between Senegal and Lebanon, and linkages with transnational Shi’i institutions headquartered in Europe. She recently co-edited a volume (with Mamadou Diouf, Columbia University), New Perspectives on Islam in Senegal: Conversion, Migration, Wealth, Power and Femininity (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). She is also working on a book manuscript preliminarily entitled Becoming Shi’a in Africa: Lebanese Migration and Religious Conversion in Senegal.


 David Robinson
 Professor of History, he has taught African history for the past 40 years at Yale and Michigan State University,  devoting special attention to francophone West Africa and Muslim societies in the 18th through the 20th  centuries. His main research has been in Senegal, resulting in a study of resistance and collaboration with  French expansion along the Senegal River (Chiefs and Clerics: Abdul Bokar Kan and the History of Futa  Toro, Oxford 1975), a study of a jihad of the sword waged by largely Fulbe Muslims from Senegal against the  Bambara societies of Mali (The Holy War of Umar Tal, Oxford, 1985), and a study of the relationships  developed between leading Sufi authorities and the French in turn of the century Senegal and Mauritania (Paths of Accommodation: Muslim Societies and French Colonial Authorities in Senegal and Mauritania, Ohio UP, 2000).  He has collaborated with a number of French scholars of Islam, most particularly Jean-Louis Triaud of Aix-en-Provence, and they have edited two important volumes on Islam within French West Africa (Le Temps des Marabouts, Karthala editions, 1997, and La Tijaniyya, Karthala editions, 2000). He has worked extensively with Matrix over the last 10 years on digital libraries composed of archival and oral materials, for researchers, teachers and students of the field. The most recent grant which he and collaborators at Matrix have received comes from the NEH and is entitled “Pluralism and Adaptation in the Islam of Senegal and Ghana” (2009-12).


 Geri Alumit Zeldes
 Assistant Professor of Journalism, she is also a faculty member in Muslim Studies, Asian Studies and the  Health and Risk Communication Center. She is co-director of the IMAJE project.  She has received five best  paper awards for her scholarly publications, which have appeared in top-tier journals in journalism and mass  communication research. Zeldes has also received recognition for her professional and creative pursuits. The  Asian American Journalists Association awarded her Best Feature story for a report on “The Challenges  Facing Burmese Refugees in Western Michigan,” which aired on a local National Public Radio affiliate. She  recently debuted a documentary titled “Arabs, Jews, & the News” that began broadcasting in November 2009 on WKAR-TV, the PBS station in Lansing. The documentary will be aired throughout the U.S. in 2010. She teaches TV and radio news production courses, as well as graduate courses on “Reporting on Islam,” and “Telling Immigrant Stories.”