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Fuchs, Simon Wolfgang

Junior Research Fellow


I am a Research Fellow in Islamic Studies at Gonville and Caius College at the University of Cambridge. I am interested in how the Islamic scholarly tradition is debated and negotiated in modern and contemporary Muslim societies. My research in particular revolves around the travel of ideas between the Middle East and South Asia, religious authority, sectarianism, the Islamic schools of law, and the relationship of Islam and science. Fieldwork over the last couple of years has led me to Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. My work draws on materials in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu. Before coming to Cambridge, I completed my PhD in September 2015 at Princeton University's Department of Near Eastern Studies. My dissertation “Relocating the Centers of Shīʿī Islam: Religious Authority, Reform, and the Limits of the Transnational in Colonial India and Pakistan,” advised by Prof. Muhammad Qasim Zaman, explores shifting conceptions of religious authority, debates over religious reform, the intellectual reception of the Iranian revolution, and the changing nature of sectarianism in South Asia. A new project I plan to embark on at Caius is a comparative study of the diverging fate of the Sunni Islamic schools of law in the 19th and 20th century in South Asia and the Middle East. Through the prism of internal discussions which involved religious scholars, intellectuals, and politicians, I hope to answer further-reaching questions of religion-state relations, global Islam, and Muslim modernities.

DISCIPLINE
Religious Studies/Theology
SUB AREAS
Middle East/Near East Studies   
Islamic Thought   
19th-21st Centuries   
South Asian Studies   
History of Religion   
AREAS OF INTEREST
Pakistan   
Iran   
Iraq   
SPECIALTIES
Religious Authority in Islam   
Transnational Shi'ism between the Middle East and   
The History of the Islamic School of Law   
LANGUAGES
Arabic (Fluent)   
Persian (Fluent)   
German (Native)   
French (Advanced)   
Turkish (Elementary)   
Urdu (Advanced)   
EDUCATION
PhD2015Department of Near Eastern StudiesPrinceton University
MA2011Near Eastern StudiesPrinceton University
MA2010Oriental Studies and Political ScienceUniversity of Tübingen
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Simon Wolfgang Fuchs






Gonville and Caius College
Harvey Court
West Road
Cambridge
CB3 9DS
United Kingdom
Phone:+447494989996

personal website