MA in Islamic Studies
Columbia is a leading institution in the field of Islamic Studies. The distinguished history of scholarship at the university dates to the 19th century, based on innovative faculty research and publication on such venerable topics as Islamic law and the study of the Qur’an, alongside instruction in regional languages.
The Masters in Islamic Studies now offered by the Middle East Institute is an interdisciplinary program focusing on the critical academic study of the religious and intellectual traditions of Islam and on the diverse regional histories, cultures, and social formations of Muslim communities around the world. The program offers instruction in the classic areas of law, literature and history and also in the new inquiries of social scientists, feminist and gender research, media and film, and colonial and postcolonial studies--an Islamic Studies for the 21st century.
The MEI eagerly accepted a new role in fostering and promoting this fresh conception of Islamic Studies across the university. The faculty members identified with our MA Program span the departments, schools and other units, such as Union Theological Seminary. This revitalized program in Islamic Studies activates an important intellectual network at the university, one that consists of widely dispersed scholars and projects, involving numerous unrealized connections and unengaged strengths.
In the estimation of the Academic Review Committee (2017),
a rigorous MA degree in Islamic Studies…is a potential differentiator of Columbia and the MEI. The need for the interdisciplinary study of Islam and the Middle East cannot be overstated, and it behooves Columbia, with its rich intellectual resources and eminent legacy to lead in this area.
The pressing priorities associated with this re-launch of the Islamic Studies MA Program under the auspices of the MEI are 1) to establish a regular position for a program coordinator and advisor, who also would teach the requisite core course for incoming students, and 2) to secure competitive fellowship support to attract the best students.