- Near Eastern Studies
Position: Core Faculty
Title: Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies.
Office: 115 Jones Hall
Office Hours: W 10:00 - 12:00
Mirjam Künkler joined the Department in 2007. Her research interests are in the politics of law and religion in Iran and Indonesia. She has completed a book manuscript on social movements, Islamic thought and political reform in Indonesia and Iran, and is currently working on a book that analyzes the role of law in structuring regime-opposition relations in the Islamic Republic of Iran (1979–2009).
Of broader comparative interest to her are questions about
- Political and Constitutional thought in Iran and Indonesia.
- Female Religious Authority in 20th-century Iran.
Künkler is the co-convener of a two-year Oxford-Princeton research cluster on "Traditional authority and transnational religious networks in contemporary Shi‘i Islam,” and co-PI of the "Iran Social Science Data Portal" funded by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). From Fall 2013 on, she will also lead a research cluster on “Religion and Constitutionalism” at the Institute of Advanced Study, Bielefeld (ZIF).
She is the Trustee for Princeton University to the American Institute for Iranian Studies (AIIrS), a Member of the MESA Committee on Academic Freedom, deputy chair of the Scientific Advisory Council for the Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University of Duisburg, and a former Member of the Board of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies (ASPS).
Künkler has been a visiting scholar at the Faculty of Social Science, University of Tehran, Iran; the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Jakarta; the Islamic State University (UIN), Alauddin Makassar (Sulawesi), Indonesia; the International Institute for the Sociology of Law (IISJ), Spain; the Graduate School of Muslim Cultures and Societies at the Free University in Berlin; the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB); and the Politics Department at the University of Oxford.
Before joining Princeton, Künkler served as the Deputy Director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, Toleration and Religion (CDTR) at Columbia University, under the directorship of Professor Alfred Stepan.
Mirjam Künkler has been an examiner on the following Ph.D. Dissertations: “The Contentious Politics Of Educational Equity In Iran,” “Asymmetry of Interest: Turkish-Iranian Relations since 1979,” “An Institutional History Of The Iranian Construction Jihad: From Inception To Institutionalization (1979–2011),” “Institutionalizing Religion: Islamic Religious Authorities and Support for Democracy in the Middle East,” “The Transformation of Religious Authority of the Ulama and Islamic Law in the Volga-Ural Muslim Community under Russian Imperial Rule,” and “Shi‘i Islamism and Gender in Iraq: The Life and Work of Bint al-Huda in the Memory and Agenda of Shi‘i Women’s Activism Post-2003.”
She has also served as external examiner of Ph.D. dissertations at Columbia University, the Free University of Berlin, and the European University Institute in Florence.
In the fall semester of 2013, Künkler will teach the undergraduate seminar “Political and Economic Development of the Middle East” (POL 268/NES 265) and the graduate seminar “Politics of the Contemporary Muslim World” (NES 567).
RECENT AND FORTHCOMING PUBLICATIONS:
Künkler, Mirjam and Tine Stein (eds.): Law, Religion and Democracy in the Thought of Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde. English translation of selected writings of Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, edited and with introductions by Mirjam Künkler and Tine Stein.
Künkler, Mirjam, and Alfred Stepan (eds.): Indonesia, Islam and Democracy, Columbia University Press, 2013.
Künkler, Mirjam, and Julia Leininger (eds., 2009): Zur Rolle von Religion in Demokratisierungsprozessen. Comparative Study of the Role of Religious Institutions in Democratic Transition and Consolidation Processes. Schriftenreihe Politik und Religion. VS-Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Wiesbaden.
ARTICLES and BOOK CHAPTERS
Künkler, Mirjam, and Yüksel Sezgin. “Regulation of “Religion” and the “Religious”: The Politics of Judicialization and Bureaucratization in India and Indonesia”. Forthcoming in Comparative Studies of Society and History.
Künkler, Mirjam. “Constitutionalism, Islamic Law, and Religious Freedom in Post-Independence Indonesia,” in Asli Bali and Hanna Lerner (eds.), Religion in Constitution-Writing, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2014.
Künkler, Mirjam, and Yüksel Sezgin. “Diversity in Democracy: Religious Privilege in
Largely Secular Legal Systems. Introduction.” Journal of Law and Religion, 28, 2 (2013), 337–340. Introduction to symposium guest-edited by the authors.
Brocker, Manfred, and Mirjam Künkler. "Religious parties: Revisiting the inclusion-moderation hypothesis - Introduction," Party Politics, 19 (March 2013), 171–186. Introduction to special issue guest-edited by the authors.
Künkler, Mirjam. “Forgotten Histories of and New State Initiatives for Female Religious Authority in Islam.” Accepted in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society.
Künkler, Mirjam. “Religion-State Relations and Democracy in Egypt and Tunisia: Models from the Democratizing Muslim World – and their Limits.” Swiss Political Science Review, 18 (2012), pp. 114–119.
Fazaeli, Roja, and Mirjam Künkler. “Training Female Ulama in Jami’at al-Zahra – New Opportunities for Old Role Models?” in Robert Gleave (ed.), Knowledge and Authority within the Hawza, I.B. Tauris,2013.
Künkler, Mirjam. “Muftiyah”, “Nosrat Amin,” and “Zohreh Sefati.” Entries in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women, Oxford University Press.
Künkler, Mirjam. “Electoral Victory, Political Defeat: The Elimination of Zones of Autonomy in Khatami’s Iran,” in Actors, Institutions and Regime Resiliency: New Challenges to Democracy from Old Sources, edited by Scott Mainwaring and Douglas Chalmers, Notre Dame University Press, 2012, 166–202.
Künkler, Mirjam, and Roja Fazaeli. “The life of two mujtahidahs: Female Religious Authority in 20th century Iran,” in Women, Leadership and Mosques: Contemporary Islamic Authority, edited by Masooda Bano and Hilary Kalmbach, Brill Publishers, 2011, pp. 127–160.
Künkler, Mirjam. “The Special Court of the Clergy (Dadgah-e Vizheh-ye Ruhaniyat) and the Repression of Dissident Clergy in Iran,” in Constitutionalism, the Rule of Law and the Politics of Administration in Egypt and Iran, edited by Said Arjomand and Nathan Brown, SUNY Press, 2012, pp. 57–100.
Künkler, Mirjam. “Irão: uma juristocracia autoritária?” in Relações Internacionais, IPRI, Lisbon. Vol. 26, July 2010, pp. 69–82.
Künkler, Mirjam and Julia Leininger (2009). “The Multi-faceted Role of Religious Actors in Democratization Processes: Empirical Evidence from Five Young Democracies” in Democratization, Vol. 16 (6), Dec 2009, pp. 1058–1092.
Künkler, Mirjam. “Democracy.” Entry in the Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, Princeton University Press.
Künkler, Mirjam. “Theocracy.” Entry in the Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, Princeton University Press.
Künkler, Mirjam (2010). Book Review of Asef Bayat: “Making Islam Democratic. Social Movements and the Post-Islamist Turn,” in the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 42, 4, pp. 722–723.
Künkler, Mirjam, and Julia Leininger (2010). “Politics and Religion” in The Encyclopedia of Political Science, American Political Science Association, SAGE Publications. 2010.
Künkler, Mirjam, and Julia Leininger (2009). “Säkularisierung,” in Dieter Nohlen and Rainer-Olaf Schultze (eds.): Lexikon der Politikwissenschaft, Theorien, Methoden, Begriffe, 3. Auflage. Beck Verlag, 2009.
Künkler, Mirjam (2008). “A New Standard in the Studies of Southeast Asian Islam,” Review of Greg Fealy and Virginia Hooker (eds): Voices of Islam in Southeast Asia – A Contemporary Sourcebook. Singapore: ISEAS, 2006; in Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 2008, 1, pp. 111–113.
Künkler, Mirjam (2008). “Zum Verhältnis Staat-Religion und der Rolle islamischer Intellektueller in der indonesischen Reformasi” in Stephanie Garling and Simon W. Fuchs (eds.): Religion in Diktatur und Demokratie – Zur Bedeutung von religiösen Werten, Praktiken und Institutionen in politischen Transformationsprozessen. Villigster Profile. Wuppertal. pp. 84–102.
Künkler, Mirjam, and Michael Meyer-Resende (2007). A Missing Link: Why Europe Should Talk About Religion when Promoting Democracy Abroad, Discussion Paper No.1, June 2007. Democracy Reporting International, Berlin.
Künkler, Mirjam (2007). “After The Revolution is Before The Revolution” Review of Farhad Nomani and Sohrab Behdad: Class and Labor in Iran: Did the Revolution Matter? in Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 60, 2, pp. 213–217.
Stepan, Alfred, and Mirjam Künkler (2007). “An Interview With Amien Rais,” in Journal of International Affairs, Special Issue on Religion and Statecraft, Vol. 61, 1, pp. 205–216.
Künkler, Mirjam (2004). “Advocating Women’s Rights in the Language of Islamic Sacred Texts. The Tripartite Struggle For Women’s Rights In Iran.” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs , Vol. 24, 2, pp. 375–392.
Künkler, Mirjam. “Education in Iran’s Foreign Policy: A transnational network of Jami’at al-Zahra?” presented at the workshop Clerical Authority in Shi’ite Islam: Studying the Hawza, held at Keble College, the University of Oxford, March 26-28, 2012.
Künkler, Mirjam, and Hanna Lerner. “Religion in Public Education in Israel and Indonesia: Deepening or Eroding Democratic Citizenship?”
Künkler, Mirjam, and Yüksel Sezgin. “Heterogeneity and Democracy in India and Indonesia: When does Legal Pluralism enhance, when does it erode the Legitimacy of and Trust in Democratic Institutions?”
On March 6–8, 2014, Keiko Sakurai (Waseda University) and Mirjam Künkler will convene the workshop “Female Religious Authority in Islam,” at Princeton University.
On October 3–5, 2013, Morgan Clarke (Social Anthropology, Oxford) and Mirjam Künkler will convene the workshop “De-Centering Shi‘ism? Center and Periphery in contemporary Shi‘i Authority,” at Princeton University.
On January 7–9, 2013, Morgan Clarke (Social Anthropology, Oxford) and Mirjam Künkler convened the workshop “Traditional authority and transnational religious networks in contemporary Shi‘i Islam: Results from Recent Fieldwork,” at St. Antony’s College, Oxford.
On July 9–13, 2012, Hanna Lerner (TAU), Shylashri Shankar (CPR), Asli Bali (UCLA), and Mirjam Künkler convened the international workshop “Constitution-Making, Human Rights and Religion” at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy. Contributions to the workshop are forthcoming in Asli Bali and Hanna Lerner (eds.) Religion in Constitution-Writing, Cambridge University Press.
On June 6–8, 2012, Professor Christophe Jaffrelot (CERI, Paris and Luce Fellow, Princeton University) and Mirjam Künkler convened the workshop “Networks of Religious Learning and the Dissemination of Religious Knowledge across Asia” at the University of Hong Kong. The workshop was part of the SSRC’s Inter-Asian Connections Program 2012. Contributions to the workshop have been submitted as a special issue to a leading journal in the field.
On June 9–11, 2011, Professor Yüksel Sezgin (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, and 2012 Luce Fellow, Princeton) and Mirjam Künkler convened the workshop “Legal Pluralism and Democracy. When does Legal Pluralism enhance, when does it erode Legitimacy of and Trust in Democratic Institutions?” at the International Institute for the Sociology of Law (IISJ) in Oñati, Spain. Contributions to the workshop are published here (Vol. 28,2).
On May 26–28, 2011, Shylashri Shankar (CPR), David Mednicoff (Amherst), and Mirjam Künkler convened the international workshop “A Secular Age: Beyond the West” at the International Institute for the Sociology of Law (IISJ) in Oñati, Spain. Contributions to the workshop have been submitted as an edited volume to a leading university press.
On March 18–20, 2010, Professor Manfred Brocker (University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt and 2009/2010 Luce Fellow, Princeton) and Mirjam Künkler convened the workshop “Religious Political Parties in Democratic Consolidation Processes” at Princeton University. Contributions to the workshop are published here.
On February 4–5, 2010, Julia Leininger (German Institute for Development) and Mirjam Künkler convened a research workshop on “The Role of Islamic Organizations and Authorities in the Democratization Processes of Albania, Indonesia, Mali, Senegal, and Turkey” at Princeton University.
In April 2009, Professor Alfred Stepan (Columbia University) and Mirjam Künkler convened the conference “Indonesia post-1998: A Democratic Decade?” at Columbia University.
In March 2009, Professor Hanna Lerner (Tel Aviv University) and Mirjam Künkler convened the workshop 'Law, Religion and Democracy' at the 10th Mediterranean Research Meeting of the European University Institute, Florence, Italy.
Together with Shafiq Hasyim, Künkler organized the Workshop “Women’s Rights Advocacy, Islam and the Public Sphere: Comparative Perspectives by Iranian and Indonesia Activists”, sponsored by the International Center for Islam and Pluralism (ICIP), Jakarta, held at the Islamic Boarding School Cipasung, Java, Indonesia, February 11–16, 2007.
Mirjam Künkler has received fellowships and research awards from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), the British Academy, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the Henry Luce Foundation, the Institute for Social & Economic Research and Policy (ISERP), the Tokyo and Nippon Foundations (SYLFF), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Geisteswissenschaften International, the British Institute for Persian Studies (BIPS), Columbia University, the University of Oxford, and Princeton University.