About Princeton Islamic Studies Colloquium

  Spring 2017 Events



Next Event: Wednesday, April 19
"A Preliminary Look: The International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) and U.S. Foreign Policy in Tajikistan"

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Jones 102
Presenter: Alex Long (NES)
Katherine Elgin (WWS)

A light lunch will be served.

Abstract: The International Religious Freedom Act (or IRFA) was signed into law by the Clinton Administration in 1998. The outcome of extensive lobbying in the United States, the law claims simply to reiterate and reinforce existing international instruments that reference religious freedom. Among other things, IRFA requires the U.S. State Department to publish annual reports on religious freedom for each country; particularly egregious infringers are to be labeled countries of particular concern (CPC). Nearly two decades on, however, the devil has been in the details. This essay begins with a discussion of IRFA and considers criticisms and defenses of the project. As context for a closer review of the 2015 Report on Tajikistan, conceptualizations of secularism in the context of the United States and post­-Soviet Tajikistan are introduced. Finally, in the context of a security-­centric bilateral relationship between the United States and Tajikistan, the contents and areas of emphasis in the 2015 Report are examined.


About the PISC

The Princeton Islamic Studies Colloquium is a forum for discussion and peer review of graduate students' research projects and guest scholars' works-in-progress in the field of Islamic Studies. The Islamic Studies Colloquium formed in the spring of 2009 with the hope of encouraging an interdepartmental discussion and circulation of ideas among graduate students and professors with an interest in Islamic Studies.

The colloquium meets once or twice a month over lunch to discuss a pre-circulated paper, and all attendees are expected to have read and reflected on the paper beforehand. A discussant initiates the conversation with a summary of the work in progress' main argument, taking care to identify what the piece contributes to current scholarship as well as the potential for further development. Following the author's response, a moderator conducts an hour of mediated discussion. The forum is led and organized by graduate students.

PISC is supported by the generosity of Princeton University's Department of Religion, the Department and Program of Near Eastern Studies and the Center for the Study of Religion.

Please contact pisc@princeton.edu for more information.


Spring Schedule 2017

             All meetings will take place in Jones 102 at 12pm unless otherwise noted. A light lunch will be served.

Wednesday, February 22: Andrew Leford (SOC)

"The Conditions for the Islamic Struggle with Politics"

Discussant: Killian B. Clarke (POL)

Wednesday, March 15:  Gözde Güran (SOC)

“Moving Money in Times of Crisis: Moral Economies of Hawala”

Discussant: Professor Cyrus Schayegh (NES)

Wednesday, March 29: James Casey (HIS)

“Sacred Surveillance, Special Relationships: The Case of a Syrian Jewish Employee of the Waqf Administration in the French Mandate for Syria”

Discussant: Professor Jonathan M. Gribbetz (NES)

Wednesday, April 19: Alexander Long (NES)

“The geopolitics of religious freedom in Tajikistan: U.S. responses to Tajikistan’s policies on religion”

Discussant: Katherine Elgin (WWS)


2016-2017 PISC Keynote Address

The event will take place on Tuesday, April 25 at 4:30 pm in Jones Hall 202

Tuesday, April 25: Professor Frank Griffel, Yale University                      

Professor of Religious Studies, and International and Area Studies Chair, Council on Middle East Studies

"What is Different in Post-Classical Islamic Philosophy?"