Carnegie Corporation Announces 2005 Carnegie Scholars, Including Mount Holyoke's Sohail Hashmi

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 - 12:00

For immediate release:
April 21, 2005

Scholars Program Begins Focus on Islamic Scholarship

New York, NY--Carnegie Corporation of New York has named Sohail Hashmi, Associate Professor of International Relations at Mount Holyoke College, as one of sixteen Carnegie Scholars, all of whom will study themes focusing on Islam and the modern world.

The goal of the Corporation's new emphasis on Islam is to encourage the development and expansion of the study of Islam within the United States and to stimulate research on which to help build a body of thoughtful and original scholarship. In past years, scholars focused on the four program areas of the Corporation. This year's scholars were selected from the largest number of nominations to date. They represent an array of U.S. universities and institutions, indicating that Islam is an area of study that has wide interest. The Corporation is concentrating the Carnegie Scholars program on Islam over the next few years to make the field more central to American research and instruction, significantly expanding the breadth of knowledge necessary to build leadership and guide national and foreign policy.

"The Corporation has decided to focus the Scholars Program on one specific area of vital importance: Islam," says Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation. "Our overall aim is to expand the range of scholarship in order to promote knowledge and understanding about Islam as a religion and about the cultures and communities of Muslim societies both in the United States and abroad."

Carnegie Scholars receive up to $100,000 over a two-year period to pursue research. The 2005 class of scholars reflects a diversity of professional, ethnic and geographical backgrounds. Notably, half the class are young, having received a doctorate in or after 1994; one-third are women; and several have lived in Muslim societies around the world. The range of their professional fields includes Islamic studies, law, religion, history, international relations, politics, anthropology and English and comparative literature.

Carnegie Corporation launched the Carnegie Scholars Program in 1999 to support innovative and path-breaking scholarship on issues related to Corporation program areas. Candidates for the fellowships are first identified by a distinguished group of nominators, then are evaluated and selected in a competitive process by a committee of Carnegie Corporation program leaders and external advisors. This year's class joins a group of 67 Carnegie Scholars who have been selected annually since 2000.

"The selection of the Carnegie Scholars is highly competitive," says Neil Grabois, vice president and director for strategic planning and program coordination for Carnegie Corporation. "Inasmuch as we want to encourage the study of Islam across the country, we look for intellectual risk-takers who will play a leading role in accomplishing this goal."

"We're particularly pleased at the number of younger scholars in this year's class," commented Patricia L. Rosenfield, chair of the Carnegie Scholars Program. "They are well-positioned to provide leadership in promoting research on Islam for years to come."

Carnegie Corporation of New York was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote "the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding." As a grantmaking foundation, the Corporation seeks to carry out Carnegie's vision of philanthropy, which he said should aim "to do real and permanent good in this world." The Corporation's capital fund, originally donated at a value of about $135 million, had a market value of $1.9 billon on September 30, 2004. The Corporation awards grants totaling approximately $80 million a year in the areas of education, international peace and security, international development and strengthening U.S. democracy.

Details on Hashmi's project are:

Sohail H. Hashmi
Associate Professor of International Relations
Mount Holyoke College

Title: Islamic International Law and Public International Law: Convergence or Dissonance?

Hashmi's research explores the current status of Islamic international law in light of the formal accession of Muslim states to public international law. Classical Islamic civilization developed a rich body of laws intended to govern the Islamic state's relations with Muslims and non-Muslims. The theory behind these laws was based on two opposing spheres: dar al-Islam, practiced in Islamic states and grounded in interpretations of Islamic texts and precedents, and dar al-harb, which included non-Muslim legal systems from states and political entities that were conjoined to the Islamic empire as it expanded. Today, these aspects are debated by those who argue that Muslim states should abide by Islamic principles, in effect, a Muslim alliance formed as a subset within the broader global community. Others, the majority, generally accept prevailing international norms in theory and practice. Hashmi proposes that Islamic values provide a normative framework that informs Muslim political culture and shapes domestic and international politics, and that Islam's fundamental moralistic principles may be invoked for the consolidation and support of positive international law rules with the goal of achieving justice and promoting humanity throughout the world. By analyzing how the universal precepts of international law correlate to Muslim concepts and values, Hashmi is expected to break new ground in understanding parallels between Islamic international law and public international law. }