Modern Islamic Studies

I'm working on a concentration in Modern Islamic Studies here at Olin, leveraging the tools of geography, politics, critical religious studies, and sociology to study the major events and social movements of the so-called "Muslim world" in the past 100 years or so.  I'm especially interested in understanding conflict and terrorism and how these are viewed and analyzed from an Islamic perspective.


Ethnographic Study of Palestinian Islamism
Humanities Capstone Project, Spring 2010

To properly answer modern questions about Hamas, we should step back and interrogate the origins of Palestinian Islamism.  I analyze the cultural and religious transformations of the intifada generation, leveraging Lybarger's ethnographic work as a primary source for understanding crucial shifts in religious attitudes and behaviors through the eyes of everyday Palestinians.

Understanding the 1987 Palestinian Intifada
Societies in Conflict, Spring 2009

Sociological approach that uses Norbert Elias' theory of Established and Outsiders to understand what sparked the popular uprising and ensuing violence in the occupied territories.

Khomenei's Departure from Tradition and Fundamentalism
Islam in the Modern World, Spring 2008

Analysis of Ayatollah Khomenei's actions as the first supreme ruler of Iran indicates that his policies and actions do not conform to what might be considered the strict "Islamic fundamentalist" perspective.

Reconciling Quran and Science
Islam in the Modern World, Spring 2008

This paper critically compares the exegesis processes used by
Sayyid Ahmad Khan and Maurice Bucaille, two major thinkers of the last 150 years who propose that Islam is concordant with the discoveries of modern science.

Pragmatic Reevaluation of US Policy towards the Israel-Palestinian Conflict
The U.S. and the Muslim World, Spring 2007

This paper makes recommendations for a revised policy for U.S. diplomacy in the region in light of Hamas' election to power in 2006 and the chaos and violence that ensued shortly after.