For the second year in a row, a University of Washington law professor has been selected as a Carnegie Scholar. Professor Kristen Stilt is one of 21 professors chosen by the Carnegie Corporation of New York for the 2007 class of scholars.
Each Carnegie Scholar will be awarded a grant of up to $100,000 to research themes relating to Islam and the modern world. Stilt, who joined the UW faculty in 2004, will study how political actors view, and seek to implement, the relationship between Islam and the state in three countries: Morocco, Egypt, and Malaysia. As in many countries in the Muslim world, the constitutions of the three countries she will study include the provision that “Islam is the official religion of the state.” This clause, which Stilt calls the “establishment clause,” is a significant rhetorical site for debates about the place of Islam in the state. She will address the crucial question of how actors articulate and advance their agendas with the use of the establishment clause as legal authority. Stilt intends to reach scholars and policymakers both in the United States and the countries she is studying.
Stilt's specialty and main area of research and writing focuses on Islamic law in its classical formulations and contemporary applications. Last year, Stilt was selected to serve as a Research Fellow at the UW Simpson Center for the Humanities for the 2006-07 academic year in order to complete her book on the application of law in medieval Egypt.
Last year, two UW faculty were selected as 2006 Carnegie Scholars: Clark Lombardi, UW School of Law, and Ellis Goldberg, Department of Political Science and Director of the Center of Middle Eastern Studies.
The goal of the Carnegie Corporation's 2007 grants is to build a body of thoughtful and original scholarship to encourage the development and expansion of the study of Islam in the United States. This year's scholars were selected from an array of universities and institutions, indicating that Islamic studies is a growing area of interest among American academics.