February 13, 2017
Ciftci receives two grants to study how Islam affects democracy, politics
The initiative offers six types of grants to scholars who are integrating religion into academic research, theory and teaching.
The nearly $10,000 Project Launch Grant will allow Ciftci to pursue his project, "Seeking Justice from Cairo to Istanbul: Islam, Social Justice and Democracy in the Middle East." The project will investigate how religion informs social justice views and governance models in the Middle East. Ciftci is one of 15 award recipients in North America.
"Support from the GRRI will provide the necessary funds to carry out my preliminary analysis and initial fieldwork for this project," Ciftci said. "The study contributes to our understanding of Islam and democracy by combining insights from the review of vast theoretical scholarship and analysis of micro foundation of political attitudes in Turkey and the other Muslim-majority societies in the Middle East."
Award recipients needed to focus on contemporary religions in the Middle East, Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean or the Pacific Islands. Proposed research had to be verifiable through testing, grounded in appropriate theories and literatures, and likely to promote the effort to integrate the study of religion into social science.
The Curriculum Development Grant will support revisions to one of Ciftci's courses, Teaching Political Islam, which examines how Islam and politics interact in societies with Muslim-majority populations. Ciftci is one of 12 faculty members in North America to receive the $4,000 grant.
"The grant will help advance the instruction of religion by incorporating social scientific articles, original texts of Muslim political thought, and interactive teaching methods into the course design," Ciftci said. "With such modifications, students will learn about the scientific study of political Islam and obtain the skill set to objectively assess the information about the role of religion in Muslim majority societies."
Ciftci is a Michael W. Suleiman chair in Arab and Arab-American studies. He specializes in the Middle Eastern and Turkish politics, Islam and democracy, and public opinion in the Middle East and North Africa region. His most recent projects examine the interplay of religiosity and political tolerance, political consequences of anti-Americanism, and associations between religious values and Muslim political attitudes.