Middle East and Muslim Societies

Principal InvestigatorNorma Claire Moruzzi, associate professor of political science and gender and women’s studies and director of international studies

The Middle East and Muslim Societies cluster provides an interdisciplinary institutional focus for existing and future UIC faculty to share research interests, resources and energies. With an emphasis on the study of the modern societies, urban populations and ongoing regional transformation, the Middle East and Muslim Societies cluster is broadly inclusive of a geographic region including the southern Mediterranean and west and central Asia, Muslim majority societies of this region and beyond, Muslim immigrant populations, and non-Muslim minorities within Muslim majority populations.

The geopolitical importance of this region and its peoples, and central role it occupies in global politics, make it of great interest to students and scholars of diverse backgrounds. Working collaboratively with core faculty as well as colleagues with topically similar but comparative research interests, the cluster encourages a new institutional emphasis on the study of the modern Middle East and Muslim Societies.

The cluster also provides for increased mentoring and teaching of students, inclusive of Muslims and non-Muslims. Chicago is the home of the second largest Muslim population in the United States, and Muslim students are the third largest self-identified religious group (behind Protestants and Catholics) at UIC. Vibrant student interest, community awareness and multiple Chicago-area resources for research and engagement offer a unique academic context for dynamic learning and scholarship.

Faculty research interests and teaching topics will include the study of social movements, youth and gender identities and demands, labor issues and market integration, minority questions, mobilizations for social justice, issues of environmental and developmental sustainability, and questions of cultural and political representation. New faculty hires for the cluster will be made in these areas and others that strengthen the critical, pluralist study and teaching of the modern Middle East and Muslim Societies.

Initiative Hire(s):