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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Islamic Civilization & Societies: Establishing a New Major with a U.S. Department of Education Grant

Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life


Kathleen Bailey
Boston College

Date: Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Time: 12:00-1:15PM
Location: Boisi Center, 24 Quincy Rd


Abstract: In 2007, Boston College received a Department of Education grant to establish a new major in Islamic Civilization and Societies (ICS). A collaborative and interdisciplinary endeavor by five departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, the mission of the ICS program is to give students an academically rigorous, structured, and coherent introduction to the study of the Muslim world and to improve undergraduate instruction in crucial but less commonly taught foreign languages. In this talk, ICS Associate Director Kathleen Bailey will discuss the challenges inherent in the establishment of the program. What role should the study of religion play in liberal education? What challenges arise when teaching about Islam at a Catholic university? And to what extent should the U.S. government promote the study of religion at the university level? 


Kathleen Bailey is Adjunct Associate Professor of Political Science at Boston College and Associate Director of the Islamic Civilizations and Societies Program at Boston College. She specializes in Central Asian affairs, in particular political leadership and clan politics in Uzbekistan, as well as interethnic relations in the wider region. Her current research focuses on comparative authoritarianism and the historical legacy of autocratic regimes. She is the author of the forthcoming Clan and Politics in Uzbekistan. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Women’s Studies, Obozrenie, Central Asian Studies.Professor Bailey teaches courses on the Middle East, Central Asia, comparative empires, and the Persian Gulf states. She received her M.A. from Tufts University and her B.A. and Ph.D. from Boston College.


In the News

In March and April, colleges and universities across the world celebrated Islam Awareness Week. On Wednesday, April 25, the associate director of the Islamic Civilization and Societies Program at Boston College, Kathleen Bailey, discussed the challenges of establishing the program. Listen to the audio of her talk.