Noah Salomon, Associate Professor of Religion and Director of Middle East Studies, has received a prestigious New Directions Fellowship from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a new project, “Thinking Islam across the Sunni-Shi‘i Divide: A New Approach to Islamic Studies.” Among all grants available to humanities scholars, New Directions Fellowships are among the largest in size and longest in duration, providing up to three years of funding.
Prof. Salomon’s project will develop a unique new perspective on key questions that have troubled Islamic studies, and the study of religion at large, for decades. His project will involve extensive travel and language study as well as intensive research into Shi‘i theology, law and politics. In addition to a new scholarly project, the New Directions Fellowship will also enable Prof. Salomon to launch new courses related to his studies.
By advancing Salomon’s research on Islam, the New Directions Fellowship echoes recent recognition of his scholarship, including two prizes for his first book, For Love of the Prophet: An Ethnography of Sudan’s Islamic State (Princeton University Press 2016). In November 2017, Salomon’s book received both the Middle East Studies Association’s Albert Hourani Prize, which recognizes “the very best scholarship in Middle East studies” each year, and the American Academy of Religion’s Award for Excellence in Analytical-Descriptive Studies, which honors the best analytical or theoretical work that takes religion itself as an object of inquiry.
Noah Salmon joined the Carleton faculty in 2010, and received tenure in 2016. He earned a BA from Reed College and an MA (2001) and PhD (2010) from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. At Carleton, he teaches courses on Islam that range from an introductory survey and a close look at Islamic Africa to advanced courses on genres of Islamic biography and the intersections of religion and media
Salomon’s New Directions Fellowship is the latest and largest in a long line of grants, which included a 2013-14 membership at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and an Islam Research Programme Grant from the Government of Holland for work on Muslim minorities in South Sudan (April 2011- November 2012). Salomon’s graduate study was supported by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies Dissertation Fellowship (2007-2008), a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship (2006-2007), and a Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant (2005-2006).
The Mellon Foundation’s New Directions Fellowships are intended to enable strong scholars in the humanities to acquire competency in an academic field other than their primary area of specialization. The Fellowships are unusual in so far as they are long-term investments in a scholar’s intellectual range and pedagogical capacity and do not call for a scholarly product such as a book or research report at the end of the awardee’s leave.