Dr David Taylor has been appointed Director of the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC); the appointment came in to effect on May 1, 2013.
Dr Taylor was a consultant to AKU from 2008-2013 and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London. From 2002-2008 he was based in Karachi as the Vice Provost of the Aga Khan University. Prior to that, he was a faculty member at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, where he became Dean and then Pro-Director with responsibility for teaching. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Panjab University in Chandigarh (India), Jawaharlal Nehru University (Delhi), and the Zentrum Moderner Orient (Berlin).
Dr Taylor holds a PhD in Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He graduated in History in 1966 from the University of Cambridge and completed his MA in Area Studies at SOAS.
Dr Taylor’s research interests include; Indian nationalism and its determinants; Indian political thought; right-wing political movements in India; political economy of India and the nature of the Indian state; mass media and politics in India; Islam and politics in Pakistan.
Commenting on his appointment, Dr Taylor said: “I am extremely proud to become the Director of the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations. It is a great privilege to be asked to lead the Institute’s continued development. I look forward to building on the important foundations put in place under the leadership of Dr Farouk Topan, Interim Director of AKU-ISMC and Professor Abdou Filali-Ansary, the Founding Director.”
Dr Jamal J. Elias has been appointed Special Advisor to AKU-ISMC. Dr Elias took up his appointment on June 1.
Dr Elias is the Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies and South Asia Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has served as Chair of both these departments. Dr Elias is an expert on the study of Islam and Muslim Societies and is the author of seven books and more than fifty articles dealing with topics such as the study of the Qur'an, Sufism, literature, history, art and modern society. His writings have been translated into ten languages.
Dr Elias holds a PhD and MPhil in Religious Studies from Yale University. He graduated in Religious Studies from Stanford University and received his MA from the University of Pennsylvania in Oriental Studies. Before becoming a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr Elias lectured at Brown University, Yale University and Amherst College, where he was Professor and Chair of the Department of Religion. Dr Elias will retain his position at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr Elias said: “I am honoured and proud to be part of the leadership team at the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, a unique institution not just in the United Kingdom but also in the world. The Institute is going through an exciting period of growth and transition, and it is wonderful to be able to help in making it an even better place than it already is.”
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