I am a Lecturer in Islamic and Middle East Studies at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany. I am interested in how the Islamic scholarly tradition is debated and negotiated in modern and contemporary Muslim societies. My research revolves around the travel of ideas between West, Central, and South Asia. I focus on religious authority, sectarianism, Islamic political thought, the Islamic schools of law, and the relationship of Islam and science. Fieldwork over the last couple of years has led me to Egypt, Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Tunisia, and Lebanon. My work draws on materials in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu.


Before coming to Freiburg in October 2017, I was a Research Fellow in Islamic Studies at Gonville & Caius College, University of Cambridge. I completed my PhD in September 2015 at Princeton University's Department of Near Eastern Studies. My dissertation “Relocating the Centers of Shīʿī Islam: Religious Authority, Reform, and the Limits of the Transnational in Colonial India and Pakistan” was advised by Prof. Muhammad Qasim Zaman.


I am currently working on two new projects. The first is a global history of the Iranian Revolution and its intellectual impact, in particular among Islamist and leftist groups in the Middle East and South Asia. My goal is to recover the “1979 moment,” during which the Iranian political model was the envy for many actors in the wider Muslim world. The second, more long-term project a comparative study of the diverging fate of the Sunni Islamic schools of law (madhhahib) during the 19th and 20th century. Through the prism of internal discussions which involved religious scholars, intellectuals, and politicians, I hope to answer further-reaching questions of religion-state relations, global Islam, and Muslim modernities.


Copyright © 2019 Simon Wolfgang Fuchs. All rights reserved.


Library of Mahmudabad Castle (Uttar Pradesh, India)