Scholars in Residence and Research Associates

Dr. Jakob Krais


Jakob Krais has obtained his PhD in Islamic Studies from Freie Universität Berlin in 2016 with a dissertation on historiography and nation-building in Qaddafi’s Libya. He has taught at several universities in Germany and was affiliated with the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) and the Centre Marc Bloch, both in Berlin. Over the last years, he has done research on sports and modernity in colonial Algeria. At the CCMS, Jakob will write his second book which focuses on notions about “muscular Islam,” gender, and middle-classness in late colonial Algeria’s Muslim reform movement. Based on autobiographical and press material, the book will also trace Muslim reformists’ entanglements with local and transnational Christian and Jewish actors in the fields of youth, education, and sports. Jakob’s publications include: “Muscular Muslims: Scouting in Late Colonial Algeria between Nationalism and Religion.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 51, no. 4 (2019); “Girl Guides, Athletes, and Educators: Women and the National Body in Late Colonial Algeria.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 15, no. 2 (2019); “Mastering the Wheel of Chance: Motor Racing in French Algeria and Italian Libya.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 39, no. 1 (2019); “Youth and Sports in Algeria’s Diplomatic Struggle for International Recognition (1957-1962).” The Maghreb Review 42, no. 3 (2017); Geschichte als Widerstand. Geschichtsschreibung und nation-building in Qaḏḏāfīs Libyen. Würzburg: Ergon, 2016.

Dr. Behrang Nabavi Nejad

Dr. Behrang Nabavi Nejad received her PhD in Art History and Visual Studies from the University of Victoria (2017) where she also teaches courses on Islamic art and architecture as a sessional instructor. Her doctoral research examines the illustrations of royal manuscripts of the Persian national epics, the Shāhnāma through an intertextual analysis of the pre-Islamic written sources and contemporary historiographies. Her research proposes three distinctive iconographic categories for the representations of the mythical bird, the Sīmurgh in Persian painting. Behrang is currently preparing her doctoral thesis for publication. She published the second edition of the ARTiculate, as the editor in chief.

Dr. Amyn B. Sajoo

As a specialist in civic culture, religion and law, Amyn Sajoo's current research is at the interface of citizenship, human rights, and religion. He teaches in the departments of History and International Studies here at SFU. Sajoo is the editor of the Muslim Heritage Series (London: I.B. Tauris), in which the fifth volume, The Shari'a: History, Ethics, and Law, was recently published. His paper on “Liberal Citizenship and Religion: Beyond Identity Politics” will be published in a special issue on “Religion & Conflict” this year, of the peer-reviewed journal Politics & Governance.

Since 2018, Sajoo has hosted a series of public conversations at the intersection of identity, Islam & citizenship, co-sponsored by CCSMC and the Ismaili Centres in Vancouver and Toronto. Onstage guests in the series have included John Ralston Saul, one of Canada’s leading public intellectuals, Catherine Dauvergne, dean of the UBC Law School, Benjamin Berger, author of the acclaimed Law’s Religion, Abdallah Daar, one of the world’s leading experts on public health, and the celebrated Vancouver architect, Farouk Noormohamed. Bioethics was the focus of two conversations, featuring Drs. Akber Mithani (UBC-Providence Healthcare) and Naheed Dosani (University of Toronto). Upcoming sessions will explore the role of creative arts and empathy in bridging secular and religious identities. Indeed, this was also the theme of Sajoo’s contribution to the Centre’s 2019 Ibadi summer school, in which he explored the evolving aesthetics of religiosity.

Youcef Soufi

Youcef Soufi is in the final stages of completing his book, The Rise and Fall of Critical Islam, which examines the formation of a legal debate culture in 10th century Iraq and Persia. He has used his last year with the CCMS to present sections of the book before public and academic audiences in Vancouver and elsewhere, gaining invaluable feedback for the final product. In addition, his contribution to the Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law came out in hardcopy and he has contributed an article to an forthcoming book on Islamic dialectic.