NYU Professor, Expert On Muslim Political Identities, Named 2008 Carnegie Scholar


Kanchan Chandra, an associate professor in New York University’s Wilf Family Department of Politics, has been named a 2008 Carnegie Scholar by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Chandra, whose published works include Why Ethnic Parties Succeed: Patronage and Ethnic Head Counts in India (Cambridge University Press), will address the effect of the mobilization of Muslim political identities on democracy.

Each of the 20 scholars selected this year will receive up to $100,000 for a period of up to two years to pursue research advancing the strategic work of the Corporation. Since 2005, the program has supported scholars whose work seeks to promote American understanding of Islam as a religion, the characteristics of Muslim societies, in general, and those of American Muslim communities, in particular.

In researching her study, “Islam and Democracy: The Effect of Institutions,” Chandra will employ a cross-national dataset on the mobilization of ethnic identities by political parties around the world and a series of ethnographic studies. She will test a hypothesis that suggests that the relationship between Islam and democracy may be determined less by the doctrine or practice of Islam and more by the institutional context within which Islam is practiced. Chandra’s multi-disciplinary approach is designed to yield a deeper understanding of the institutional structures that are most likely to produce a benign relationship between Islamic parties and democratic stability.

Previous NYU faculty named Carnegie scholars are: NYU School of Law professors Aziz Huq (2006), Noah Feldman (2005), Richard H. Pildes (2004), and Stephen Holmes (2003); Zvi Ben-Dor Benite (2006), a professor in the Department of History; Michael Gilsenan (2 500

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