Spanning a number of schools, departments, and centers, Harvard University houses a wide variety of excellent resources for students and scholars in Islamic Studies. For resources affiliated with the Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program, see Alwaleed Research Projects.
Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture
Based at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) is dedicated to the study of Islamic art and architecture, urbanism, landscape design, and conservation – and the application of that knowledge to contemporary design projects. The goals of the program are to improve the teaching of Islamic art and architecture – to promote excellence in advanced research – to enhance the understanding of Islamic architecture, urbanism, and visual culture in light of contemporary theoretical, historical, critical, and developmental issues – and to increase the visibility of Islamic cultural heritage in the modern Muslim world. The Aga Khan Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design oversees the study the impact of development on the shaping of landscapes, cities, and regional territories in the Muslim world and to generate the means by which design at this scale could be improved.
Animals, Law, and Religion
Housed within the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard, Animals, Law, and Religion (ALR) is an inter-disciplinary and comparative project that works at the intersection of religious laws and practices and animal welfare and rights. The project focuses on both the academic study of how religious laws and practices deal with animals and on the practical implications of such laws and practices in communities around the world. As such, participants in the project’s activities include academics, religious leaders, and activists. ALR includes significant attention to Islam and Islamic law; as a comparative project, its interests span all religions.
Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art
The Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at the Arthur M. Sackler Museum is responsible for over 60,000 works spanning more than 7,000 years, from Neolithic times to the present. Devotional and secular works from Islamic cultures express the dynamic history of the diverse peoples in Western, Central, and South Asia who produced them. The Islamic holdings, especially strong in works on paper, include brilliantly patterned textiles, intricately worked metal wares, austere calligraphies, iridescent ceramics, and exquisite illustrations to works of poetry.
Harvard Middle Eastern and Islamic Review
The Harvard Middle Eastern and Islamic Review (HMEIR) is Harvard’s principal journal dealing with the Middle East and the world of Islam. Founded in 1994 and sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, HMEIR aims at publishing work based on original research and distinguished by the highest quality of scholarship.
Historians of the Ottoman Empire
Initiated in the Fall of 2003, the project Historians of the Ottoman Empire at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies aims at filling an extensive gap in the field of Ottoman Studies by offering scholars a major bio-bibliographical reference book on Ottoman historians. The Project is intended to be a major reference work for scholars and students of the Middle East, North Africa, South-East Europe, and the Caucasus, as well as for non-specialists interested in the histories and cultures of these regions.
Initiative on Contemporary Islamic Societies
The Harvard Initiative on Contemporary Islamic Societies at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies is a safe harbor for academics, human rights advocates, and policy specialists from across the Muslim world. It is a venue for substantive discussion at the intersection of human rights, Islamic studies and broader Muslim societal issues. It is directed by Vehbi Koç Professor of Turkish Studies Cemal Kafadar, Department of History.
Iranian Oral History Project
The Iranian Oral History Project at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies is a collection consisting of the personal accounts of 134 individuals who played major roles in or were eyewitnesses to important political events in Iran from the 1920s to the 1980s. Of these, 118 narratives have been digitized and are available to researchers through this database. The collection provides scholars and practitioners the opportunity to listen to and read the personal accounts of many of Iran’s former political leaders as they recall the times and events that shaped their lives and the life of their country.
Islamic Finance Project
The Islamic Finance Project (IFP) is the continuation of the Harvard Islamic Finance Information Program (HIFIP), which was established by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies in 1995. IFP is now part of the Islamic Legal Studies Program (ILSP) at Harvard Law School. It aims to study the field of Islamic finance from the legal and shari’a points of view by analyzing contemporary scholarship, inducing collaboration among scholars within and outside the Muslim world, and increasing the interaction between theory and practice in Islamic finance.
The Islamic Legal Studies Program
Harvard Law School’s Islamic Legal Studies Program (ILSP), established in 1991, is a research program that seeks to advance knowledge and understanding of Islamic law. The Program is dedicated to achieving excellence in the study of Islamic law through objective and comparative methods, and aims to foster an atmosphere of open inquiry that embraces many perspectives: Muslim and non-Muslim, scholar and practitioner, contemporary and classical, Sunni and Shi’i, law and religion. It seeks to promote appreciation of Islamic law as one of the contemporary world’s major legal systems.
Islamopedia Online, supported by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard, provides access to news and background analysis on Muslim countries and Islamic topics that are often absent from Western media because of language barriers or lack of familiarity with the country, the issues or players at stake. Islamopedia Online is a comprehensive database of the most influential religious figures across Muslim countries and their positions translated from Arabic, Urdu, and Farsi on issues like political violence, women and the rights of religious minorities. Islamopedia Online also provides a translation in English of major news at the intersection of religion and politics, as well as background analysis country profiles. There is also an original production of videos from scholars and journalists to better understand the current debates on Islam either in the West or in Muslim-majority countries.
islawmix is a project of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, focusing on the media and policy landscape where Islam and the news mix. The project offers resources, background briefs, and in-depth analysis related to trending issues by a small group of experts who have significant, relevant experience and expertise, in order to connect news readers, media producers, and legal scholars with credible, authoritative information about Islamic law.
Moroccan Studies Program
Housed at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Moroccan Studies Program is the only research and teaching program in the United States dedicated to the study of Morocco and North Africa (the Maghreb). The program promotes teaching, research and publication of sources on Morocco and North Africa across disciplines, including history, politics, anthropology, literature and the arts. Faculty affiliated with the Program teach courses that concentrate on the Contemporary Maghreb. Students specializing in Maghrebi studies benefit from important resources in Harvard’s libraries, as well as its peerless photographic, architectural and ethnographic collections.
The Ottoman Court Records Project
The Ottoman Court Records Project at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies makes available Ottoman court records not only to Ottoman scholars outside of Turkey, but also to the wider academic community, particularly those in disciplines such as law for whom the Ottoman court registers would constitute a new and untapped source. Since its inception, though, it has blossomed into an international effort involving the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (Harvard University), the Center for Islamic Studies (ISAM), and Sabanci University Press.
The Pluralism Project
The Pluralism Project: World Religions in America is a decade-long research project, with current funding from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, to engage students in studying the new religious diversity in the United States. We will explore particularly the communities and religious traditions of Asia and the Middle East that have become woven into the religious fabric of the United States in the past twenty-five years.
The Religious Literacy Project
The Religious Literacy Project is a new initiative begun in 2011 that will enable Harvard Divinity School to continue its nearly four decades of leadership in religious studies and education in the United States. As a successor to the Program in Religious Studies and Education (a ground-breaking teacher-education program within HDS, founded in 1972), the Religious Literacy Project will be a virtual resource and research center housed at the Center for the Study of World Religions. Its primary aim will be to create and maintain resources designed primarily for public-school teachers and their students that will promote a better understanding of the religious dimensions of multiculturalism in civic life.
The Rev. Claude L. Pickens, Jr. Collection on Muslims in China at the Harvard Yenching Library
Over 1000 photos of Muslims and Christian missionaries working among them in Western China in the 1920s and 1930s form the core of this collection, which is supplemented by several hundred books, pamphlets, broadsides, etc., in several languages. Gift of Rev. Claude L. Pickens, Jr. in memory of Joseph Fletcher Professor of Chinese and Inner Asian History at Harvard University.