Pierce Visiting Scholar Talib at Oxford
By Ansley Holder, March 31, 2017
The Pierce Visiting Scholar program is an exchange between Oxford College and Oxford University. The 2017 scholar is Mohammad Talib.
Educated in India and currently a professor in the United Kingdom, Mohammad Talib made his first ever visit to the United States the week of March 27 on the invitation of Oxford College to speak to students on campus.
As the 2017-2018 Pierce Visiting Scholar, Talib was chosen to represent the University of Oxford in this faculty exchange program between the “two Oxfords.” For the past 12 years, a designated professor from each institution has been invited annually to spend a week presenting at the “other Oxford” across the pond.
Talib is presently the Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz fellow in the Anthropology of Muslim Societies at the Oxford Centre for Islamic studies and the Islamic Centre lecturer at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology. He holds an MA and PhD from Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi, India.
Florian Pohl, associate professor of religion, coordinated Talib’s visit and will host him at Oxford College and Emory University for the week. Pohl will then travel to the United Kingdom in 2018 and be hosted by Talib as the designated 2017-2018 Pierce Scholar faculty member from Oxford College.
These two professors on different continents originally became acquainted a number of years ago when they were both project contributors to a handbook on Islamic education. Now they bring their knowledge and perspectives in their respective fields of interest and study to the partner institution’s students and community.
David B. Gowler, the Pierce Chair of Religion, has directed the Pierce Visiting Scholar program since its inception in 2005. He worked with professor Christopher Rowland of the University of Oxford to found the program. Gowler met Rowland while in graduate school studying at Cambridge. They stayed in touch and when Rowland later moved to the University of Oxford as the Dean Ireland’s Professor at Queen’s College, he visited Oxford College while in the Atlanta area. The idea was born to formalize an exchange program for scholars from the two institutions.
The exchange program requires at least one public speaking engagement along with several additional, more intimate visits with students, faculty, staff, and classes.
“Talib has been very generous with his time,” says Pohl. “He is very interested in exchange and learning from each other while he is here. He has a great interest in alternative models of education, centered on the needs of students and inclusive curriculum design.”
He will visit with student groups on Oxford’s campus including the Muslim Student Association, Student Government Association, and the Hindu Student Association; as well as visit sessions of Alicia DeNicola’s “South Asia: Anthropological Perspectives” anthropology class and Florian Pohl’s religion class “Islam in America.”
Talib’s presentations included:
- Tuesday, March 28: Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies (MESA) program at Emory University. "Madrassahs and 9/11: Studies between Knowledge and Politics" 4:00–5:30 p.m. Psychology/PAIS 290, Atlanta Campus.
- Wednesday March 29: Center for Academic Excellence Lunch and Learn “Toward Inclusion in Education.” Dean’s Dining Room, Oxford College, 12:00 p.m.
- Thursday, March 30: Oxford Studies Lecture “Making Sense of Islam in the Contemporary World.” Williams Hall, Oxford College, 7:30 p.m.
For more information about Talib, please visit the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies website.