David Strohl, assistant professor of anthropology, has received a six-month writing fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Goettingen, Germany. From July to December Strohl will complete work on a manuscript for a book project titled Moral projects: social imaginaries of religious revival and civic engagement among the Ismaili community of Mumbai. This project examines how Ismaili Muslims in Mumbai have worked to become pious Muslims and good citizens through ethical self-fashioning and efforts to create moral order.
He analyzes how collective endeavors like policing social boundaries, enacting religious reform, and encouraging civic engagement mold individuals into ethical subjects just as they seek to establish moral communities like the Ismaili jamat, the Muslim ummah, and Indian civil society. Although anthropologists have recently been inclined towards individualistic theories of ethics, Moral Projects spotlights the importance of communitarian thought for understanding people’s moral lives.