The Carnegie Corporation of New York named Miriam Lowi, associate professor of political science, as one of only 20 Carnegie Scholars this year. Lowi and her counterparts were selected for their compelling ideas and commitment to enriching the quality of the public dialogue on Islam.
Lowi’s project, titled “Islam and Oil: The Economy of Meaning,” will examine how interpretations of Islam have shaped the exploitation of oil and allocation of oil revenues, and how these have influenced adherence to and the practice of Islam. She suggests that a disjuncture exists in the Middle East and North Africa between Islamic norms and expectations about public resources, on the one hand, and state policy and practices, on the other, and that this disjuncture is a source of instability in the region.
To explore the relationship and elucidate the disjuncture, Lowi will study the writings of Muslim thinkers, Islamist organizations, and the popular Arab media to understand how Muslims think their oil wealth should be exploited. She will investigate state policies financed by oil to learn how elites have exploited oil wealth, both within and outside the state, and their effects on the Muslim public. Lowi’s research will culminate in a book-length manuscript on a relationship that is vital, yet has remained uncharted.
“Professor Lowi’s recognition by the Carnegie Foundation is validation of what her students, colleagues, and friends know: Miriam is an extraordinary scholar who is doing very important research on some of the most pressing issues affecting the Middle East,” President Gitenstein said. “For the entire TCNJ community, I congratulate her and thank her for the recognition she brings our community.”
The Carnegie Scholars program allows independent-minded thinkers to pursue original projects oriented toward catalyzing intellectual discourse, as well as guiding more focused and pragmatic policy discussions. Scholars are selected for their originality and proven intellectual capacity, as well as their demonstrated ability to communicate their ideas in ways that can catalyze public discourse. The Carnegie Corporation provides funding for the program, with two-year grants of up to $100,000, and intellectual support to well-established and promising young thinkers, analysts, and writers.