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Current Center Fellows: 2015

Rumee Ahmed
External Faculty Fellow

Department of Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies, University of British Columbia

Islamic Systematics: The Art and Science of Islamic Legal Reform
Rumee Ahmed, PhD is Associate Professor of Islamic Law at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Narratives of Islamic Legal Theory (Oxford University Press, 2012) and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook on Islamic Law. Ahmed consults on human rights cases, policy briefs, and international legal disputes related to Muslims and Islamic law.   
Ahmed will be working on a book manuscript, titled "Shari’a 2.0: A User’s Guide for Reforming Islamic Law" (Stanford University Press), that examines the art and science of Islamic legal reform in the past and present. The book proposes a systematic method for reforming Islamic law today, and offers reforms that promote women’s rights, sexual rights, and religious freedom.
Ruth Ahnert

External Faculty Fellow

School of English and Drama, Queen Mary University of London

Tudor Networks of Power

Ruth Ahnert is a Senior Lecturer in Renaissance Studies (equivalent to Associate Professor) at Queen Mary University of London. Her work focuses on the literature and culture of Tudor England, with a specific emphasis on religious history, prison literature, and letter writing. She is the author of The Rise of Prison Literature in the Sixteenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2013). Since 2012 she has been collaborating with Sebastian Ahnert (Department of Physics, University of Cambridge) on the application of quantitative network analysis to the study of large letter collections.  
Her current project continues this collaboration: "Tudor Networks of Power" reconstructs the evidence for Tudor intelligence networks from 132,000 letters that survive in the State Papers archive. This project will culminate in a monograph and interactive network visualisation web-tool. During the fellowship she will be focusing on methods to ensure this data and methodology is integrated into emerging infrastructures for searching, analysing, and visualising networks currently being developed by Stanford’s Humanities+Design and European partners involved in Reassembling the Republic of Letters.
R. Lanier Anderson
Donald Andrews Whittier Fellow
Department of Philosophy, Stanford University

Nietzschean Moral Psychology
R. Lanier Anderson (Professor, Philosophy) is a historian of late modern philosophy. He is the author of The Poverty of Conceptual Truth (OUP, 2015) and many articles on Kant and Nietzsche. His research at the Center will include work on Nietzsche’s moral psychology, Montaigne, and the relations between philosophy and literature. 
Project Summary: Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) is famous both for his corrosive critique of cherished values, and for his incisive psychological analyses. The two strands are tightly connected, since his most prominent critical arguments are grounded in psychological claims. My project aims to elucidate Nietzsche’s psychology. A fuller understanding of what is compelling about Nietzschean moral psychology promises to help explain the continuing grip of Nietzsche’s writing on us, despite its stark rejection of values we care about, and it may also promote a deeper self-understanding about who we are as valuing creatures.
Claire Rydell Arcenas

Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow

Department of History, Stanford University

Inventing an American Political Tradition: How John Locke Became "America’s Philosopher"

Claire Rydell Arcenas is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Stanford University. Her research and teaching interests include the intellectual, political, and cultural history of the United States.
Arcenas' dissertation, “Inventing an American Political Tradition: How John Locke Became ‘America’s Philosopher,’” traces the changing reception of the English philosopher John Locke in American thought, culture, and politics from the eighteenth century to the present. Through a reconsideration of Locke’s influence in this country, Arcenas offers a new interpretation of how Locke and his writings have informed a wide range of educational, political, moral, economic, and religious attitudes, ideas, and actions in unexpected ways.
Bernard [node:field_fellow_middle_name] Bate

The Stanford Humanities Center is deeply saddened by the passing of our fellow, colleague, and friend, Professor Bernard Bate.


Bernard Bate explored the theory, ethnography, and history of political oratory and rhetoric in the Tamil worlds of South Asia. The author of Tamil Oratory and the Dravidian Aesthetic, (Columbia, 2009/Oxford India, 2011), he was a member of the inaugural faculty of Yale-NUS College, National University of Singapore.
Project Summary:
Bernard Bate was working on a book project called Protestant Textuality and the Tamil Modern: Political Oratory and the Social Imaginary in South Asia. This work offers a genealogy of Tamil political oratory and the emergence of vernacular politics in the Tamil-speaking lands of India and Sri Lanka. The book argues that sermonic genres introduced by Protestant missionaries in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, fused with culturally and historically deeper forms and aesthetics of language, provided the communicative infrastructure that enabled a new kind of agent, the vernacular politician, to address and mobilize a modern Tamil people within a distinctive social imaginary.