Professor Idris has wide-ranging interests in political theory and the history of political thought, including war and peace, critical theory, conceptual history, anticolonial and postcolonial thought, political theology, international political theory, comparative political theory, and Arabic and Islamic political thought.
Prof. Idris’s book, War for Peace: Genealogies of a Violent Ideal in Western and Islamic Thought (2019), won the David Easton Award from APSA, and the International Ethics Best Book Award from ISA, and the Best Book in Interdisciplinary Studies Award also from ISA. He co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Political Theory (2020), with Leigh Jenco and Megan Thomas. He has written articles on “Kazanistan” in John Rawls’s Papers (winner of APSA’s Political Theory Best Paper Prize), the politics of comparison in political theory, Erasmus’s political theology, Ibn Tufayl’s reception history, Qasim Amin and empire, and the horizons of anticolonial thought. His work has appeared in Perspectives on Politics, Modern Intellectual History, European Journal of Political Theory, History of the Present, Political Theory, among others. He previously held fellowships or positions at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the Academy of Global Humanities and Critical Theory in Bologna, the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University, the Department of Government at Cornell University, and the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University. Prior to joining Michigan, he was Associate Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. He received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania.
Prof. Idris is currently writing Islam in Theory: Scripts of Unfreedom, Fanaticism, and Violence, which analyzes dominant tropes about Islam -- “Islam is peace,” “Islam means submission,” “Islam needs a Luther,” “Muslims need to embrace a spiritual jihad” -- and it uses them to reframe the genealogies of freedom, toleration, and violence. He’s also finishing a book on Qutb’s international and global thought. Finally, he’s writing Inventing Islamic Philosophy, a reassessment of the modern formation of “Islamic thought” through the reception history of Ibn Tufayl’s twelfth-century allegory, Hayy ibn Yaqzan.
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