University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Religion


Faculty - Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst

I Morgenstein Fuerst

Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst, Assistant Professor, Director of Middle East Studies Program

Area of expertise:

Islam, religions of South Asia, and the history of religion

Curriculum Vitae

Contact Information

Email: Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst Phone: (802) 656-0232

Office Hours: On Leave Fall 2017

Office Location: 481 Main Street, Room 105


Professor Morgenstein Fuerst specializes in religions of South Asia.  Her research deals with Islam in South Asia, historiography, and the development of theories of religion.  Other areas of interest include how religion has been defined and relates to both nationalism and colonialism. She earned her B.A. in Religion from Colgate University in 2005, an M.T.S. at Harvard Divinity School in 2007, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Islamic Studies concentration in the department of Religious Studies in 2012.

“My work centers on definitions: what is religion? How is it used? Who uses it—and when?  To what avail?  Specifically, my research deals with how Muslims and Hindus used the category—and ones like it—to order political, social, and private aspects of their lives in the 18th-19th centuries.  Understanding these complicated, historically rooted conversations is important if we are to attempt to understand how religion continues to shape South Asia—and the way we study it—today.  In both my research and my teaching, I aim to bring historical contexts, conceptions, and debates to the fore; I want my students to wrestle with the legacies such an untidy history and topic undoubtedly leaves upon their world.”


Publications include:

Special Edition, Book-Length Journal

Shifting Boundaries: The Study of Islam in the Humanities, special edition of Muslim World, Volume 106, Number 4 (October 216). Co-edited with Zahra M. S. Ayubi.


Peer-Reviewed Articles:

"Shifting Boundaries: the Study of Islam in the Humanities," Muslim World, Volume 106, Number 4 (October 2016), pp. 643-654. Co-authored with Zahra M. S. Ayubi.

"A Muslim Bhagavadgita: 'Abd al-Rahman's Interpretive Translation and its Implications." Journal of South Asian Religious History. Vol 1 (2015), pp. 1-29.

“Space, Power, And Stories: Hagiography, Nationalist Discourse, and the Construction of Sacred Space at the Khwaja Sahib in Ajmer, India,” Symposia. Volume 3, 1 (2011), pp. 55-69.