Sie sind hier: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2023/24 Dr. Simon Wolfgang Fuchs

Dr. Simon Wolfgang Fuchs

© Peter Himsel
Albert-Ludwigs-Unviersität Freiburg
Islam- und Nahoststudien
Internal Junior Fellow
Oktober 2019 - Juli 2020

Raum 02 009
Tel. +49 (0) 761-203 97365
Fax +49 (0) 761-203 97451


Ich bin Akademischer Rat auf Zeit am Orientalischen Seminar, Abteilung für Islamwissenschaft, der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. Meine primäres Forschungsinteresse gilt der islamischen Geistesgeschichte, insbesondere wie die gelehrte islamische Tradition in heutigen muslimischen Gesellschaften neu gedacht und umgearbeitet wird. Meine Arbeiten nehmen dabei die Translokation von Ideen zwischen dem Nahen Osten, Zentral- und Südasien in den Blick. Besonderes Augenmerk schenke ich Fragen von religiöser Autorität, der Globalgeschichte der iranischen Revolution von 1978-79, transnationalem schiitischen Islam, konfessionellen Konflikten und Konzeptionen von Dschihad, islamischem politischem Denken, wie auch dem Islamismus und linken Bewegungen in der islamischen Welt. Forschungsreisen haben mich in den letzten Jahren nach Ägypten, Pakistan, Indian, Iran, den Irak, Tunesien, und in den Libanon geführt. Ich arbeite mit Quellenmaterial in Arabisch, Persisch und Urdu.

Vor meinem Stellenantritt in Freiburg im Oktober 2017 bekleidete ich die Position eines Research Fellow in Islamic Studies am Gonville & Caius College der University of Cambridge. Meinen PhD habe ich im September 2015 am Department of Near Eastern Studies der Princeton University abgeschlossen. Meine dortige Doktorarbeit mit dem Titel “Relocating the Centers of Shīʿī Islam: Religious Authority, Reform, and the Limits of the Transnational in Colonial India and Pakistan” wurde von Prof. Muhammad Qasim Zaman betreut. Im Mai 2019 wurde ich in die Junge Akademie gewählt (

Publikationen (Auswahl)

  • “Casting Aside the Clutches of Conjecture: The Striving for Religious Certainty at Aligarh”, Islamic Law and Society (2020, Advance Articles): 1-25,
  • “Legalised Pedigrees: Sayyids and Shiʿi Islam in Pakistan,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (2020, FirstView): 1-16,
  • (Together with Maria-Magdalena Fuchs), “Introduction: Religious Minorities in Pakistan: Social Belonging, Identities, and Citizenship,” special issue “Religious Minorities in Pakistan”, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 43,1 (2020): 1-17,
  • “Faded Networks: The Overestimated Saudi Legacy of anti-Shi‘i Sectarianism in Pakistan”, Global Discourse 9,4 (2019): 703-715,
  • “Reclaiming the Citizen: Christian and Shi‘i Engagements with the Pakistani State”, special issue “Religious Minorities in Pakistan”, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 43,1 (2020):
  • In a Pure Muslim Land. Shiʿism between Pakistan and the Middle East (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2019), Islamic Networks and Muslim Civilization Series.
  •  „Von Schiiten lernen: Der Reiz des Martyriums für sunnitische Gruppen in Pakistan und Afghanistan,” (Learning from Shiʿites: The Appeal of Martyrdom for Sunni Groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan) BEHEMOTH – A Journal on Civilisation 12,1 (2019):  52-68
  •  “Glossy Global Leadership: Unpacking the Multilingual Religious Thought of the Afghan Jihad,” in Nile Green (ed), Afghanistan's Islam: From Conversion to the Taliban (Oakland: University of California Press, 2017), 189-206 and 299-307. Available open access at
  •  “The Long Shadow of the State: The Iranian Revolution, Saudi Influence, and the Shifting Arguments of Anti-Shi‘i Sectarianism in Pakistan,” in Laurence Louër and Christophe Jaffrelot (eds), Pan-Islamic Connections. Transnational Networks between South Asia and the Gulf (London: Hurst, 2017), 217-232 and 290-300.


The Iranian Revolution: A Global Intellectual History

My FRIAS project aims at writing a global history of the Iranian Revolution of 1978/79. My goal is to understand when and how the revolution turned from being perceived as an event with universal aspirations to a narrow, sectarian Shi‘i project. As in the 1789 French and 1917 Russian revolutions, the political change in Iran promised to reshape the world in its own image. The popular uprising that toppled the Shah fascinated and inspired global audiences. My research project attempts at capturing and explaining this crucial moment in world history.

For her admirers, Iran decisively proved that the establishment of a modern Islamic state that combined parallel republican and religious structures was possible. Anti-imperialism and non-alignment seemed like common-sense answers in the midst of the Cold War and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Messages emanating from Iran managed to cross sectarian and even religious divides. Mandatory veiling and the quick unraveling of secular family laws sent a powerful message of how an Islamist state could be constructed. I intend to show how Khomeini’s Revolution caused nothing less than a paradigm shift in global Islamism by focusing in particular on non-Shi‘i actors (such as Tunisian students or Lebanese Maoists) in North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia and how they tried to make sense of the Revolution during the 1980s.