Professor Asma Afsaruddin was officially inducted into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars on Monday, April 8, 2019, in the George Peabody Library in the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. During the ceremony presided over by President Ronald J. Daniels and Provost Sunil Kumar, she was presented with a university certificate and a medallion signifying membership in the Society of Scholars.
The first group of its kind in the nation, the Society of Scholars was established in 1967 by the university’s Board of Trustees. The Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars honors individuals who completed their graduate, postdoctoral, professional or performance training at Johns Hopkins, but are not currently affiliated, and who have achieved marked professional or scholarly distinction in their fields.
Afsaruddin is a professor of Islamic studies and former chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University. After receiving her Ph.D. from the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins University in 1993, she taught at Harvard and Notre Dame universities until 2009. She is an award-winning author and editor of nine books, including Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought (Oxford University Press, 2013), which won the World Book Award in Islamic Studies from the Iranian government in 2015 and was a runner-up for the British-Kuwaiti Friendship Society Book Award in 2014 and The First Muslims: History and Memory (OneWorld Publications, 2008), which received the Dost Award in Turkey and was translated into Bahasa Malay and Turkish. Her book Jihad: What Everyone Needs to Know is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.
Afsaruddin is the chair of the board of directors of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy in Washington D.C., a member of the advisory board of the Prince al-Waleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, and a past member of the board of directors of the American Academy of Religion. She was previously the Kraemer Middle East Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at the College of William and Mary and a visiting scholar at the London School of Oriental and African Studies.
In demand as a speaker at academic forums in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, she has also given presentations at the U.S. Department of State, the International Nuremberg Principles Academy, the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces, and other national and international organizations. Her research has been funded by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which named her a Carnegie Scholar in 2005.
Inductees into the Society of Scholars—established in 1967 by university President Milton S. Eisenhower—are former graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, house staff, or junior or visiting faculty who have served at least one year at Johns Hopkins but are no longer affiliated and have since made great strides in the fields of physical, biological, social, or engineering sciences or the humanities. They are nominated by Johns Hopkins faculty members. Since its inception, 688 individuals have been elected to membership in the society, including 16 members elected in 2019.
This year’s cohort represents a diverse range of expertise in disciplines such as molecular biology, nursing, music history, piano performance, ophthalmology, art history, and physics and astronomy. This year marks the first time affiliates from the Peabody Institute have been inducted into the Society of Scholars.
“The Society of Scholars celebrates the tremendous contributions to science and the humanities made by members of the Johns Hopkins community throughout their careers,” said University Provost Sunil Kumar, who hosted the event along with university President Ronald J. Daniels. “We’re proud to have counted them among our classmates and our colleagues, and are honored to have been a part of their journeys.”