Han Hsien Liew (HMES)
Han Hsien is a Ph.D. candidate in the History and Middle Eastern Studies joint degree program. His dissertation, titled “Legitimizing Piety and Knowledge: Caliphal Ideology and Political Thought in the Works of Ibn al-Jawzi,” focuses on the twelfth-century Hanbali scholar Ibn al-Jawzi’s conception of the caliphate and the role of piety and knowledge in his political discourses. Through an examination of his writings which span different genres in the Islamic scholarly tradition, it demonstrates how Ibn al-Jawzi’s political ideas represent a departure from those of most Muslim thinkers during his time, who gradually legitimized brute force and absolutist rule in order to preserve order and stability. In January 2016, Han Hsien’s peer-reviewed article, “The Caliphate of Adam: Theological Politics of the Qurʾānic Term Ḫalīfa,” was published in Arabica (Brill). A forthcoming article titled “The Hermeneutics of Legitimate Leadership: Qurṭubī’s Commentary on Q. 2:30 (the Adam Verse)” will be published in New Trends in Qur’anic Studies: Text, Context and Interpretation, ed. Mun’im Sirry (IQSA-Lockwood Press, 2017). Han Hsien is also the recipient of the Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED) Ph.D. fellowship for the 2016-2017 academic year to conduct manuscript research in Istanbul, Turkey. In broad terms, his research interests cover medieval and early modern Islamic political thought, intellectual traditions, and historiography in the Middle East and the Southeast Asian Malay-speaking lands.