MANY PEOPLE, EXPERIENCES, and coincidences have conspired to result in this book. It certainly would not exist were it not for the mind-opening experience of graduate study at Johns Hopkins in the late 1990s. I will always appreciate the good fortune that made it possible for me to work with William Connolly. His formidable intellect, sense of place and purpose in his field and in the world, and his steady and consistent support for this project are deeply appreciated. I am also grateful to Siba Grovogui, first and foremost for his intellectual contributions to my thinking and writing, but also for his sense of comradeship and engaging sense of humor. Earlier, during my time at Yale between 1994 and 1996, Khaled Abou El Fadl, Abbas Amanat, and Gaddis Smith sparked my interest in Islamic law, religion and politics in the Middle East, and U.S. foreign policy, respectively, and I thank them for their excellent courses. I am also deeply grateful to my professor and undergraduate advisor at Wesleyan, Nancy Gallagher, and to another great mentor, Irene Koek at the U.S. Agency for International Development, for encouraging me to pursue the Ph.D.
I owe as much to my current colleagues at Northwestern University, who generously supported my research from start to finish. Both the Political Science Department and the administration at Northwestern ensured that I had the time and energy available to complete this project, and I am appreciative of their support. Among my colleagues, I thank Bonnie Honig for her close reading of my work and her insightful critical contributions at several different stages. For their excellent comments and criticism I am also indebted to my colleagues in international relations: Karen Alter, Risa Brooks, Brian Hanson, Ian Hurd, Michael Loriaux, and Hendrik Spruyt. Each has taken the time to read various drafts and engage with different parts of this project over the past five years.
The Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture (formerly the Center for Religion and Democracy) at the University of Virginia provided me with a postdoctoral fellowship in 2004–5 that made it possible to finish this book. Joseph Davis and Slavica Jakelic offered a particularly warm welcome to Charlottesville at the Postdoctoral Fellows Colloquium in March 2005. I am also grateful to the organizers of the 2003/4 European-American Young Scholars' Institutes Program, José Casanova and Hans Joas, for offering me a fellowship to attend their Summer Institute on Secularization and Religion. My time in Erfurt in the summer of 2003 with scholars working on the vexing questions posed by the secular and the religious deeply informed my thinking on this