Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA)

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Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa
Northwestern University
620 Library Place, Evanston IL 60208

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Frequently Asked Questions about ISITA


Where does ISITA get its funding? 
ISITA is based at Northwestern University, which provides facilities and financial support in the form of partial staff salaries and support for events. ISITA’s research projects and larger conferences have been funded by private United States-based foundations.  The Ford Foundation provided a start-up grant to ISITA in 2001 and currently funds ISITA’s major research project “Constituting Bodies of Islamic Knowledge.”  ISITA has also received funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. 

Does ISITA offer fellowships or scholarships?
ISITA currently does not have any funds available for visiting fellowships.  If such opportunities become available in the future they will be posted on the website and announced on the email list.  Scholars with research interests in Islam and Africa who would like to spend a period of time at Northwestern on their own funding may apply for Visiting Scholar status with ISITA.  To apply, please send an email request to ISITA interim director Rebecca Shereikis at that includes your curriculum vitae, a brief statement of your project or research interests, the proposed dates of your visit, and an explanation of why you would benefit from a stay at ISITA/Northwestern.   For more information and a list of past visiting scholars with ISITA, see Visiting Scholars and Fellows.


Does ISITA offer grants to other organizations?
No.  As an organization that must seek grant-based funding for its own projects, ISITA is not in a position to offer grants to other organizations.

Can ISITA contribute funds to my organization’s conferences and workshops?
ISITA is usually unable to make outright financial contributions to conferences and workshops organized by other organizations.  However, we appreciate hearing about such events because, on occasion, ISITA may be able to fund the participation of an ISITA-affiliated faculty or graduate student. We can also post notices of such events on our Bulletin Board. Information about conferences and workshops related to Islam and Africa may be sent to the ISITA interim director.

Can I apply to ISITA to fund my research project?
ISITA is unable to fund individual or group research projects of other organizations.  ISITA’s research agenda grows out of an on-going collaborative process between ISITA-affiliated faculty, students, and researchers.  The projects being conducted at any given moment reflect the outcomes of these processes and the availability of funding. If you have an idea for a collaborative project that might be of interest to ISITA, you may contact the ISITA interim director to discuss it.

Can I apply to ISITA for graduate or undergraduate study at Northwestern University?   
ISITA does not offer any degree-granting programs or courses of study.  However, the existence of ISITA, its affiliated faculty, and a strong Program of African Studies at Northwestern makes Northwestern an attractive choice for graduate or undergraduate students with interests in Islam and Africa.  Students interested in graduate study at Northwestern must apply to an individual department (e.g. history, religion, anthropology, political science) through Northwestern’s Graduate School.  For more on the admissions process, visit The Graduate School’s website at  To learn more about Northwestern’s Program of African Studies visit

I would like to participate in one of ISITA’s conferences or workshops.  What should I do?
For some of ISITA’s conferences and workshops a Call for Papers is issued, while others are by invitation only.  Future Calls for Papers will be published on the website and advertised on the email list.