Philbrick Yadav Examines Takfir and Constitutional Design – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Philbrick Yadav Examines Takfir and Constitutional Design

In the most recent issue of the journal Terrorism and Political Violence, Associate Professor of Political Science Stacey Philbrick Yadav and her coauthor, Ian M. Hartshorn, analyze public acts of takfir — the allegation of a Muslim’s apostasy — and compare its political and religious impacts at recent critical moments in Tunisia and Yemen.

In their article, “(Re)Constituting Community: Takfir and Institutional Design in Tunisia and Yemen,” they argue that takfir “both shapes and reflects the power relations between rival factions. As an informal discourse that occurs largely outside of formal state institutions, it nonetheless leaves a clear imprint on those institutions, particularly in moments of political transition when the contours of new constitutional arrangements are negotiated.”

Funding for the project was provided through a winter 2015-16 grant from the Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS), which elected Philbrick Yadav to its steering committee in 2017.

Philbrick Yadav, who has lived in Yemen and is a member of the executive committee of the American Institute of Yemeni Studies, has been writing about Yemen’s opposition politics for more than a decade. Since Yemen’s uprising in 2011, she’s published a book exploring the dynamics of Islamist activism and alliance building, as well as articles in several academic journals, including The International Journal of Middle East Studies and Middle East Report. She has previously published analysis of the Yemeni uprising and the country’s Islamist politics on the Washington Post political blog, Monkey Cage.

A member of the HWS faculty since 2007, Philbrick Yadav earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in anthropology and Middle Eastern studies from Smith College, and has spent several years conducting field research in Yemen, Lebanon and Egypt. Before joining the Colleges, she taught at Mount Holyoke College, and in 2008 was a visiting scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies.