Murad Idris is an Assistant Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. He has wide-ranging interests in political theory and the history of political thought, including war and peace, language and politics, empire and postcolonialism, political theology and secularism, comparative political theory, and Arabic and Islamic political thought.
Idris’s first book, War for Peace: Genealogies of a Violent Ideal in Western and Islamic Thought (Oxford University Press, 2018) examines idealizations of “peace” across canonical works of ancient and modern political thought, from Plato to Immanuel Kant and Sayyid Qutb. Idris argues that the dominant, moralized ideal of peace sanitizes violence, reinscribes global hierarchy, and facilitates hostility. He has published articles on Erasmus’s political theology in Theory & Event, Ibn Tufayl’s twelfth-century allegory in European Journal of Political Theory and Journal of Islamic Philosophy, and the politics of comparison in comparative political theory in Political Theory, as well as a number of chapters in edited volumes. Idris is also co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Political Theory, with Leigh K. Jenco and Megan C. Thomas.
Idris is currently working on two book projects. The first manuscript, Islam in Language: Genealogies of Political Order and Linguistic Disorder, gives the genealogies of such claims as “Islam is peace,” “Islam means submission,” “Islam needs a Luther,” “Islam needs a Gandhi,” “Islam comes from the desert,” and “Islam is jihad.” This project disentangles the politics of naming Islam in popular culture, European and American thought, classical and modern Islamic thought, and political thought in the Global South. The other project, Inventing Islamic Philosophy: Ibn Tufayl’s Global Afterlives, is a critical assessment of Ibn Tufayl’s twelfth-century allegory, Hayy ibn Yaqzan. It analyzes the politics of this text’s multilingual reception history as a window into the formation of “Islamic thought” as a tradition in early modern Europe, the colonial and postcolonial Middle East, and today, in the global humanities. Idris teaches courses on war, contemporary political theory, Islamic political thought, constructions of Islam, the politics of colonized thought, and law, empire, and humanity. Before coming to UVA, Idris held a Mellon Research Fellowship at the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University and a Mellon Postdoctoral Diversity Fellowship at Cornell University. He received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2018-2019, he is a Member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study.