Dr Matthew J Nelson
BA (Bowdoin), PhD (Columbia)
Reader in Politics
Academic Staff, SOAS South Asia Institute
Academic Staff, Centre for the Study of Pakistan
- Dr Matthew J Nelson
- Email address:
- 020 7898 4742
- SOAS, University of London
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- Russell Square: College Buildings
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Matthew Nelson is a Reader in Politics at SOAS. His research focuses on the comparative and international politics of South Asia, with a special emphasis on comparative political thought, the politics of Islamic institutions, and democracy. Before coming to SOAS Dr Nelson taught at UC Santa Cruz, Bates College, and Yale University.
Dr Nelson has spent several years conducting archival, ethnographic, and survey-based research in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India. His first book was titled In the Shadow of Shari‘ah: Islam, Islamic Law, and Democracy in Pakistan (Columbia, 2011); his current research concerns the politics of sectarian and doctrinal diversity in the context of Islamic law and education.
Dr Nelson is a founding member of the Centre for Comparative Political Thought, the Centre for Pakistan Studies, and the Centre for the International Politics of Conflict, Rights, and Justice at SOAS. In 2009-2010 Dr Nelson was the Wolfensohn Family Member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton; in 2011 he was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. Dr Nelson received his PhD in Political Science from Columbia University.
- Approaches to Comparative Political Thought
- Islam and Democracy
- Islamic/Democratic Political Thought
- Pakistan: Politics, Law, and Development
PhD Students supervised
- Alexander Evans,
- Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara, Post Genocide Rwanda Military Intergration (MI): The case Study of Ingando
- Ini Dele-Adedeji , Islamic identities within the mobilisation of the Boko Haram sect in Kano & Borno (provisional title)
- Johann Chacko, Redefining Pakistan: Mapping Deobandi institutional responses to nationalism and the nation-state from Zia to Musharraf.
- Lucas Robinson, New cities, new phones, new politics: accounting for political legitimacy among transnational Afghans and Somalis
- Priyadarshini Singh, Nation at the Grassroots: The meanings of Indian nationhood and the role of political practices in its institutionalisation
- Sameen Ali, Politicisation of the Bureaucracy and Political Access in Pakistan (working title)
- Sasan Aghlani , ‘National Interest’ as a Catalyst for Change in Islamic Laws of War - A Genealogy of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Policies towards Nuclear Weapons
- Taha Kazi, Pious Entertainment - Changing Forms and Notions of Piety in Pakistan (Provisional).
South Asia (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and India); Islam; Islamic law; Islamic institutions (courts, schools, etc.); institutional change; democratic theory; democratic practice
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- Special Study Programmes
- Short Term Consultancy
- South Asia
Nelson, Matthew J. (2011) In the Shadow of Shari‘ah: Islam, Islamic Law, and Democracy in Pakistan. New York: Columbia University Press; London: Hurst and Co.
Nelson, Matthew J. (2011) 'Inheritance Unbound: The Politics of Personal Law Reform in Pakistan and India.' In: Khilnani, S. and Raghavan, V. and Thiravengadam, A., (eds.), Comparative Constitutional Traditions in South Asia. Delhi: Oxford University Press. (Forthcoming)
Nelson, Matthew J. (2010) 'Dealing with Difference: Religious Education and the Challenge of Democracy in Pakistan.' In: Merry, M.S. and Milligan, J.A., (eds.), Citizenship, Education, and Identity in Muslim Communities. London: Palgrave, pp. 103-123.
Nelson, Matthew J. (2010) 'Muslims, Markets, and the Meaning of "A Good Education" in Pakistan.' In: Abbas, Tahir, (ed.), Islam and Education. Vol. 2. London: Routledge.
Nelson, Matthew J. 'Pakistan.' In: Countries at the Crossroads. New York: Freedom House. (Forthcoming)
Nelson, Matthew J. (2011) '“Faith” and “Development” in Secular and Religious Schools.' Comparative Education Review, 55 (1). 115-117, 129-131.
Nelson, Matthew J. (2011) 'Embracing the Ummah: Student Politics beyond State Power in Pakistan.' Modern Asian Studies, 45 (3). pp. 565-596.
Nelson, Matthew J. (2010) 'Pakistan in 2009: Tackling the Taliban?' Asian Survey, 50 (1). pp. 112-126.
Nelson, Matthew J. (2010) 'Persistent Legal Pluralism and the Challenge of Universal Human Rights.' Oxford Journal of Human Rights Practice, 2 (3). pp. 401-407.
Nelson, Matthew J. (2009) 'Pakistan in 2008: Moving Beyond Musharraf.' Asian Survey, 49 (1). pp. 16-27.
Nelson, Matthew J. (2009) 'Dealing with Difference: Religious Education and the Challenge of Democracy in Pakistan.' Modern Asian Studies, 43 (2). pp. 591-618.
Nelson, Matthew J. (2008) 'Religious Education in Non-Religious Schools: A Comparative Study of Pakistan and Bangladesh.' Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, 46 (3). pp. 271-295.
Nelson, Matthew (2007) 'Who Speaks for Islam?: 'Authenticity' and the Interpretation of Islamic Law in America's War on Terror.' Australian Journal Of International Affairs, 61 (2). pp. 247-66.
Nelson, Matthew (2006) 'Muslims, Markets, and the Meaning of 'A Good Education' in Pakistan.' Asian Survey, 46 (5). pp. 699-720.
Nelson, Matthew J. (2006) 'Madrasas and the Modern State: Religious Education and Religious Extremism in Pakistan.' RUSI Newsbrief, 26 (7). pp. 74-76.
Nelson, Matthew J. (2009) Campus Conflict, Party Politics, and the Secular State in Bangladesh. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, British High Commission (Dhaka). (Submitted)
Nelson, Matthew J. (2009) Religion, Politics, and the Modern University in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Seattle: National Bureau of Asian Research.
Nelson, Matthew J. (2011) 'Review of Irfan Ahmad, 'Islam and Democracy in India: The Transformation of Jamaat-e-Islami'.' American Ethnologist, 38 (2).
Nelson, Matthew J. (2009) 'Review of David Loyn, 'Butcher and Bolt: two hundred years of foreign engagement in Afghanistan'.' The Middle East in London, 6 (1).
Nelson, Matthew J. (2008) 'Review of Vazira Fazila-Yaqoobali Zamindar, 'The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia: Refugees, Boundaries, Histories'.' Asian Affairs, 39 (2).
Nelson, Matthew J. (2008) 'Review of Srirupa Roy, 'Beyond Belief: India and the Politics of Postcolonial Nationalism'.' Asian Affairs, 39 (2).
Nelson, Matthew J. (2007) 'Review of Tariq Rahman, 'Denizens of Alien Worlds: A Study of Education, Inequality, and Polarization in Pakistan'.' South Asia Research, 27 (1).
Nelson, Matthew J. (2006) 'Review of Jan-Peter Hartung and Helmut Reifeld, 'Islamic Education, Diversity, and National Identity: Dini Madaris in India Post-9/11'.' South Asia Research, 26 (3).
Nelson, Matthew 'Review of Sir Hilary Synnott, 'Transforming Pakistan: Ways out of Instability'.' South Asia Research . (Forthcoming)