The Alwaleed Program team speak with Dr. Mary Elston, winner of the 2020 Alwaleed Bin Talal Prize for Best Dissertation in Islamic Studies, about her dissertation entitled, "Reviving Turāth: Islamic Education in Modern Egypt." Mary shares her findings about the history of reform at al-Azhar since the 19th century and the contemporary movement to revive “turāth,” or Islamic heritage, through the eyes of Muslim scholars, their students, and the Egyptian state. We also discuss how Mary's combined methodological approach of historical textual analysis and ethnography allowed her to capture the complex lived reality of the Islamic tradition in Egypt today and contribute to the broadening, interdisciplinary nature of Islamic studies.
Dr. Mary Elston recently completed her Ph.D. at Harvard University in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. In 2020-21, she is a visiting fellow at the Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World at Harvard Law School and at the Center for Middle East Studies at Harvard University.