Dr. Ahrar Ahmad, political science professor at Black Hills State University, recently received one of the most prestigious academic awards - a Fulbright Scholarship.

Ahmad received the senior teaching and research fellowship for the 2007-08 school year. While on sabbatical from BHSU next year, he will teach upper division courses in political science at the International University in Bangladesh, one of the oldest private universities in that country. He will also interact regularly with faculty members; discuss new ideas, texts, pedagogical techniques, curriculum development, and new directions in research and scholarship; and mentor students, particularly overseeing research projects.

During his fellowship, Ahmad will also explore his own research, which he calls the “exceptionalism” of South Asian Islam. Most specifically, Ahmad will focus on the development of civic organizations, voluntary groups, and self-help entities that were part of the political development in South Asia, most notably in the Bengal region. His research will require some travel and study in India as well.

“Since the evolution of a civic consciousness is vital to the development of a democratic polity, it will be argued that the presence and salience of many such institutions, not only among the Hindus but also among the Muslims, became significant precursors to the creation of democratic possibilities in the region,” Ahmad said.

The traditional Fulbright Scholar Program sends 800 U.S. faculty and professionals abroad each year. Scholars lecture and conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. The program is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Ahmad received his M.A. in political science from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada and his Ph.D. in political science from Southern Illinois University. He has been a member of the BHSU faculty since 1992. This spring he was named the 2007 Distinguished Faculty member at BHSU for his outstanding contributions to the university, the state, the nation, and the world.