University of Pittsburgh
October 25, 2005

University of Pittsburgh to Host Public Forum on Radical Islamic Social Movements Oct. 28


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—The Pittsburgh Social Movements Forum—comprising faculty and students from the sociology departments of the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University—will host a free public forum titled "Radical Islamic Social Movements," from noon to 2 p.m. Oct. 28 in Room 4500 of Pitt's Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet St., Oakland. Charles Kurzman, associate professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will be the main presenter. Kurzman will take questions and comments from the audience following his remarks.

Topics to be addressed include probing why so few Muslims have joined the global jihad. "Given the destruction that Islamist violence has wrought, this question may seem absurd," says John Markoff, professor and chair of Pitt's Department of Sociology. "But it raises an important issue for the study of social movements in general and Islamic social movements in particular: What happens if we explore the barriers to participation instead of the causes of participation? This is a wonderful opportunity to hear a scholar of Islamic movements discuss issues of great and troubling public concern."

Kurzman teaches social theory, political sociology, social movements, and the sociology of Islam. He is currently working on a comparative study of why new democracies in the early 20th century have failed. His newest research is on global Islamist mobilizations. Kurzman's publications include The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran (Harvard University Press, 2004), Liberal Islam: A Source Book (Oxford University Press, 1998), and Modernist Islam 1840-1940: A Source Book (Oxford University Press, 2002).

Funding for this event is provided by Pitt's School of Arts and Sciences and University Center for International Studies. For more information about the presentation or the Pittsburgh Social Movements Forum, call 412-648-7584 or e-mail Tim Vining at