Henri Lauzière joined the history department in the fall of 2009 after a year as a postdoctoral fellow in the study of the Middle East since the First World War at the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. His research interests lie at the intersection of Islamic intellectual history and the modern political history of the Arab world, including North Africa. His doctoral dissertation, which he completed during a stay at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service in Qatar, uses the life and thought of a Moroccan scholar and globetrotter named Taqi al-Din al-Hilali (1894-1987) as a springboard for examining the history of Salafism (al-salafiyya) in the twentieth century. The book manuscript on which Lauzière is currently working builds on his dissertation, but proceeds from new and fundamentally different conceptual underpinnings regarding the nature and meaning of Salafism. (On these new underpinnings, see Henri Lauzière, “The Construction of Salafiyya: Reconsidering Salafism from the Perspective of Conceptual History,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 42 (August 2010): 369-389.) Through al-Hilali’s intellectual journey, the book manuscript identifies important factors and traces key historical conjunctures that help to explain why many self-proclaimed Salafis throughout the Arab world gradually abandoned the principles of Islamic modernism, and why they became increasingly and almost exclusively associated with either Wahhabism or Islamic purism, broadly conceived.
Prior to his doctoral studies in Washington D.C., Lauzière received a Bachelor's degree in history from Université Laval in Québec City, Canada, and a Master's from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. He has been a Davis fellow at the Department of History at Georgetown University in 2005-2006, and served as adjunct professor in 2007. He has served as contributor to the second edition of The Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa (2004), The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought (forthcoming), and has also published twice in the International Journal of Middle East Studies (2005 and 2010).