Raissa von Doetinchem de Rande


For 2019-2020 academic year I was awarded a Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship. I am 6th year Ph.D. candidate in both the Religion, Ethics, and Politics and the Islam subfield. I joined the two programs in 2014 and passed the general examination requirements for each in January 2017. Before coming to Princeton, I received a M.A.R. in Ethics from Yale Divinity School (2014) and a B.A. in Theology from Oxford (2012). My research and teaching interests include: ethical and legal theory, (classical) Islamic theology and philosophy, and the contemporary study of religious and comparative ethics.

My dissertation, “The Politics of Fiṭra,” uses the concept of fiṭra—prevalent in works of Islamic philosophy and often simply translated as ‘created human nature’ or ‘first nature’—as a window onto problems in the contemporary study of Islamic ethics. I argue that uncovering the surprising role of fiṭra in political debates over the varying intellectual capacities of humans provides a crucial opportunity to reflect on Islamic ethics as a field, still dominated by unexamined prejudices, anachronism, and the assumption that all ethical thought seeks to answer an unchanging set of questions. The project thus contributes to debates in Islamic intellectual history, theology and (political) philosophy, ethical theory, and religious ethics.

I have published book reviews and an article in Arabic Sciences and PhilosophyOrientalistische LiteraturzeitungDer Islam, und Die Welt des Islam (forthcoming).