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Faculty Profile: Dr. Douglas E. Streusand

Following 9/11, the attention of students and practitioners of foreign policy naturally turned to the politics and culture of Islamic extremists and of Central Asia generally. Most scholars found that they were playing catch-up–that they had little background or expertise in the subject–but students of IWP adjunct professor Dr. Douglas Streusand knew that they were learning from one of the few American scholars with significant knowledge of Islam as well as Central Asia’s contemporary politics and history.  

Islam, Islamism, and Grand Strategy

Years before 9/11, Dr. Streusand was publishing scholarly pieces patiently explaining the nuances of Islam and Islamism and advocating a sensible communications strategy directed at the Islamic world. An excellent representative example of his analysis of the subtleties of how contemporary radical Islamism is related to, but distinct from, the larger thread of Islamic history and culture was published in Middle East Quarterly in 1997. 

Some of his other notable publications include The Formation of the Mughal Empire (published in Delhi by Oxford University Press in 1989 and reprinted in 1999); “Geopolitics versus Globalization” (in Globalization and Maritime Power, edited by Sam J. Tangredi); “European Islam or Islamic Europe,” (in New Europe Review) and the forthcoming The Islamic Gunpowder Empires in World History (expected publication in early 2009).

Among his other academic endeavors, Dr. Streusand frequently presents papers at conferences across the country, writes numerous review essays, and has also contributed to the third edition of the Encyclopedia of Islam. He holds an M.A. (1981) and Ph.D. (1987) from the University of Chicago, both in Islamic history.

Scholarship, Teaching, and Moral Leadership 

As an historian and policy analyst, Dr. Streusand specializes in the Islamic world but, uniquely, also possesses broad historical interests and a professional’s understanding of current strategic and military issues.  At the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, he teaches field-grade officers international relations, culture, and interagency operations. In addition to speaking Persian, he is also a project officer for the Command and Staff College’s Arabic language program. At other institutions such as Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland he has taught graduate courses in such diverse subjects as terrorism, the military history of the Middle East and South Asia, the Soviet-Afghan war, ancient warfare, French military history, the Vietnam War, Renaissance warfare, and Middle East cultures. 

At the Institute, Dr. Streusand presently teaches “Islam in Contemporary Global Politics,” a course that not only grounds students in the realities of Islam today but requires them to confront the policy challenges it presents. As the school’s Academic Dean, Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz, explains, “This regional studies course is designed for our most advanced students, who have already gained an appreciation for the ethical utility of diplomacy, intelligence, military strategy, economics, and all the other arts of the wise statesman. We take these students who have learned the building blocks and put them in our intensive regional-studies courses to teach them the higher orders of architecture–the art of combining the building blocks into the practical and realistic edifice of policy.” 

“I am deeply thankful that the Institute is able to retain such thoughtful and patriotic scholars as Doug Streusand,” commented Dr. John Lenczowski, IWP Founder and President. “He sets an example to his students and to this entire school of the diligent and prescient analyst working within the scope of the academic and governmental establishment. As his record indicates, Doug understands the crucial issues of our time, whether or not they are popular at the moment. Moreover, he demonstrates the necessity of gaining detailed, systematic knowledge of his subject matter–including mastering its critical languages. Students who sit under him know what it is to speak truth to power, as well as what it is to speak a more powerful truth based on the highest standards of critical scholarship. When it comes to a subject as complex as Islam today, the Institute and its students are blessed to have the wisdom of Dr. Streusand.”