Princeton University senior Shaffin Siddiqui has been awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. The awards give outstanding students from outside the United Kingdom the opportunity to pursue postgraduate study at the University of Cambridge. The program was established in 2000 by a donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Cambridge to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others.
Siddiqui is among 23 U.S. winners of the scholarship. Around 80 scholarships are typically awarded each year, with international winners selected in the spring.
Siddiqui is from Dallas, Texas. He plans to pursue an MPhil in the history and philosophy of science and medicine at Cambridge, focusing on how a key socio-intellectual class in diasporic Muslim communities, the ulama (traditionally educated Islamic scholars), have engaged modern biomedicine and promoted varied paradigms and practices of health within Western Muslim populations.
“I intend to study the history of medicine in the modern Muslim world while deepening my understanding of the key methodologies, concepts and debates in the history and philosophy of science,” Siddiqui wrote in his personal statement for the award. “Specifically, I hope to contribute to the history of anti-vaccine, and, more generally, anti-biomedical sentiment in diasporic Muslim communities, particularly those in the U.S. and U.K.”
For his senior thesis, Siddiqui, a concentrator in history, is investigating how Islamic scholars and intellectuals from the Nation of Islam crafted particular narratives of health and healing as a form of cultural resistance.
Photo courtesy of Shaffin Siddiqui