Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Minerva Project : Asian_Islam

Approved Minerva Logo

Understanding the Differences in the Islamic Ideology and in Asian Cultures




 Principal Investigators: Minerva Fellow Luke Gerdes, Irving Smith, and Kate Coronges

Social context and cultural influences play an important role in how individuals’ attitudes lead to group norms and eventually, potent ideologies. Understanding characteristics and evolution of social networks structures within the Muslim world and Asia, from clusters of individuals to larger networks of communities, will provide insight into how cultural norms and extreme ideologies are born and maintained. Network science is a natural fit to study how the relationships between individuals, communities and leadership influence cultural norms and ideologies. USMA houses a unique blend of academic and military expertise within the social sciences, as well as cross-departmental partnerships that makes it an ideal setting to develop new and relevant learning initiatives.


USMA will host Minerva chairs in the field of Socio-Cultural Network Science. The Minerva Chair responsibilities and opportunities include:

(1) Research ~ The Minerva Chairs are encouraged to publish in outlets that reach U.S. government and military audiences. The research must have real implications for Army policies through either evaluations of current conditions, as well as innovative insights that inform future applications. In addition, the studies should incorporate some network science methodology. The chair would function primarily as research faculty, and therefore, would be asked to create and maintain ties with civilian academics in their field outside of West Point.

(2) Teaching ~ The primary mission of West Point faculty is to "to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets.” Teaching cadets is a critical part of the faculty community here at West Point. The Minerva Chair would teach an elective course in their area of expertise within the Sociology program. In addition, they would be expected to mentor students with independent honors level research projects.