This fully funded seven year fellowship will give him the opportunity to finish his DPhil and conduct his own academic research in ideal conditions, in regular contact with leading scholars in his field. As a Fellow of the college he will sit on the Governing Body and be given a room, dining rights and a variety of travel and book allowances in addition to a generous stipend.
During his undergraduate studies at Pembroke College, Fitzroy studied Arabic and Islamic Studies, going on to combine Islamic Studies with History for his MPhil at Wadham in 2014. Now, over a year into his DPhil in Oriental Studies here, he will move to All Souls as soon as possible.
It was the mystique surrounding the All Souls Examination Fellowships, combined with knowledge of great scholars like Isaiah Berlin who have held these fellowships historically, which prompted Fitzroy to apply.
“The exam has a reputation for being extremely hard and this aroused my interest. I applied thinking that the experience in itself would be a unique Oxford thing – never expecting anything.” The examination is divided into two specialist papers, which for Fitzroy focussed on History, and two more general papers covering Politics, Philosophy and Cultural issues. “Intellectually intensive but enjoyable and challenging” is how he describes the exams which were followed by an interview.
Fitzroy’s DPhil research is looking at Sufi Muslim views of other religions during the late medieval period. “I am interested in the relationships between Islam and other religions and suggestions that Sufis are more tolerant than others had not been explored in any depth.”
Already contemplating his post-doctoral studies Fitzroy is hoping to move towards more modern Islamic thought. His academic advisor will be the Historian, Academic and Journalist Sir Noel Malcolm.
“I had chosen Wadham for my Masters and DPhil because of its reputation for Persian Studies, with the expertise of Edmund Herzig and Dominic Brookshaw and the wonderful Persian collection in the Library. I am genuinely very sad to be leaving and I hope to maintain my links with the College.”
Wadham students will miss Fitzroy’s participation in both cricket and football teams and it was partly thanks to Fitzroy’s role as MCR Environment Officer that College student kitchens have green food waste recycling bins.
However, with All Souls just around the corner, Fitzroy is confident he will be visiting Wadham regularly.