A fellowship from the Central European University Foundation Budapest in Hungary will allow Department of Sociology and Anthropology Assistant Professor Aaron Pitluck to study for two years overseas.

He will work with the Political Economy Research Group to examine efforts of countries to create a “moral” bond market that conforms with ethics found in Islam. He plans to conduct field research in Malaysia and the Middle East, meeting with bankers, Islamic scholars and policymakers who are developing the new Islamic bond market.

“Islamic finance scholars argue that it is immoral, or at least unethical, to make money from money, rather than making money by risking capital in an entrepreneurial project.” Pitluck said. “As a consequence, many Muslims are troubled by receiving interest from a bank account or a bond, since this is perceived as earning money without real risk.”

This is the fourth journey to Malaysia for Pitluck, whose work addresses “bankers’ and scholars’ attempts to critically evaluate complex financial products, such as bonds and pensions, and transform them so that they do not conflict with Muslim ideals.”