AIAS hosted a talk by Dr. Gross on 7 March, 2016.
Dr Gross discussed the main themes of his book, “A Muslim Archipelago: Islam and Politics in Southeast Asia.” He addressed such questions as ‘Why is Indonesia which has a large Muslim majority (87 per cent) officially a secular (Pancasila) state, while Malaysia whose Muslim population (55-60 percent) is a smaller fraction of the whole describes itself officially as an Islamic State?’ And ‘how important is religion (Islam) in the insurgency movements in southern Thailand and the southern Philippines?’
Dr. Max L. Gross retired from the U.S. Federal Government in December 2005. Prior to his retirement, he was for eleven years Dean of a College in the Department of Defense. Before that, he was Professor of Middle Eastern studies at the same institution. He also served as a Research Specialist in Middle Eastern affairs in the Department of Defense. Dr. Gross served as an officer in the United States Air Force, with three consecutive overseas assignments in Turkey, West Germany and South Vietnam.
Dr. Gross attended graduate school at the American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, where he obtained an MA degree in Middle East history in 1971. He subsequently earned a Ph.D. in Modern Middle East history at Georgetown University in 1979.
Dr. Gross is the author of a number of articles on Lebanon, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Syria and Islam. In addition to his work in the Department of Defense, he also has served as adjunct lecturer at George Washington University, American University, Georgetown University and the University of Virginia, teaching courses on Islam, the International Relations of the Middle East, and the Arab-Israeli conflict and the History of the Middle East. He also lectures several times each year at federal institutions in the Washington, DC area and around the country. He has completed a book on Islam and Politics in Southeast Asia and is working on a companion volume on Islam and Politics in South Asia. From 2011-14 Dr. Gross was Course Director for the Afghanistan Advanced Area Studies course at the Foreign Service Institute, helping to prepare U.S. diplomats to serve in Afghanistan.