Islamic Studies

The Department’s research in Islamic Studies encompasses a wealth of subjects, from medieval Islamic theology, philosophy and ethics to Islamic movements in the Middle East, Christian–Muslim relations, the sociology of Islam in the West and gender narratives within jihadi networks. 

The Department has a particular research strength in the study of Muslim Europe, and in transnational connections between Muslim majority and minority contexts. We work across a number of humanities and social science disciplines and currently host major projects including research into the transformation of Shi’i Islam in the Middle East and Europe; science and Islam; and the experiences of Iraqi and Syrian refugees in Europe and the Middle East.



  • Katherine Brown is interested in Muslim women's involvement in violent religious politics
  • Jocelyne Cesari studies the politicisation of religion in national and interntional contexts, secularization, religion and governance, Islam in the West
  • Haifaa Jawad is interested in areas such as the socio-political study of Islam, modern and contemporary Islamic thought, women in Islam, feminism and Islam, Islam in Britain
  • Yafa Shanneik specialises in the dynamics and trajectories of gender in Islam within the context of contemporary diasporic and transnational Muslim women’s spaces
  • Richard Todd specialises in medieval Islamic philosophy and Sufism
  • Sophia Vasalou researches  Islamic theology, with a particular interest in forms of Islamic ethics with a strong rationalist edge

Major publications

  • Brown KE (2020) Gender, Religion, Extremism: Finding Women in Anti-Radicalization. Oxford Studies in Gender and International Relations. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Cesari, J. (2013) Why the West Fears Islam: An Exploration of Muslims within Liberal Democracies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Cesari, J. (2014) The Awakening of Muslim Democracy: Religion, Modernity and the State. New York: Cambridge University Press
  • Cesari, J. (2018) What is Political Islam? Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers. Book Award Honor 2019 by the Religion and International Relations Section of the International Studies Association.
  • Cesari, J. and J. Casanova eds (2017) Islam, Gender and Democracy in a Comparative Perspective. London: Oxford University Press
  • Cesari, J. ed. (2015) Oxford Handbook of European Islam, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Jones SH, Catto R, Kaden T, et al. (2019) ‘That’s how Muslims are required to view the world’: Race, culture and belief in non-Muslims’ descriptions of Islam and science. The Sociological Review 67(1): 161–177. DOI: 10.1177/0038026118778174.
  • Jones, S.H. (2020), Islam and the Liberal State: National Identity and the Future of Muslim Britain, London: IB Tauris
  • Todd, R.M.W (2014), The Sufi Doctrine of Man: Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi's Metaphysical Anthropology
  • Vasalou, S 2019, Virtues of Greatness in the Arabic Tradition. Oxford University Press. 


Research centres

Find out more



Dr Katherine Brown looks at women's roles in countering violent extremism
Yafa Shanneik - 'Narratives of Displacement' at the British Academy