Dr Katherine Brown BA MSc PhD

Dr Katherine Brown

Department of Theology and Religion
Reader in Religion and Global Security

Over the past decade I have been researching the role of gender and religion in relation to Islamic extremism, and have an interest in gender-mainstreaming countering and preventing violent extremism efforts. My current work focuses on gender, religion and resilience in global governance efforts in relation to terrorism. This is part of my larger project, Humanities for Resilience, which is funded by the AHRC, that looks at how the humanities in civil society, faith groups and academia can and do contribute to marginalised communities’ resilience.

Among other publications, I am the author of Gender, Religion and Extremism: finding women in anti-radicalisation (Oxford University Press, 2020). I have also carried out policy work such as: Gender Mainstreaming Principles, dimensions and Priorities in PVE (UN Women, New York, 2019); and, Gender Specific Approaches to EXIT work (Radicalisation Awareness Network, 2019), and have been an expert witness in court cases involving the radicalisation of women and children in the UK.

Photo credit: Paul Musso | Hay Festival

Feedback and office hours

For appointments/meetings, please contact Sharon Jesic.


  • 2015: MA Academic Practice, Distinction, King’s College London
  • 2011: Post-graduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCAP), King’s College London
  • 2005: PhD, "Muslim Women’s Rights in Egypt, Malaysia and UK”, University of Southampton, Dr Tony Evans (Supervisor), Dr Jill Stean (External Examiner). ESRC Funded
  • 2001: MSc International Relations (Research), University of Southampton. ESRC Funded
  • 2000: BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations, First Class, Lancaster University


I am delighted to have joined Birmingham University’s Department of Theology and Religion in January 2016. Before then, I was a lecturer at King’s College London. I took up that post in 2008 after teaching at the Open University and the University of Southampton.  I completed my PhD in 2005 on the comparative politics of the Islamisation of Muslim women’s rights in the UK, Malaysia and Egypt.

More details can be found on my LinkedIn page: uk.linkedin.com/in/KatherineEBrown



  • Introduction to the Study of Religion 
  • Understanding and Countering Radical Islamic thinking and politics
  • Politics in the name of God


  • Research Methods in Theology and the study of Religion
  • Religion in Contemporary Global Politics 1 & 2

Postgraduate supervision

I am happy to supervise post-doctoral students on topics of religiously inspired political violence, gender in Islamic political movements and the politics of jihad.

Find out more - our PhD Theology and Religion  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research looks at Resistance, Gender and Political Islam, and is concerned with the re-theorising and ‘gendering’ of religious resistance and politics. The focus also offers a critical gendered examination of the securitisation of religion in a post 9/11 world. I am currently writing up a monograph examining anti-radicalisation measures worldwide, and their gender features and impacts. My work is therefore also involved with anti-extremist movements and the discourses on human rights that often frame their engagement with the public sphere.

A secondary research project looks at the role of humour, laughter and sexuality in understandings of religion and public responses to political violence. This is particularly concerned with how satire, public comedians and everyday ‘humour’ shape understanding of religion and security.


Other activities

I am an expert witness in Radicalisation cases brought before the High Court and a member of the academic board for the Radicalisation Awareness Network that is organised by the European Union to bring together practitioners and experts from across Europe in a variety of fields connected to radicalisation.  


  • (2018) Gendered Violence in the making of the proto-state Islamic State. Book Chapter in Parashar, S. (ed) Gendered States. OUP. Chapter 11.
  • (2017) and Elizabeth Pearson “The Online-world, Social Media and Terrorism” in Andrew Silke (ed.), Handbook of Terrorism and Counter-terrorism (Routledge).
  • (2016) “Securitization of Human Rights” in Steans, J. and Tepe-Belfrage, D (eds.), Handbook on Gender and World Politics (Edward-Elgar). Chapter 30. Pp.255-262.
  • (2016) and Silke, A. ‘‘Radicalisation’: The Transformation of Modern Understanding of Terrorist Origins, Psychology and Motivation.’ In S. Jayakumar (ed.), State, Society, and National Security: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century (World Scientific Publishing) Chapter 9.
  • (2015) “Marginality as a Feminist Research Method in Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism” In Critical Methods in Terrorism Studies. Dixit, P and Stump, J. L. (Eds.). (Routledge). pp.136-149
  • (2015) and Tania Saeed, “Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization at British Universities: Encounters and Alternatives” Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies 38(11) pp.1952-1968
  • (2014) “Influencing Political Islam: Moderation, Resilience and De-Radicalization in UK domestic Counter-Terrorism policies (2005-2011)” in Tuck, C. and Kennedy G. (Eds.) British Propaganda and Wars of Empire: Influencing Friend and Foe 1900-2010 (Ashgate).
  • (2014) “Gender and Religion” Chapter 25, in Laura Shepherd (ed.) Gender and Global Politics Second Edition (Routledge).
  • (2013) and Mustafa, D. and Tillotson, M. “Antipode to Terror: Spaces of Performative Politics” Antipode. 45(5) pp 1110–1127
  • (2012) with Syme-Taylor, V. “Gender and Feminism in Professional Military Education” Equality, Diversity and Inclusion 31:5/6 pp. 452 – 466.
  • (2012) “Gender and Anti-Radicalisation: women and emerging counter-terrorism measures” in Satterthwaite, M. and Huckerby, J. (Eds.) Gender, National Security and Counter-terrorism: a human rights perspectives (Routledge), pp. 36-59.
  • (2011) “Muriel Degauque: Media Representations of Europe's First Female Suicide Bomber,” European Journal of Cultural Studies 14:6, pp. 705-726.
  • (2011) “Blinded by the Explosion? Security and Resistance in Muslim Women’s Suicide Terrorism,” in Sjoberg, L. and Gentry, C. (Eds.) Women in Global Terrorism (University of Georgia Press), pp.194-226.
  • (2011) “Terror in the Faculty Lounge: Addressing the Politics of Fear and the Politics of Difference in Government Security Policies,” in Geary, A. and Diamantides, M. (Eds.) Islam, Law and Identity (Routledge-Cavendish), pp. 236-262.(2010) and D. Mustafa “The Taliban, Public Space, and Terror in Pakistan” Eurasian Geography and Economics, 51: 4, pp. 496–512.
  • (2010) “Contesting the Securitization of British Muslims: Citizenship and Resistance,” Interventions: International Journal of Post-Colonial Studies 12:2, pp. 171-182.
  • (2010) and Daanish Mustafa“The Taliban, public space, and terror in Pakistan” Eurasian Geography and Economics. 51, 4, p. 496-512
  • (2008) “The Promise and Perils of Women's Participation in UK Mosques: The Impact of Securitisation Agendas on Identity, Gender and Community,” British Journal of Politics and IR 10:3, pp. 472-491.
  • (2006) “Realising Muslim Women's Rights: The Role of Islamic Identity among British Muslim Women,” Women's Studies International Forum 29:4, pp. 417-430. 

Digital scholarship

View all publications in research portal


Radicalisation and Jihadi-Salafi violence and ideologies in the contemporary period, with additional focus on women’s involvement and the role of gender. Counter-terrorism, counter-extremism and countering violent extremism, including particular expertise on the UK, EU, Pakistan and Indonesia on these matters. A concern with the impact of these policies on Muslim communities.

Media experience

Appearances on, and advisor for documentaries, News and current affairs programmes for: BBC Two, Reuters, Washington Post, New York Times, Radio Four (Start the Week, Woman’s Hour, Sunday, On Belief), Radio One, Radio Five Live, ABC (Australian Broadcasting), Deutsche Welle, Der Spiegel, Marie Claire, France-News 24, Al-Jazeera English, Sky News, Channel Five News, The Guardian and The Sunday Times.

Author and Blogger on: e-IR, The Conversation, Defence in Depth, Public Spirit, BBC Online.


  • Countering violent extremism and gender mainstreaming
  • Radicalisation, Gender and Religion
  • Muslim women's involvement in violent religious politics (e.g. jihadism)
  • How counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation programmes impact on religious women’s rights and Muslim communities
  • Gender and religion-sensitive approaches to resilience

Policy experience

Has worked for the UN on gender-mainstreaming in countering violent extremism, worked with the EU on providing talks on violent extremism and radical beliefs, and provided academic oversight for think tanks, including RUSI and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Has written research briefs for the UK Ministry of Defence, and participated in Track 1.5 security dialogue talks in Australia with the foreign office. 

For policy experts and practitioners: 

We invite individuals and organisations that are involved in EXIT work (de-radicalisation efforts and programmes), cognate services (probation, social services and government), research and policy (academia, civil society or in another capacity) to participate in our research on Gender Mainstreaming and Returnees.

Other information

Expert witness in the High Courts for cases involving radicalisation, persons at risk of radicalisation and vulnerable children.