SOAS University of London

SOAS Festival of Ideas

Joint Book Launch - "Islam on Campus: Contested Identities and the Cultures of Higher Education in Britain" & "Essays on Secularism and Multiculturalism"

Islam on Campus

Date: 20 October 2020Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 20 October 2020Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Virtual Event

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This panel celebrates two important book publications, Islam on Campus: Contested Identities and the Cultures of Higher Education in Britain by Alison Scott-Baumann, Mathew Guest, Shuruq Naguib, Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor, Aisha Phoenix and Essays on Secularism and Multiculturalism by Tariq Modood.

Islam on Campus: Contested Identities and the Cultures of Higher Education in Britain

This exciting new publication from OUP is the result of five years research by a team of five academics, funded by the AHRC and builds on much excellent preceding work. It is based upon rich ethnographic fieldwork; 140 hours of interviews and focus groups at 6 campuses; online responses to a detailed survey by over 2,000 students attending 132 universities and a four minute Outside the Box animation created with Sabba Khan and PositiveNegatives Outside the Box animation . As well as analysing discrimination and its impact upon students and staff and the current state of Islamic Studies teaching in higher education, this research brings together many voices to propose the re-invention of the university: we offer fresh thinking on complex debates such as gender equality, freedom of speech and religious accommodation. We analyse responses to security risks and the role of the university in society. We uncover and reinforce the power of everyday informal interactions and friendships on campus to build dialogue between difference campus groups and to dismantle stereotypes. Its companion piece is our report Islam and Muslims on university campuses, perceptions and challenges launched in July 2020 ( Islam and Muslims on UK University Campuses: perceptions and challenges (pdf; 3mb)  )

The academic team comprises:

  • Dr Aisha Phoenix, SOAS,
  • Dr Shuruq Naguib, Lancaster,
  • Professor Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor, Coventry,
  • and Professor Mathew Guest, Durham,
  • led by Professor Alison Scott-Baumann SOAS
  • Moderator: Professor Peter Morey
Essays on Secularism and Multiculturalism by Tariq Modood (ECPR/Rowman and Littlefield, 2019)

Whether the recently settled religious minorities, Muslims, in particular, can be accommodated as religious groups in European countries has become a central political question and threatens to create long-term fault lines.In this collection of essays Tariq Modood argues that to grasp the nature of the problem we have to see how Muslims have become a target of a cultural racism, Islamophobia. Yet, the problem is not just one of anti-racism but of an under-standing of multicultural citizenship, of how minority identities, including those formed by race, ethnicity and religion, can be incorporated into national identities so all can have a sense of belonging together. This means that the tendency amongst some to exclude religious identities from public institutions and the re-making of national identities has to be challenged. Modood suggests that this can be done in a principled yet pragmatic way by drawing on Western Europe’s moderate political secularism and eschewing forms of secularism that offer reli-gious groups a second-class citizenship.


Dr Shuruq Naguib received her PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Manchester, Department of Middle Eastern Studies. Her research covers classical and modern Qur'an hermeneutics. She has written on ritual purity, metaphor in post-classical Qur'an interpretation and Arabic rhetoric, feminist hermeneutics of the Qur'an, and contemporary female exegetes and jurists in Islam. She is the Associate Editor of the Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an Online (Brill) and co-author of Islam on Campus: Contested Identities and the Cultures of Higher Education in Britain (2020).

Dr Mathew Guest is Professor in the Sociology of Religion in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University, where he has taught since 2004. His research has maintained a consistent focus on the institutional contexts that frame the possibilities of religious expression within western contexts, including congregations, families and universities. Since 2009 he has been researching how institutions of higher education in the UK shape the status and influence of religious identities, including the impact of the university experience on Christian and Muslim students, and the changing role of university chaplains. He is the co-author of Christianity and the University Experience: Understanding Student Faith (2013) and of Islam on Campus: Contested Identities and the Cultures of Higher Education in Britain (2020).

Professor Dr. Alison Scott-Baumann is Professor of Society and Belief and Associate Director of Research (Impact and Engagement) at SOAS, University of London. She and her research team recently completed a three year AHRC grant to analyse representations of Islam and Muslims on university campuses (2015-18). This complements her work on free speech on campus and pathways to securitisation. She speaks on BBC Radio 4, and has written for Guardian and several higher education blogs, and applies modern philosophy (Ricoeurian) to social justice issues. She gave evidence in 2017 to the Joint Committee on Human Rights about free speech on campus and in 2019 she was invited to No. 10 Downing Street to brief advisors on her research findings. She is also conducting a deep mapping of curricula and extracurricular provision for Jewish and Israeli studies in the Bloomsbury universities, to establish shared excellence. This includes improving conversations as part of the free speech entitlements and responsibilities shared by all interlocutors. She currently leads a research project called Influencing Corridors of Power that work with academics and students to communicate well through one page briefings of evidence-based findings with every MP and every peer

Tariq Modood is Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy and the founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship, University of Bristol. He was awarded a MBE for services to social sciences and ethnic relations in 2001 and elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2017. He served on the Commission on Multi-Ethnic Britain, the National Equality Panel, and the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life. His books include Essays on Secularism and Multiculturalism (2019) and Multiculturalism (2nd ed, 2013); as co-editor Multiculturalism and Interculturalism (2016) and The Problem of Religious Diversity: European Problems, Asian Challenges (2017). His website is

Peter Morey is Professor of 20th Century English Literature at University of Birmingham. He specialises in colonial and postcolonial literature and theory, with a focus on culture, nation, diaspora and the politics of representation. Among his books are Fictions of India: Narrative and Power (Edinburgh UP, 2000), Rohinton Mistry (Manchester UP, 2004) Framing Muslims (Harvard UP, 2011) [with Amina Yaqin], and Islamophobia and the Novel (Columbia UP, 2018). He has co-edited several volumes including Culture, Identity and Diaspora in Muslim Writing (Routledge, 2012); Muslims, Trust and Multiculturalism (Palgrave 2018); and Contesting Islamophobia (2019). He was Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded Framing Muslims international research network, and RCUK Global Uncertainties Leadership Fellow heading the Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue project.


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This event is part of the Virtual SOAS Festival of Ideas which will kick off a week-long series of virtual events. The festival includes: panel discussions, student led installations, masterclasses, keynote lectures, a public debate for/against on Decolonising Knowledge and a Verbatim performance by Bhuchar Boulevard on ‘Decolonising Not Just a Buzzword’ capturing SOAS conversations about the need to decolonise its imperial mission.

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