SOAS University of London

Department of Religions & Philosophies, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Professor Alison Scott-Baumann

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Alison Scott-Baumann
Department of Religions and Philosophies, School of History, Religions and Philosophies

Professor of Society & Belief

Centre of Islamic Studies (CIS)

Project Leader, '(Re)presenting Islam on Campus Project'

Influencing the Corridors of Power

Project Leader

REF Steering Group

Academic Representative

Re/presenting Islam on Campus

Project Lead

Professor Alison Scott-Baumann
Email address:
+44(0) 20 7898 4632
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings


Alison Scott-Baumann is Professor of Society and Belief in the Centre of Islamic Studiesin the Near and Middle East Department at SOAS and her work has two interrelated and also distinct research strands, social justice and philosophy. Her research has recently been recognized and rewarded by world-class research grants from Leverhulme (2012-13), ESRC (2012-13) and AHRC (2015-18).

With regard to social justice she is best known for her ongoing work on Islam in Britain that dates back to 1997. She has been consulted by government (2007 Siddiqui Report; 2008-10 Review of imam training) and has received HEA funding on several occasions.

In 2015 AHRC awarded Alison a major three year grant to research Re/presenting Islam on campus at SOAS, with an interdisciplinary academic team: Dr. Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor (Coventry), Dr. Mathew Guest (Durham), Dr. Shuruq Naguib (Lancaster), Dr. Ashraf Hoque (postdoctoral researcher SOAS) and Mr. Kareem Darwish (administrator SOAS). This project will seek to redress the imbalance in current approaches towards Islam and towards the role of universities in a democratic state.

Alison applies philosophy to social justice issues, regarding Islam, higher education and feminist debates. She is also known internationally for her philosophical research and was awarded a Leverhulme Fellowship for original research on Ricoeur, Kant and Sartre (2012-13). She works extensively on Ricoeur, and is an invited member of the Conseil Scientifique of the Fonds Ricoeur in Paris, and board member ofthreeinternational Ricoeur groups. She publishes regularly on Ricoeur and speaks frequently at international conferences in Europe and USA.

She is a Visiting Researcher in the Politics, Philosophy and Religion Department at Lancaster University and a Visiting Researcher at VU Amsterdam University in the Centre for Islamic Theology.



PhD Students supervised
  • Sofia Tsourlaki, The Mechanisms and Extent to Which Progressive Islamic ideas, via Social Media, Shape the Identity of British Muslims and the Different Forms of Islam in the UK.
  • Syed Enam Ahammad, Undertaking Islamophobia will improve human rights for the Muslims in the UK


In our confusing world full of opinions that are not evidence based, I apply philosophy to social justice issues: philosophy both structures and nourishes my research and helps me to ask difficult questions, when faced, for example with current hegemonic discourses that pathologise Islam. Such discourses also seek to use concerns about Islam to constrain the university sector. My work represents a clear paradigm shift in British Muslim relations with Higher Education by supporting collaborative partnerships between universities and Islamic institutions. This is extremely important at a time in British civil life when hate crimes and anti-religious feelings are increasing, especially against Muslims and against others who seem to use religion as their guide. There is currently little effective activity at British universities to support cosmopolitan citizenship.

My work started with a collaborative partnership in 1997 between the University of Gloucestershire and the Kashmir Education Foundation UK and their work in Pakistan. In collaboration with the then Teacher Training Agency, I also set up a partnership between Markfield Institute of Higher Education and the University of Gloucestershire, which endures to this day at masters and doctoral level and includes validation and quality assurance.

As recognition of the importance of my work I was invited to become a member of Dr. Siddiqui’s government review of Islam in Higher Education, 2007, and in 2008 Hazel Blears commissioned me personally to review imam training for the government (Communities and Local Government). For three years I served as a board member of the Islamic Studies Network (HEA) and I was a key figure in the subsequent establishment of British Association for Islamic Studies (BRAIS). I am invited regularly to lecture on the context for Islamic Studies (e.g. Leeds 28.1.12). I have secured two HEA research grants; one on creating a curriculum to meet the needs of British Muslim women at university and the other of Arabic language teaching. The acknowledged excellence of this work is demonstrated by the award in 2012 to a colleague and me of the aforementioned ESRC follow-on funding to disseminate research findings regarding collaborative partnerships (£76,000).

In 2015 I was awarded a major three year grant by AHRC to research Re/presenting Islam on campus (£700,000).

In philosophy I was awarded a Leverhulme Fellowship for original research on Ricoeur, Kant and Sartre (2012-13), and I write, lecture and publish extensively about Ricoeur and modern continental thought.

Murdoch is also a special interest, and I am currently researching her early work on Sartre, using unknown archival material in the Bodleian Oxford, St Anne’s Oxford and Newnham College Cambridge to show clearly how she became a continental philosopher and made good use of Sartre and other major European philosophers. I have written and lectured on Murdoch for the last decade.

Having hoped to effect change within philosophy by being a role model as a woman thinker, I now believe it is necessary to intervene directly in discussion that remains male dominated and therefore still does not encourage discussion between men and women about their shared human condition.

I have been successful for 15 years in attracting research funds, and have published the outcomes of each research project, either as a book, an article, a book chapter or a policy report.


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Doctoral supervision and external examination: 11 doctoral completions and 8 external examinations. Research bidding advice: Good track record with HEA, ESRC, AHRC, FCO, DCLG

Available for
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Press
  • Briefings
  • Special Study Programmes
  • Short Term Consultancy
Regional Expertise
Country Expertise
  • French
  • German


Authored Books

Scott-Baumann, Alison and Perfect, Simon (2021) Freedom of speech in universities : Islam, charities and counter-terrorism. London: Routledge.

Scott-Baumann, Alison and Guest, Mathew and Naguib, Shuruq and Cheruvallil-Contractor, Sariya and Phoenix, Aisha and Al Baghal, Tarek and Yenn, Lee (2020) Islam on Campus: Contested Identities and the Cultures of Higher Education in Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Scott-Baumann, Alison and Cheruvallil-Contractor, Sariya (2015) Islamic Education in Britain: new pluralist paradigms. London; New York: Bloomsbury.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2013) Ricoeur and the negation of happiness. New York; London: Bloomsbury.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2011) Ricoeur and the hermeneutics of suspicion. New York; London: Continuum.


Scott-Baumann, Alison and Ebbiary, Alyaa and Ad Duha Mohammad, Shams and Dhorat, Safiyya and Begum, Shahanaz and Pandor, Hassan and Stolyar, Julia (2019) 'Towards Contextualized Islamic Leadership: Paraguiding and the Universities and Muslim Seminaries Project'. Religions, (10) 12, pp 662.

Scott-Baumann, Alison and Esposti, Emanuelle Degli (2019) 'Fighting for “Justice”, Engaging the Other : Shi’a Muslim Activism on the British University Campus'. Religions, (10) 3, pp 1-17.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2018) 'The modulus of elasticity: Islam, art and populism in postcolonial securitized Europe'. Francosphères, (7) 2, pp 147-162.

Scott-Baumann, Alison and Marcelo, Gonçalo (2018) 'Introduction – On the Challenge of Migration: Critical Hermeneutical Perspectives'. Critical Hermeneutics, (2) 1, pp I-XVI.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2018) '‘Dual Use Research of Concern’ and ‘Select Agents’: How Researchers Can Use Free Speech to Avoid ‘Weaponising’ Academia'. Journal of Muslims in Europe, (7) 2, pp 237-261.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2017) 'Ideology, utopia and Islam on campus: how to free speech a little from its own terrors'. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, (12) 2, pp 159-176.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2013) 'Ricoeur, the bioethics of happiness and related delusional states'. Bioética y hermenéutica. La ética deliberativa de Paul Ricœur: Actas del Congreso Internacional.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2013) 'Ricoeur and counter-terror rhetoric: a calculus of negation'. LoSguardo - Rivista di filosofia, (2) 12, pp 81-93.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2012) 'Arabic language and Islamic Studies: who studies Arabic and how can these skills be used at university and beyond?'. Perspectives.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2012) 'Ricoeur and Murdoch: the idea and the practice of metaphor and parable'. Il Protagora, (39) 17, pp 67-79.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2010) 'Ricoeur’s Translation Model as a Mutual Labour of Understanding'. Theory, Culture & Society, (27) 5, pp 69-85.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2010) 'Enhancing the visibility of Muslim women in Islamic Studies'. Perspectives 2: Teaching Islamic Studies in higher education.

Edited Books or Journals

Simone Roberts, M. F. and Scott-Baumann, Alison, (eds.), (2010) Iris Murdoch and the Moral Imagination: Essays. Jefferson, NC.: McFarland.

Scott-Baumann, Alison and Roberts, M. F. Simone, (eds.), (2010) Iris Murdoch and the Moral Imaginations: Essays. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Book Chapters

Lee, Yenn and Scott-Baumann, Alison (2020) 'Digital ecology of free speech: Authenticity, identity, and self-censorship'. In: Yates, Simeon and Rice, Ronald E., (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Digital Technology and Society. Oxford University Press.

Scott-Baumann, Alison and Gibbs, Paul and Elwick, Alex and Maguire, Kate (2019) 'What do we know about the implementations of equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace?'. In: Gibbs, Paul and Bartels-Ellis, Fiona and Özbilgin, Mustafa F., (eds.), Global Diversity Management: A Fusion of Ideas, Stories and Practice. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, pp 11-23.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2019) 'The values of liberté, égalité, fraternité fifty years on: why the 'free speech' debate makes it even less likely that Mai '68 could happen in Britain now than it was then'. In: Gibbs, Paul and Jameson, Jill and Elwick, Alex, (eds.), Values of the University in a Time of Uncertainty. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, pp 217-228.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2018) 'Trust Within Reason: How to Trump the Hermeneutics of Suspicion on Campus'. In: Yaqin, Amina and Morey, Peter and Soliman, Asmaa, (eds.), Muslims, Trust and Multiculturalism: New Directions. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 51-72.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2018) 'United Kingdom'. In: Scharbrodt, Oliver and Akgönül, Samim and Alibašić, Ahmet and Nielsen, Jørgen S. and Racius, Egdunas, (eds.), Yearbook of Muslims in Europe; Vol 9. Leiden: Brill, pp 711-730.

Scott-Baumann, Alison and Cheruvallil-Contractor, Sariya (2016) 'An Islamic perspective: What does Islam offer to the contemporary debate?'. In: Heap, Stephen, (ed.), The Universities we Need: Theological Perspectives. Abingdon; New York: Routledge, pp 124-142.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2016) 'Speak to Silence and Identify Absence on Campus: Sister Prudence and Paul Ricoeur on the Negated Woman Question'. In: Halsema, Annemie and Henriques, Fernanda, (eds.), Feminist Explorations of Paul Ricoeur's Philosophy. Lanham, MD: Lexington; Rowman & Littlefield.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2011) 'Developing Islamic Higher Education for a secular university sector: Orientalism in Reverse?'. In: Tayob, Abdulkader, (ed.), Muslim Schools and Education in Europe and South Africa. Munster; New York: Waxmann.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2011) 'Unveiling Orientalism in reverse'. In: Gabriel, Theodore and Hannan, Rabiha, (eds.), Islam and the Veil. London; New York: Continuum, pp 20-35.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2010) 'Nausea under The Net'. In: Simone Roberts, M. F. and Scott-Baumann, Alison, (eds.), Iris Murdoch and the Moral Imaginations: Essays. Jefferson, NC.: McFarland.

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2007) 'Collaborative Partnerships as Sustainable Pedagogy: Working with British Muslims'. In: Roberts, Carolyn and Roberts, Jane, (eds.), Greener by degrees; exploring sustainability through higher education curriculum. Cheltenham: University of Gloucestershire.

Monographs and Working Papers

Renton, David and Scott-Baumann, Alison (2021) The HE Free Speech Bill must Incorporate the Equality Act. London: SOAS Influencing the Corridors of Power project (ICOP).

Renton, David and Scott-Baumann, Alison (2021) The 'Free Speech' Law will create Courtroom and Classroom Chaos. London: SOAS Influencing the Corridors of Power project (ICOP).

Guest, Mathew and Scott-Baumann, Alison and Cheruvallil-Contractor, Sariya and Naguib, Shuruq and Phoenix, Aisha and Lee, Yenn and Al Baghal, Tarek (2020) Islam and Muslims on UK University Campuses: perceptions and challenges. Durham: Durham University, SOAS, Coventry University, Lancaster University.

Scott-Baumann, Alison and Mehmood, Maryyum (2020) Freedom of Speech in Higher Education. London: SOAS Influencing the Corridors of Power project (ICOP).

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2010) Muslim Faith Leader Training Review with Dr Mukadam. Department for Communities and Local Government. Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Mukadam, Mohamed and Scott-Baumann, Alison and Chowdhary, Ashfaque and Contractor, Sariya (2010) The training and development of Muslim Faith Leaders Current practice and future possibilities. Department for Communities and Local Government.


Scott-Baumann, Alison (2010) 'Being a stranger by Paul Ricoeur' Theory, Culture & Society, (27) 5, pp 37-48.


Scott-Baumann, Alison (2017) 'Today programme Radio 4, 4 Nov 2017'.

Opinion Pieces / Media / Blogs

Scott-Baumann, Alison (2017) No platform isn't the real problem for free speech on campus.


This list was last generated on Saturday, 2nd July 2022, 08:34 Europe/London.