The Centre for the Study of Islam (CSI)


Director: Professor Sajjad Rizvi

The Centre for the Study of Islam, based in the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, brings together the core teaching staff in Islamic Studies, other staff who have an interest in Islamic culture and civilisation, and all interested postgraduate students (at MA and PhD level).

We sponsor visiting speakers in Islamic Studies, hold regular workshops and conferences, and convene the CSI Lunchtime Seminar (which takes place on Wednesdays alternate weeks during term time).  All are welcome to our events, and to join the mailing list, you should email Ms Sarah Wood . At our lunchtime seminars, we regularly hold Arabic text reading sessions.  Text session attendees should be aware that competence in reading classical Arabic and Islamic texts in Arabic is assumed; attendees receive a copy of the Arabic text one week in advance of the class (by pdf email attachment) and are expected to have read the text before attending.



Professor Sajjad Rizvi

(Specialisms: Islamic philosophy and theology, Quranic exegesis, Shīʿī thought and theories of authority in Shīʿī Islam)

Islamic Studies teaching staff

Dr Mustafa Baig

(Specialisms: Islamic Law, Muslims living in non-Muslim contexts)

Professor Robert Gleave 
(Specialisms: Islamic law and legal theory, Shīʿī jurisprudence and exegesis, violence and its justification in Islamic thought)

Dr Istvan Kristo-Nagy

(Specialisms: late antiquity and early Islam, the role of the intellectual in Islamic civilisation, violence and heresy in early Islam) 

Professor Bruce Lawrence - Al-Qasimi Visiting Professor in Islamic Studies 

(Specialisms: Translation and interpretation of the Qur’an, Islam in South Asia, Muslim belief and practice)

Professor Emeritus Ian Netton

(Specialisms: history of Islamic philosophy and theology, ritual and Muslim practice, literature, orientalism and Islam)

Dr Emily Selove

(Specialisms: Medieval Arabic Literature, Magic in Medieval Islamic  Culture, Medieval Arabic medical texts)

Dr Suha Taji-Farouki

(Specialisms: Modern Islamic thought, political Islam and modern Muslim movements, Islamic mysticism in contemporary Islam)

Research Fellows

Dr Paul Gledhill

(Law and Learning in Imami Shiite Islam research fellow project; specialisms: early Islamic law and the formation of the law schools).

Dr Sejad Mekic 

(Specialisms: Islamic law and jurisprudence, fatwas ands their interpretation in the odern period, Islamic law in the Balkans)

Dr Davide Pettinato 

(Specialisms: Islamic charities in the Europe, NGOs and International Development in the Muslim World, Islamic perspectives on Climate Change).

Research projects

Current research projects

The CSI brings together existing research projects including:

  • Understanding Shari'a: Past Perfect/Imperfect Present ( - This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 649307. Postdoctoral research fellow: Dr Sejad Mekic.

  • Law and Learning in Imami Shi'ite Islam (LAWALISI) - A 5 year project funded by the European Research Council. Postdoctoral research fellow: Dr Paul Gledhill.

  • Islam and water management in a changing climate: building ‘faith-based evidence’ – a six-month project, funded by the GCRF Facilitation Fund, examining religious engagement with climate change in the Muslim world, with a focus on Tunisia, and in collaboration with Institut des Régions Arides (Tunis) and the Centre for Water Systems (Exeter). Postdoctoral research fellow:  Dr Davide Pettinato

Past research projects

Events and activities

All are welcome to attend any of the events. If you have any questions contact the Centre’s Director: Associate Professor Sajjad Rizvi

The Centre for the Study of Islam’s Events for the spring term 2018-19


Wednesday January 16 

Visiting Speaker Lecture at 5.30pm Lecture Theatre 1:

Professor Bruce Lawrence, Duke University and our al-Qasimi Visiting Professor of Islamic Studies

"Is there a discernible Islamic(ate) civilization?"


Wednesday January 23

Lunctime seminar at 12.30pm Seminar Room 1

Hasti Safavi to lead 


Wednesday February 6 

Lunchtime seminar at 12.30pm Seminar Room 1

Abdul Latif Finch to lead


Tuesday February 12

1: Lunchtime Seminar at 13.30pm Lecture Theatre 2:

Professor Aaron Hughes, University of Rochester

2: Visiting Speaker Lecture at 5.15pm Lecture Theatre 1:

Professor Aaron Hughes, University of Rochester

"The Shīʿa are the Jews of Our Umma’: Rethinking Alterity in Medieval Islam"


Wednesday February 20

1: PGR research afternoon:  lunch at 12.30 followed by PGR research afternoon 1.30-4.00 Lecture Theatre 1

2: Visiting Speaker Lecture at 5.15pm Lecture Theatre 1

Professor Jaakko Hameen-Anttila, Edinburgh University

"From Middle Persian to Arabic, from Arabic to Persian: notes on first-millennium translations"


Wednesday February 27

1: Lunchtime seminar at 12.30pm Seminar Room 1

Dr Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh visiting fellow from Erfurt to lead

2: Visiting Speaker Lecture at 5.15pm Lecture Theatre 1:

Professor Miriam Cooke, Duke University, and Honorary Research Fellow, IAIS

“Dancing in Damascus”


Wednesday March 6 

1: Lunchtime Seminar at 12.30pm Seminar room 1:

Professor Adam Sabra, UC Santa Barbara, and Visiting Professor of Islamic Studies, Bonn

2: Visiting Speaker Lecture at 5.15pm Lecture Theatre 1:

Professor Adam Sabra, UC Santa Barbara, and Visiting Professor of Islamic Studies, Bonn

"Household and State in Ottoman Egypt:  The Case of al-Sāda al-Bakrīya"


Wednesday March 13 

Lunchtime seminar at 12.30pm Seminar Room 1:

Dr Philipp Bruckmayr (Vienna, Erasmus Visiting Fellow at CSI) to lead


Monday March 18

Research Workshop (Full day:times TBC) with Professor Bruce Lawrence (Al-Qasimi Professor of Islamic Studies): Translating the Sense of the Qurʾan

The Council Chamber, Northcote House, University of Exeter


Wednesday March 20

1: Research afternoon: 12.30 lunch. Workshop 1.30 – 5.00 Lecture Theatres 1 and 2

On magic with Professor Charles Burnett (Warburg Institute), with Michael Noble, Liana Saif, Ceri Houlbrouk, and Emily Selove

2: Visiting Speaker Lecture at 5.15pm Lecture Theatre 1:

Professor Christian Sahner, Oxford University

"Christian Martyrs under Islam: Religious Violence and the Making of the Muslim World"


Wednesday March 27 

Lunchtime seminar at 12.30pm Seminar Room 1:

Dr Davide Pettinato (CSI) to lead

An archive of past events can be found here.

Postgraduate research

Academic staff within CSI supervise doctoral students with a diverse range of current research topics. If you are interested in applying for a place on our programme please see our members' specialisms.

Master of Arts Programmes

MA in Middle East Studies

Master of Research Programme

MRes in Humanities (Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies)