Photo of Professor Robert Gleave

Professor Robert Gleave


Extension: 4025

Telephone: 01392 724025

Professor of Arabic Studies

Rob Gleave is Professor of Arabic Studies and Director of the Centre for the Study of Islam (CSI), IAIS, University of Exeter.  The CSI organises regular seminars and workshops, bringing together staff, researchers and students studying topics related to Islam to share research.  His research interests include Islamic legal theory, particularly legal hermeneutics, and the history of Shi’ite legal thought and institutions. Click here to see his principal publications.  His Project Administrator and PA is Mrs Pam Navran.

He is currently Principal Investigator of 2 major projects:

  • Understanding Shari’a: Past Present Imperfect Present (; this two-year project (2016-2018) is funded by the Humanities in the European Research Area consortium as part of the “Uses of the Past” programme. It is a collaboration between the universities of Exeter, Gottingen, Bergen and Leiden, with a team of lead researchers and postdoctoral fellows in each centre. The project examines the ways in which the notion of a “perfect past” informs programmes of reform of the “imperfect present” in Islamic legal thinking. The postdoctoral research fellow on this project is Dr Omar Anchassi.
  • Law and Learning in Imami Shi’ite Islam (LAWALISI) is a 5-year project (2016-2021) funded by the European Research Council (as an Advanced Award) aims to integrate the study of Imami Shi’ite law into the broader field of Islamic legal studies. The project has appointed two postdoctoral research fellows for its first phase (2016-2019) examining early and classical Imami jurisprudence. The post-doctoral fellows are Dr Paul Gledhill and Dr Wissam Halawi.

His most recent projects include:

Islamic Reformulations: Belief, Governance, Violence (, a 3-year project (2013-16) funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of the PACCS programme. Islamic Reformulations examined questions around the reformulation of notions of belief, governance and their relationship to violence in contemporary Islamic thought. The research fellows on this project were Drs Sarah Elibiary and Mustafa Baig.

Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence in Islamic Thought ( was a 3-year programme (2010-2013) funded by the ESRC as part of the Global Uncertainties Programme.  The project examned how violence has been justified in the intellectual history of Islam, and has produced the series of the same name, publiced by Edinburgh University Press.

For details on his past projects click here.  They include:

Understanding Religion and Law: Fatwas, Muftis and Law in British Islam (2015-2017) (

NWO-AHRC Netherlands-UK (Leiden-Exeter) collaborative grant: The Sharia Project (2011-2013)

The Hawza Project: Shiite Seminaries in Iraq and Iran, (2009-2013)

The UK Network of Practitioners and Researchers in Islamic Law (2007-2009)

Rob Gleave has been visiting fellow at the universities of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Oxford, Washington (Seattle), Meiji (Tokyo), Tehran and Chicago.

Rob Gleave is currently the Principal Investigator on the University of Exeter ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (ESRC-IAA).The aim of the ESRC-IAA is to facilitate academics working with external partners across the social sciences. For more information on the ESRC-IAA, click here. For his administrative duties, both within and outside of the University of Exeter, click here.