Dr Davide Pettinato

Research Fellow

My interdisciplinary work has two interrelated strands at the interface between Islamic Studies, Development Studies, and British Muslim Studies.

On the one hand, I specialize on how concepts, tools and practices from the Islamic tradition (spanning from Islamic cosmology and ethical-moral principles; to jurisprudential reasoning and historical/institutional heritage) can inform the development of faith-literate (Muslim) contributions to address issues related to sustainable development and climate change. Currently, I am working with Prof Rob Gleave on the GCRF-funded project: Islam and water management in a changing climate: building ‘faith-based evidence’. This explores the theme of ‘water’ (including water rights and water preservation) within the Islamic tradition, and how this heritage can inform current water management strategies in the context of a changing climate.

On the other hand, I am also interested in the discourses and practices of British Muslim INGOs/charities. My PhD—which focused on the largest and oldest UK-based Muslim INGO, Islamic Relief; and on the youth-led, small charity MADE (Muslim Action for Development and the Environment)—offered key insights into the historical evolution of these actors, of British Muslims’ civic engagement, and of the interplay between religious (Muslim) and secular (developmental/environmental) values and frames of reference.

I also have extensive teaching experience: throughout my years at the IAIS, I have been leading seminars on the modules ‘Introduction to Islam’, ‘Muslims in Britain’, and ‘Islamic law and society’. Given my special interest on climate change, in 2017 I also contributed to the award-winning MOOC: ‘Climate Change: Challenges and Solutions.

Alongside my academic work, I have several years’ experience of working in a research capacity within the development sector and with British Muslim charities.

Research interests

My research interests include exploring:

  1. how Islamic cosmology and ethics, and principles and practices of Islamic jurisprudence and law can have a direct, practical role to play in addressing climate change and promoting sustainable development
  2. the discourses and practices of (British) Muslim charities and INGOs, with a focus on their relationship with the Islamic tradition, their values, and the modes of civic engagement they promote

Modules taught


PhD in Arab and Islamic Studies. University of Exeter, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. Thesis: “Understanding the Discourse of British Muslim NGOs: Islamic Relief and MADE as Case Studies”

MLitt in Islamic Studies (Distinction). University of Aberdeen / Al Maktoum College of Higher Education, Dundee

MSc in Applied Biology (Distinction. 110/110 cum laude). University of Pavia, Italy

BSc in Biology (Distinction. 110/110 cum laude). University of Pavia, Italy

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