My PhD research was on Western (six British Christian) images of Islam in the nineteenth century. (There is a picture of
to knowledge, rising above description of what is already known. My interest in Christian-Muslim dialogue also raises the problematic of rival theological truth claims. While I believe that people should enjoy the right to inform others about their beliefs, even to persuade people to change them, I am convinced that polemic and debate is bankrupt.
I am interested in post-colonial literature, and debates about "multiculturalsm"/identity in the modern, pluralist world we inhabit. I have an on-going project, originally inspired by Salman Rushdie's fiction, working on themes addressing belonging, identity, the migrant condition. I also use film and literature (especially colonial and post-colonial) in my teaching.I would like to hear from other academics, or from anyone, who shares my interests. Email me.
Current: editing a series on Studying Religion for Continuum, arguing that Religious Studies' bias towards insider sensitivity leads to reluctance to deal with controversial issues but that these can be discussed without giving gratuitous offense, preserving the field's claim to be a critical discipline.
Co-leading, with Sarwar Alam (University of Arkansas), a project on Sufis and political engagement; papers by an international team will be published in a special edition of Comparative Islamic Studies (ISSN 1740-7125) founded by US Naval Academy, and in a volume of essays to be published by Equinox (who publish the Journal).
I am involved in the project, Christian- Muslim Relations: A Bibliographical History 1500 - 1900 as the Western Europe team leader. This project is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), based at Birmingham University and published by E. J Brill. The aim is to include entries on all texts by Christians and Muslims that are about, against or for the Other or contain significant information. We are interested in how stereotypes were sustained or challenged.