Category Archives: Public Lectures

Call for Papers: British Muslims and Covid-19: Impacts, Experiences and Responses

8th December 2020     

A free MBRN online symposium

Last date for submission of abstracts: 30th October 2020

Research on Covid-19 has highlighted its disproportionate impact on Black and Asian Minority Ethnic groups (BAME) communities (Public Health England, 2020). However, these studies only offer a limited understanding of the particularity of experiences within the umbrella category BAME. For instance, there is only limited discussion around faith in relation to Covid-19, its impacts and the socio-economic fall-outs of lockdown. This MBRN symposium will redress this gap by taking an intersectional perspective in mapping and analysing the impact of Covid-19 on British Muslim communities. By bringing together practitioners and academics, we will examine how diverse British Muslim communities have experienced the pandemic, how their lives have been impacted during and after lockdown and how they responded.

During the lockdown, we have witnessed unprecedented impacts on British Muslims including the closing of mosques and madrassas, cancellation of Friday congregational prayers, Ramadan in lock-down and a significantly limited Hajj. Muslim faith and community leader have played important roles in translating theological rulings into practical guidance, which have largely been adhered to within Muslim communities. Similarly, children and young Muslims, like all young people have experienced the impact of Covid-19 in relation to their education (Children’s Commissioner, 2020). High levels of socio-economic disadvantage amongst British Muslim households mean that we can expect a disproportionate effect of lockdown and Covid-19 on British Muslims. Home learning during school closure, for instance, brought to the surface as well as enhanced the disparities in access to education for disadvantaged pupils, especially those who are known to be at risk of falling behind such as British Muslim pupils.

By focusing on the experiences of British Muslims, this online symposium will enable us to examine the interplay of ethnicity, religion and deprivation, in negotiating the particular challenges of living through Covid-19. It will explore the diversity of ways in which British Muslims have experienced and responded to Covid-19, and seek to understand its ongoing impacts. Our aim is to suggest answers for the question, “How are diverse British Muslims living through, and responding to the challenges of, Covid-19?”.

We invite proposals for papers that explore any dimension of Muslim identity / lived experiences in relation to the pandemic, lockdown and subsequent socio-economic implications of Covid-19 in Britain. We hope that the symposium will attract academics and practitioners from a range of epistemological positions and disciplinary standpoints. Possible themes and topics include (but not limited to):

  • · the intersections of religion, ethnicity and gender in experiences of and responses to Covid-19
  • · inclusion and critical engagement of religion as part of the national response to Covid-19
  • · disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on British Muslim communities
  • · racism and prejudice (including Islamophobia) linked to Covid-19
  • · responses of British Muslim charitable and volunteering organisations
  • · responses of British Muslim faith leaders and scholars
  • · support for bereaved families
  • · Islamic theological perspectives on quarantine
  • · impact on lived experiences British Muslim families (home-schooling, multi-generational families)
  • · media representations of Muslims in relation to Covid-19
  • · counter-terrorism and surveillance during a pandemic
  • · the negotiation of cultural, religious and moral values while socially-distancing
  • · the role of young people in shaping the British Muslim responses to Covid-19
  • · methodological reflections on working with Muslims during the pandemic

To submit a proposal:

  • · Please submit a title and abstract of no more than 300 words together with names and short biographies (150 words) of the presenter/s, institutional affiliation/s (if relevant), and contact details.
  • · We also welcome proposals from postgraduate researchers, independent scholars and practitioners.
  • · Proposals should be sent to
  • · Academic enquiries should be sent to Dr. Khadijah Elshayyal,
  • · Deadline: 5pm on Friday 30th October 2020
  • · Successful presenters will be notified by Friday 6th November 2020


· This is a free event, further details about the registration process will be circulated and posted on the MBRN website soon

Conference Organisers

Dr Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor (Chair), Dr Khadijah Elshayyal (General Secretary), Dr Sufyan Dogra, Sadiya Ahmed, Dr Jawiria Naseem and Dr Asma Khan (Committee Members)

MBRN Executive Committee Twitter: @MuslimsInBritRN;

Soul Search (Radio Program): Max Weber at 100: On modernity and a disenchanted world

100 years ago, during the last great pandemic, German intellectual Max Weber caught influenza and died.

He was only fifty-six at the time, but he left behind several landmark works and a whole new discipline — sociology — that still affects how we view religion and society now. 

Adam Possamai is a Professor of Sociology at Western Sydney University. He explains more about Webers legacy, and why he still matters a century on. Why was Weber’s work The Protestant Ethic so influential? What’s the relationship between Christianity and capitalism? And how has capitalism in turn, shaped how we see religion and spirituality today?

Portrait of man with facial hair and combed wavy hair wearing a suit and standing out in the sun.
Adam Possamai is a Professor in Sociology at Western Sydney University.Image: Supplied
Portrait of causasian woman with dark blonde hair and navy blouse smiling.
Anna Halafoff is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Deakin University.Image: Supplied

Then we hear from Anna Halafoff, Associate Professor of Sociology at Deakin University, who is part of a team that’s studying how Gen-Z thinks and behaves in relation to religion. She tells Meredith Lake what makes Gen-Z more religiously diverse than previous generations.

Online Lecture: The Religious and Secular Sources of Democracy and Nationalism:A Conversation with Craig Calhoun

Craig Calhoun speaking at a strategy workshop in 2017.

August 27, 2020
12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. EDT RSVP Required
Location: Online Zoom Webinar

Craig Calhoun is an American sociologist who has had a long and esteemed career. In his role as head of the Social Science Research Council, he co-edited and promoted important works on religion and secularism, including Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age. His own work has included a focus on these topics as well, including how forces of secularism and religion have contributed to political and cultural transformations. As director of the London School of Economics he helped inaugurate their Religion and Global Society program.

This conversation will build on three others in the Global Religious and Secular Dynamic Discussion Series, including the inaugural talk with Charles Taylor. Calhoun will join Berkley Center Senior Fellow José Casanova to discuss debates on nationalism and cosmopolitanism, receding hopes for a global fourth wave of democracy and specifically for democratization in China, and the COVID-19 pandemic and the contemporary global condition, with a special attention to its effects on universities and social science research.

This event is co-sponsored by Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and Reset Dialogues on Civilizations.

The Zoom Webinar link and instructions to join the call will be sent via email at 10:00 a.m. EDT on August 27 to anyone who has filled out the RSVP form. This event will be recorded and posted to this page after the event date. Please RSVP to receive an email notification once it is posted.

SOCREL Posts and Essay Prize

We’re pleased to publish a new blog post this week from Ali Kassem, a doctoral researcher at the University of Sussex and winner of the 2019 Peter B Clarke Memorial Essay Prize. Ali writes about his research among women who wear hijab in Lebanon, and he reflects on the benefits of putting his thoughts into the essay and the positive effect of feedback and review he’s received since winning. You can read his post here:

This year’s essay prize is open for current postgraduates who become members with Socrel. Details are on our website, and I want to flag that we have extended the deadline to 30 April for submissions. You’ve got a month to go – please send us your writing. If you are a supervisor of PhD researchers in the sociology of religion, please pass this opportunity on to them.
With best regards,
Michael Munnik
Publications and Communications, Socrel

Goldsmiths BA Religion and Society International Annual Lecture: “‘The Accidental Pilgrim: On Ritual Risk, Lateral Participation, and Other Semiotic Hazards’”

26th March 2020 | 6.00pm – 8.00pm
Richard Hoggart Building (RHB) 137
Goldsmiths, University of London
London SE14 6NW

This event is free to attend but booking is required –

Talk, Q&A and wine reception – refreshments will be provided.

The Accidental Pilgrim: On Ritual Risk, Lateral Participation, and Other Semiotic Hazards

Simon Coleman, University of Toronto

“Within European Christianity, participation in local congregations is generally apathetic, with the exception of some of the newer charismatic churches. Pilgrimage sites, however, have never been more popular. My interest in juxtaposing these two trends has little to do with debates over the reality or otherwise of secularization, or even the benefits of transport infrastructures. I am much more concerned with what we can learn about current forms of ritual from examining what happens when seemingly uncommitted people go to pilgrimage sites—often unwillingly, and possibly dragged there by friends or family. Such scenarios are not peripheral to contemporary religious and ritual participation: they constitute a highly significant dimension of what happens at and around shrines.

My observations are based on long-term fieldwork at the pilgrimage site of Walsingham, North Norfolk, as well as a number of cathedrals around England. In exploring ritual behaviours that are generally ignored by researchers, I tell a story of how ritual becomes entangled with kinship, friendship, memories of childhood, and commemoration of the dead.”

Simon Coleman is Chancellor Jackman Professor at the Department of the Study of Religion, University of Toronto. He is past-president of the Society for the Anthropology of Religion and co-editor of the journal Religion and Society. His research interests include Pentecostalism and pilgrimage and he has worked in Sweden, the UK, and Nigeria. Currently, he is working on the intersections between religious movements and urban infrastructures in Lagos. He is also completing a book on the contemporary study of pilgrimage. His most recent volume is the co-edited Pilgrimage and Political Economy: Translating the Sacred (2018).

Organised by Professor Abby Day (Sociology)

FD Maurice Lectures 2020: “Islamic Thought and Society: Shifting boundaries and Imaginations” – Professor Mona Siddiqui

King’s College London

2nd, 3rd and 4th March, 2020

You are invited to join us at King’s College London for an exciting lecture
series given by *Professor Mona Siddiqui* (University of Edinburgh).  She
will be delivering our annual FD Maurice lectures on 2nd, 3rd and 4th March and you are welcome to join for any evening or all three. The main
information (including Eventbrite sign up) is below.

Professor Mona Siddiqui is a renowned academic, writer and broadcaster.
 She is the first Muslim to hold a Chair in Islamic and Interreligious Studies and also holds the post of Assistant Principal for Religion and Society and Dean international for the Middle-East at the University of Edinburgh.  Amongst her most recent publications are, *50 Ideas in Islam* (Quercus,
2016), *Muslim Christian Encounters* 4 volumes, (Routledge, 2016) *Hospitality in Islam: Welcoming in God’s* *Name* (Yale UP, 2015), *My Way: A Muslim Woman’s Journey *(IB Tauris, 2014), *Christians, Muslims and Jesus *(Yale University Press, 2013) and *The Good Muslim: Reflections on Classical Islamic Law and Theology* (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Professor Siddiqui is also well known internationally as a public intellectual and a speaker on issues around religion, ethics and public life. She is a panellist on BBC Radio 4’s award winning *The Moral Maze* and has also appeared as a guest on Radio 4’s *Desert Island Discs*.  In April 2016, she was invited by the Home Office to lead an independent review of shari`a councils in the UK; the report was published by the Home Office in February 2018. She served as an elected member of the Nuffield Council of Bioethics and as a member of the British Medical Associations’ Medical Ethics Committee until June 2018.

In 2011, she was awarded an OBE for her contribution to interfaith

In April 2019, she received the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Hubert
Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation.

Lecture One.  Religious pluralism: essential or challenge to liberal

18:00 – 19:30, Monday March 2, BUSH HOUSE Lecture Theatre 1 BH(S)1.01


Lecture Two. Human Struggle in Islamic and Western cultures: al-Ghazali and Rainer Maria Rilke

18:00 – 19:30, Tuesday March 3, BUSH HOUSE Lecture Theatre 1 BH(S)1.01


Lecture Three.  Rethinking Hospitality: food, friendship and faith

18:00 – 19:30, Wednesday March 4, KINGS BLDG K6.29 (Anatomy Lecture Theatre)


Free Public Lecture: “No religion and unbelief in a post-Brexit Square” – Dr Lois Lee

13 Feb 2020, 2:00pm – 3:30pm

DTH, Council Chamber, Deptford Town Hall Building. England.

Tickets are available on Eventbrite

Welcome to the Faiths Unit public seminar series on: ‘Religion, Belief and Brexit: challenges and opportunities’

We have invited contributors in a variety of fields to reflect on how they see the role of religion and belief in the context of Brexit. Does Brexit shape the trajectories and impacts of religion and belief in the public sphere in ways that might be different from expected, and if so, how? As and when the UK begins to move away from a sense of crisis, to a new sense of identity and place in the world, where and how do religion and belief fit? What role do religion and belief play in the problems and the solutions expressed by Brexit? We will be offering these questions to academics, journalists, faith leaders and activists over the series.

The final part of the Faiths & Civil Society Unit Public Seminar Series is:

Thursday 13 February, 2:00pm | Deptford Town Hall Council Chamber, Goldsmiths
‘No religion and unbelief in a post-Brexit square’ ­
Dr Lois Lee, University of Kent

Public Talks at the Centre of Islamic Studies in Lent 2020

Here is the list of public talks at the Centre in Cambridge for this coming term – I have attached an A4 flyer version of this information for convenience.

All talks are free to enter and open to all interested parties.

January 23, 2020 – MERCEDES VOLAIT

Art at the Bayt al-Sadat: on local engagement with photography and interior refurbishment in Khedival Cairo

Mercedes will look at issues of patronage, materiality, and consumption in connection with the production of Mamluk-style architecture and design in nineteenth-century Cairo.

Mercedes Volait is CNRS Research professor at INHA (Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Paris) and heads its digital research unit on architecture, antiquarianism, and applied arts in the modern Mediterranean. Her education has been in architecture, Middle Eastern studies, and art history.

February 6, 2020 – YAEL NAVARO

“Minoritized Arabic: Turkification Practices in the Making of ‘Hatay'”

Yael will address the targeting of the Arabic language for elimination in Turkey’s process of transforming Liwa Iskenderun (the Sanjak d’Alexandrette) into ‘Hatay’ via annexation and re-territorialization onwards from 1939.

Yael Navaro-Yashin is Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Newnham College. She is the author of Faces of the State: Secularism and Public Life in Turkey.

February 20, 2020 – MICHAEL FARQUHAR

Policing Infitah: Economic Liberalisation, Security and Social Order in Egypt

This paper draws on a previously unexplored trove of writings authored by Egyptian police officers since the mid-twentieth century to shed new light on how policing has figured in the consolidation of late capitalist social order in the Global South.

Michael Farquhar is a Lecturer in Middle East Politics at King’s College London. His first book, Circuits of Faith (SUP 2016) explored Saudi state-funded efforts to extend Wahhabi influence abroad. He is currently undertaking research on policing and social order in Egypt.

March 6, 2020 – HUSSEIN OMAR

‘The Great Islamic State’ in English-Occupied Egypt, 1882-1922

Hussein A H Omar is a cultural and intellectual historian of the Modern Middle East and is currently an AHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at Pembroke College and the History Faculty, as part of the ‘First World War and Global Religions’ project

For any questions please email the Centre ( or go to our website (

Workshop: “Religious practices in the urban space”

The programme ” agenda for a critical sociology of religions ” will hold its next workshop on 9 October 2019 in Paris, on the theme ” religious practices in the urban space. Geographical and social approaches “.

October 2019, 9, 14 pm-18 pm
48 bd. Jourdan, 75014 Paris
Salle R2-02


  • 14 pm-14 pm Hugo Suarez (France-Unam, iheal sorbonne news). Religion in the streets: analysis of religious expressions in a popular neighborhood of Mexico city.
  • 14 h50h-15 h40. Julie Picard (University of Bordeaux). Religious Territorialities of Christian African migrants: between identity dynamics and discreet urban reconstitutions.
  • (Pause)
  • 16 pm-16 pm David Garbin (University of Kent). Space-time of religious urbanization and territorial visions in the mega-cities.
  • 16 h50 17 h40. Irene Becci (University of lausanne). Public Parks as religious heterotopias.
  • 17 pm. General discussion



Atelier 7. Pratiques religieuses dans l’espace urbain (9 octobre 2019)

Le programme PSL “Agenda pour une sociologie critique des religions” tiendra son prochain atelier le 9 octobre 2019 à Paris, sur le thème…