Staff Research Interests
Our staff have a wide range of research interests across politics, international relations, philosophy and religion.
I received my PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Manchester, Department of Middle Eastern Studies. My research covers two key strands: the classical and pre-modern intellectual and textual traditions, particularly Qur’an hermeneutics and ritual law; and Muslim responses to modernity, with a focus on how twentieth century and contemporary Muslim women scholars read the tradition to intellectually and socially develop their religious authority as knowers of the tradition. I have written on ritual purity, metaphor in post-classical Qur’an interpretation and Arabic rhetoric, feminist hermeneutics of the Qur’an, and contemporary female exegetes and jurists in Islam. In recent years, I have developed an interest in Islam in Britain, co-authoring a study of change in conceptions of God in modern Britain and leading a research project entitled Muslim Women Reading Religious Texts in Britain and Egypt (2010-2011). The project investigated how core Islamic texts are read by ‘ordinary’ Muslim women in light of their contexts. I have also been involved in supporting Islamic studies in the UK through my work with HEFCE's Islamic Studies Network until 2012, and currently through my capacity as interim Co-chair of the British Association of Islamic Studies (BRAIS).
I am Director of Lancaster University China Centre.
My research interests fall in the intersection of contemporary Chinese politics and international relations, broadly conceived, and critical theories of global politics. I am particularly interested in the contemporary deployment of concepts drawn from Chinese history, such as harmony (hexie), civilisation (wenming), hegemony (baquan), or All-under-heaven (Tianxia), and their relation to contemporary continental philosophy, particularly the thought of Jean Baudrillard and Jacques Derrida.
Within this scope I have written on alternative conceptions of time, space and world order; the politics of mega events (particularly Expo 2010 Shanghai China); Chinese censorship and resistance throughout history; Chinese discourses of online resistance and wordplay (egao); the 'Chinese school' of IR; the policy concepts of 'harmonious world' (hexie shijie) and 'harmonious society' (hexie shehui); soft power; East Asian regionalism and regionalisation; and spatial and temporal aspects of difference in the work of Derrida and Baudrillard.
I am a research fellow of the Swedish Institute of International Affairs and a current member of the Korea-Europe Next Generation Policy Expert Network.