My teaching interests, broadly conceived, revolve around Islam, gender, and modern Middle Eastern history.

I became a full Fellow of the UK's Higher Education Academy in 2013 after completing a teaching portfolio reflecting on six years of university-level teaching. It focused in particular on my experience teaching students at Oxford and Sussex how to read, think, and write critically as well as how to complete independent research work.

On an annual basis, I supervise approximately 15 undergraduates writing dissertations, and run a fortnightly training seminar to support these students. These dissertations cover a wide range of topics related to Islam, Egypt, or Syria from the 19th century through the present. 

I am particularly interested in supervising dissertations related to:

  • Islamic leadership and authority
  • dress and its social, cultural, and political significance
  • education and its reform in Middle Eastern or Muslim contexts
  • reform of religious and civil institutions in the Middle East and North Africa
  • social and cultural history of the Middle East and North Africa, especially Egypt and Syria
  • gender and any of the above

At Sussex, I teach the following modules:


  • Reforming Islam, 1850-2001: Modernism, Revivalism, Extremism, a year-long capstone 'special subject' module for final year history students, designed and taught alone, with a weekly seminar. It runs in parallel with a dissertation seminar and includes significant engagement with primary source material in English. It introduces students to twentieth-century Islamic thought, the contexts in which it emerged, and the actions to which it has been associated. The second term approaches the topic thematically, focusing on political Islam, gender, and global Islam, all discussed within the context of modern history. 
  • Religion and Culture in the Middle East and North Africa, a first/second year elective for students across the university, co-designed and taught with Dr Jacob Norris, with weekly lecture and seminar. 
  • The Middle East and North Africa since 1908, a second-year ‘short period’ module co-designed and taught with Dr Jacob Norris and Professor Martin Evans, with weekly lecture and seminar introducing students to Middle Eastern history and historiography. 
  • Global History, a second-year core module that is team-taught by a group of permanent staff to the entire history cohort. I am responsible for a multi-week series within this module considering 'global Islam' from a historical perspective.

More information about these modules is available on the Sussex website.  If you are a current or prospective student, please feel free to see me in office hours if you questions about these modules or supervision.

Students enrolled in (or considering enrolling in) my special subject Reforming Islam can work ahead on the key readings for the module, which are listed here.