Researcher page: Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor
Title: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Department: Centre for Society, Religion and Belief
Field: Sociology of Religion
Location: Kedleston Road
Phone: 01332 591558
I am an early career academic with expertise in interdisciplinary studies within Religious Studies and the Sociology of Religion. I work within a feminist-pragmatist epistemological stance, am passionate about 'religion and belief' diversity Britain and beyond, and undertake research from an inclusive paradigm and with a constant strand of promoting inter-faith dialogue, cohesion and pluralism. I specialise in research about Muslim women, Islamic feminism and education studies within British Islam, social policy with regard to discrimination and equality in the basis of religion or belief and the experiences and opinions of the 'non-religious' in the UK. My research aims to have a 'real' influence on social policy, local and international communities and wider academic communities.
Qualitative Research Methods Sociology of Islam Religion, politics and human rights in a global society British Islam Feminist methods
21st century Britain has much to celebrate and also many as yet unanswered questions: one of the most important questions is the potential divisiveness of issues around faith, religion and the way we live with those who have different beliefs from our own. We believe this issue needs to be addressed at many different levels and in many different ways. Our project will build on existing research findings that will make it possible to address these issues at higher education level, focusing particularly on ways to forge a more cohesive society for Muslims and other Britons. Changes are afoot in the Arab world and in other parts of the Islamic world, and we need to be able to capitalise on these changes for cultural, economic and social reasons, to strengthen Britain's position in the world. This work brings Islamic Studies academics, scholars and practitioners (including professionals who may have aspects of Islamic studies in their work) to facilitate increased collaborative partnerships and linkages between UK universities and Muslim institutions.
Digital methodologies have altered how we articulate our values, display our allegiances and enact our multi-faceted identities. Increasingly Sociology must function in digital contexts and using digitial methods. Religion and belief have also been 'digitized' and have a significant online presence on social networking websites, discussion forums and in online personal profiles. This project brings together scholars to critically evaluate the uses, impacts, challenges and future of digital methodologies in the sociology of religion. It is hosted by the Centre for Society, Religion and Belief (SRB) at the University of Derby and kindly funded by Digital Social Research (DSR).
It is vitally important for the future of religion and society to understand the nature and extent of discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief. It is also important to assess the adequacy of equality policies, practices and laws for tackling this. Within a national research programme on Religion and Society, from 2010-2012 this project will work to establish a contemporary benchmark in scholarly studies on "discrimination" and "equality", "religion" and "belief".
Current External Roles
The British Association for Islamic Studies (BRAIS) is a learned society and professional organisation focused on enhancing research and teaching about Islam and Muslim cultures and societies in UK higher education. The association provides a forum for academic exchange for scholars with an interest in any aspect of Islam and the Muslim world (including non-Muslim majority societies), and acts as an umbrella organisation for members working in a wide range of disciplines and geographical interest areas. BRAIS works with research councils and other bodies to represent the interests of Islamic Studies on research matters in UK higher education, and with the Higher Education Academy to enhance teaching and learning in Islamic Studies. It also maintains and encourages relationships with providers of HE-level Islamic Studies outside of publicly-funded UK higher education.